Sorry for the delay, but my plan to write a Johnny Damon column exploded with the latest Francisco Rodriguez development. K-Rod is done for the year, having torn a ligament in his right thumb during (allegedly) the alleged fight last week with the grandfather of his children.
That's right, two "allegeds." That's what we're working with here.
A source confirmed Jon Heyman's report that the Mets will look to inflict further financial damage on K-Rod in light of this development. They will "explore everything," a person in the loop tells me, although my understanding is the Mets will probably end up lowering their sights and going after a more realistic booty.
Rather than try to void the entire deal, they might just try to recoup the roughly $3.5 million they'd be paying K-Rod to rehabilitate his injury - which he incurred during an activity that might wind up being a misdemeanor.
I always bet on the union in these instances. Talk the last couple of years of Alex Rodriguez getting suspended for illegal PED stuff, for instance, was pure folly. But if the Mets focus on this specific amount of time, AND K-Rod either settles on a deal with Queens County or gets convicted...well, I think they'd at least have a puncher's chance.
(Sorry. Really, though, the Mets would have to prove that K-Rod sustained the injury in the brawl. Perhaps they examined him Saturday, upon his return to the team.)
So anyway, now I'll write a column on K-Rod. All wise thoughts are welcome.
--One more thought on K-Rod. He winds up with 46 games finished this season, which carries value because of the way his contract is structured.
In order for K-Rod to get his $17.5 million vesting option for 2012, he must 1) finish 55 games in '11; 2) combine for 100 games finished in '10 and '11 and 3) be cleared physically by doctors in an examintion. So because he got 46 this year, should he hit 55 next year, he would simultaneously hit provisions 1 and 2 on the way to $17.5 million.
--As for Damon, as I type, he just received a healthy standing ovation from the Stadium crowd, in his first at-bat of the game. Typical of Damon, he doffed his helmet to show off his mohawk.
What I was going to write, before K-Rod's latest, that it turns out there was no right answer in the Yankees' DH search last winter. Nick Johnson had another setback with his right wrist, so he's pretty much done, getting $5.5 million to provide .1 Win Above Replacement in 24 games for the Yankees.
Damon is putting together a nice season for the Tigers, but it's a dropoff from his 2009 with the Yankees - and that's taking ballpark factors into play. And the bottom line is that Damon and the Yankees simply differed too much on his value last winter to get anywhere close to a deal.
Hideki Matsui? He has the same .1 WAR for the Angels, in 106 games, that Johnson gave the Yankees in 24.
Really, the best DH solution the Yankees could have come up with last winter just might have been Aubrey Huff, who is enjoying a monster 2010 season with the Giants. But if you can find me who saw that coming last winter, well...I'd like to introduce that person to John Sterling.
--Interesting piece here by Tom Boswell of the Washington Post about Scott Boras and his relationship with the Nationals. Boras, unlike any other agent, has the ability and the juice to lock his talons into one or more organizations at any one time, having major say over player acquisitions. He used to be that way with the Rangers and Dodgers. Now, the Nationals and Tigers seem to be atop the Boras chart.
Boras used to have more power within the Yankees when George Steinbrenner ran things. Now, however, while the Yankees do plenty of business with Boras and his clients, they don't give out preferential treatment there, as evidenced by last winter's Damon proceedings.
--Speaking of Boras, the Mets have held "good talks" with him today regarding first-round draft pick Matt Harvey. They'll get this done, and the Mets will pay above slot to a first-rounder for the first time since Mike Pelfrey in 2005.
--Speaking of the Tigers, I sat in on Jim Leyland's pre-game session here, because to be in the same ballpark as Leyland and not check in with him would be like visiting Idaho and not eating potatoes. Or, as in this episode of "Seinfeld," dating a masseuse and not getting massages from her.
Leyland spoke of Sunday's dugout skirmish between pitcher Armando Galarraga and catcher Alex Avila. "I loved it," he said. "I think it's life. It was on TV? I don't give a ___."
Later, he asked the few New York reporters in the room what they thought of Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli. " I like him," Leyland said, and then he asked whether Jorge Posada had another year on his contract, and about Yankees catching prospects Jesus Montero and Austin Romine.
You could see the wheels turning in Leyland's head. So if Cervelli winds up a Tiger next year, you'll know why.
--OK, have a great night. I'll update if anything else comes up.