Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.
Sunday reading: Johnny Damon, Matt Holliday, Citi Field and Mike Lowell
For my Sunday Insider, I wrote about where Johnny Damon goes from here. His top three choices are the Braves, Rays and Cubs, but I'm not sure any of those teams will have any significant level of interest in him.
If Jason Bay ultimately rejects the Mets, then I think you could make a case for the Mets signing Damon to, say, a two-year, $16-million deal. They could use his lefty bat, his durability and his generally positive energy. Would his defense be an issue? Sure it would. But just like if Bay signs, use a defensive replacement for him. And Damon could DH in the nine interleague road games.
As is standard operating procedure, not everything in the Insider made the cut onto the Web site. The other item of interest I wrote concerned Matt Holliday, and my belief that the Orioles are the darkhorse in his free agency - with the Cardinals as the obvious favorites.
Holliday has a strong friendship with new Oriole Garrett Atkins, from their time together with the Rockies, and also with Brian Roberts. Outfielder Luke Scott and pitching coach Rick Kranitz are also family friends, as both played at Oklahoma State when Holliday's father, Tom Holliday, was a coach there.
Orioles people have insisted they won't go the distance to land Holliday, and again, you're better off putting your money on the Cardinals. But keep an eye on Baltimore. Remember, the Orioles did make a nine-figure offer to Mark Teixeira last year.
--I wrote another column, pondering whether pitcher-friendly Citi Field was serving as a deterrent to free-agent position players.
One thing to keep in mind about Bay's current inaction: Last year, CC Sabathia took over three weeks to act upon the Yankees' mammoth, six-year, $140-million offer; the Yankees ultimately had to bid against themselves, going seven years and $161 million. The whole thing felt kind of yucky at the time, if you recall.
Now, however? Water under the bridge. Sabathia is the ultra-popular ace with a World Series ring, and he certainly seems happy. He's living in New Jersey year-round and, on Thursday, showed up at the Stadium to welcome new teammate Curtis Granderson and participate in the Yankees' food drive.
So if Bay eventually decides to come to the Mets, and puts together a solid 2010, this awkward waiting period can be forgotten, as well.
--The Mike Lowell trade is dead, and this is a big blow to the Red Sox, who clearly were thrilled by the notion of bidding farewell to the 2007 World Series MVP. With Lowell still around, the Red Sox don't have the lineup hole to pick up an Adrian Beltre at third (with Kevin Youkilis playing first) or Adrian Gonzalez at first (with Youkilis at third), although the latter scenario never seemed very likely.
With Lowell now set to undergo right thumb surgery, I can't see any other clubs taking a chance on him, at this point. Maybe if Lowell displays good health in spring training. At that point, surely, the Red Sox would again have to pay a large part of the freight.
--Self-promotion alert: I'll be on "Sports Extra," on New York's Fox 5, tonight at 10:30 with Duke Castiglione.