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.

Two great Mariano Rivera stories

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In addition to getting unanimous support from Hall of Fame voters, Mariano Rivera’s election is getting universal praise from fans and the baseball community. I mean, at least it seems so. If you see someone out there in the wild really mad that Rivera was elected, please, let me know. But don’t approach such people. They’re probably dangerously imbalanced and might cause harm to you.

From what we’ve seen, anyway, there is no one who doesn’t love Rivera and his election. That love has come out in the form of anecdotes people are sharing this morning. I’ve seen two that made me particularly happy. One “ha ha” happy, the other “aww” happy.

The “ha ha” comes from Michael Young, who shared the ballot with Rivera this year and whose Rangers actually beat Rivera’s Yankees in the 2010 ALCS. Not that they had much success against Mo:

Now the “aww.” It comes from Danny Burawa, who had a few major league cups of coffee after coming up in the Yankees system. From his Instagram last night:

In 2012, in the middle of my first big league spring training, I tore my oblique during a game (I wound up missing the whole season). First cuts hadn’t been made and the Yankees let me stick around to rehab with the big leaguers for a few days. The next day, after finishing my rehab, I returned to the locker room which was totally empty. I’m sitting at my locker getting ready to go home when in walks Mariano Rivera. Considering I was a nobody A-baller, I kept my eyes down on my feet and minded my own business. Next thing I know, he’s in the chair next to me, telling me his story, about failing as a starter, about an injury he had when he was younger, about how the setbacks we think are fatal usually end up as speed bumps on a longer, grander road. This is the greatest of all time, taking the time to cheer up a nobody, for no other reason than he thought it was the right thing to do. Great pitcher, greater human, congratulations Mo!

People use that “great player, better person” construction a lot. I often roll my eyes when I hear it because it’s pretty subjective and, I suspect, the “better person” part can’t be vouched for outside the subject’s friend or peer group. Doesn’t sound that way with Rivera, though. He simply sounds like a prince of a guy.