Adding Damon would be too little, too late for Red Sox

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The Red Sox pretty obviously have a need for Johnny Damon. No, mediocre defensive left fielders with 764 OPSs aren’t particularly valuable, but Damon is getting on base 36 percent of the time and he’d likely improve his numbers with a return to Fenway Park, where he’s a career .305/.376/.440 hitter.
Damon, though, probably doesn’t need Boston. Sure, the Red Sox are stil theoretically in contention for a playoff spot, while the Tigers are clearly dead in the water, but it’s highly unlikely that the Boston will make up 5 1/2 games on the Rays or 6 1/2 on the Yankees with just 37 games remaining.
And Damon isn’t the kind of player who would affect their chances much one way or the other. For one thing, they’ve actually gotten steady production from the likes of Bill Hall and Darnell McDonald in the outfield. Damon, who would replace either Ryan Kalish or Daniel Nava on the roster, would only be an upgrade against right-handers and probably not a particularly big one. He wouldn’t deserve to play over either Hall or McDonald against left-handers.
For that reason, Damon is probably better off staying where he is. The Tigers are going to keep playing him every day, and they could well have interest in re-signing him this winter. There’s very little chance the Red Sox would attempt to bring him back in 2011.
Damon doesn’t exactly control his own destiny here: the Tigers have the right to pull him back off waivers even if he says he wants to go to Boston. Damon, though, can’t be moved with his approval. He has until Wednesday to decide if he wants out, and it sounds like he’ll probably take his 48 hours to decide.

Rays sign lefty Ryan Merritt to a minor league deal

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The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.

Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.

His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.

The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.