Rays and Angels join Yankees with interest in Johnny Damon

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Yankees general manager Brian Cashman downplayed Johnny Damon’s chances of returning to New York and Damon himself indicated that it was an unlikely fit because he’s drawing interest from multiple other teams offering regular playing time.

According to Ken Davidoff of New York Newsday–who had the Yankees’ interest in Damon before everyone else–those other teams are the Rays and Angels.

Top prospect Desmond Jennings is the presumed replacement for Carl Crawford in left field, but the Rays could turn to Damon if they feel Jennings isn’t quite ready or perhaps simply use Damon at designated hitter.

With the Angels he’d likely replace former Yankees teammate Hideki Matsui at DH, although it would depend on whether manager Mike Scioscia thinks Damon or Bobby Abreu is less of a liability defensively.

Twins to retire Joe Mauer’s No. 7

AP Photo/Jim Mone
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Twins senior director of communications Dustin Morse announced that the Twins will honor former C/1B Joe Mauer by retiring his uniform number 7. Mauer announced his retirement from baseball on November 9.

Mauer will join Harmon Killebrew (No. 3), Tony Oliva (No. 6), Tom Kelly (No. 10), Kent Hrbek (No. 14), Rod Carew (No. 29), Kirby Pucket (No. 34), and Bert Blyleven (No. 28) as Twins to have their numbers retired.

Mauer, 35, spent 15 seasons in the majors, all with the Twins. He posted a career .306/.388/.439 triple-slash line with 143 home runs and 923 RBI. He won the AL MVP Award in 2009, won the batting title three times, earned three Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers, and made the AL All-Star team six times. Sadly, his career was limited due to injuries, including a concussion that caused him to move from catcher to first base.

Five years from now, Mauer will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot. There will certainly be some arguments for and against his candidacy. He retired with 55.1 career Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference, which definitely puts him in the conversation. But, as always, there’s never a consensus.