Remember this morning, when I openly wondered whether Johnny Damon would wait into spring training before deciding on an employer?
As Emily Litella often said, "Never mind!"
I reported earlier on Twitter that the Tigers have indicated a willingness - if not made a flat-out offer, by this point - to exceed the Braves' offer of $4 million (with $2 million deferred), even if by only $500,000 or so. Jayson Stark reports that Damon could decide by the end of this week, and someone in the loop affirmed that, in short time, Damon will wind up with either the Braves or the Tigers.
Ken Rosenthal is reporting now that Tigers owner Mike Ilitch has authorized a two-year, $14-million deal for Damon, and at this point, that would constitute a major triumph for Damon and Scott Boras.
UPDATE, 4:43 p.m.: The White Sox are now in the Damon mix, as Jon Heyman and Jim Bowden have reported. You'd still bet on the Tigers, based on their training close to Damon's Orlando home, but Damon's free agency has taken so many wacky turns that nothing would be shocking at this point.
--The Mets have signed Hisanori Takahashi, a veteran Japanese lefty, to a minor-league deal. Here's what a competing team's Pacific Rim scout said about Takahashi:
"He's Jamie Moyer with a little bit better velocity. His range is 87-89 mph. He doesn't have a plus pitch, so he's got to have good command. His best pitch is a changeup - he calls it a screwball. His curveball is OK. He's a lot more competitive than Ken Takahashi (the veteran Japanese lefty the Mets employed last year). He's got a quality game face."
When I told the scout the financial terms of the agreement - $1 million if Takahashi makes the club, plus $2 million in incentives - the scout replied, "Oof! To me, that's not worth it."
--The Royals are going to try Kyle Farnsworth as a starter, and while Dave Cameron likes the idea, I'm going to respectfully disagree. I question whether Farnsworth possesses the intellect and discipline necessary to prepare for such an important assignment every five days.
The best shot the Royals have at getting the most out of Farnsworth, IMO, is finding a way to connect with him spiritually, the way that Joe Girardi and Dave Eiland did in 2008. To boost his confidence.
That's not the usual prescription from an admitted stats geek. But Farnsworth is a guy who defies all standard statistical analysis, as Joe Posnanski exemplified here.
--Tom Glavine has officially retired, although he hadn't pitched since the middle of the 2008 season. Fittingly, cruelly, history will show that Glavine's final major-league victory came against the Mets.
Hall of Famer? Ask me in December of 2013. Unless the BBWAA isn't selecting the candidates anymore by then, or I've found a more lucrative profession.
This morning, I mentioned CHONE projections for individual players, and tried to use them to exemplify how silly it was to compare the Mets to the Nationals. And then NaOH alerted me to the CHONE team projections: Mets 79-83, Nationals 76-86. See, I told you the Mets were better (yeesh, that's close)!
As perspective, NaOH also supplied us with the CHONE 2009 projections, as well as the '09 PECOTA projections. They're far from perfect - they're not purported to be perfect - although both the hits and misses are intriguing, IMO. The love for Cleveland last year is particularly interesting.