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64° Good Afternoon
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Will Johnny Damon still have to wait until spring training to find a job?

I don't mean the actual Johnny Damon, per se, as much as I mean "Johnny Damon," any strong-willed player who might be overestimating his own market value. I threw Damon's name in the headline to get attention.

Although the actual Damon might be a candidate to fall into this gap again. Because he's still strong-willed, and still represented by the strong-willed Scott Boras. And he's, of course, a year older. And coming off a worse season than he was a year ago.

As an aside, can we now agree that all of the hullabaloo regarding Damon's departure from the Yankees was overblown? I understood it from an emotional standpoint at the time, but not from a baseball standpoint. 

Or are we going with, "The Yankees would've defeated Texas if they hadn't turned away Damon"? And don't give me the "They should've brought back Damon and Hideki Matsui!" line, because Damon played just 36 games in the outfield for Detroit, once the Tigers realized that he was a liability out there.

Anywho, you might remember that the players and owners, both concerned about the increasingly slow free-agent market that led to situations like Damon's, agreed to move up some dates in the offseason process, in the hopes of expediting action. The changes are:

1) The deadline to offer arbitration to your own free agents moves up from December 1 to November 23.

2) The deadline for free agents to accept arbitration moves up from December 7 to November 30. 

3) The deadline to tender contracts to players with less than six years of service time moves up from December 12 to December 2.

I've been asking industry folks how much of a difference they think this'll make, and the answer generally is, "Sure, this will speed things up a little bit."

I think, basically, it will help the front-end players like Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, which is good, because impatient fans always wonder why this takes so long. But I don't foresee it helping those in the Damon or Jermaine Dye category.

Every year now, we get that group of veteran free agent that has to either settle or, like Dye, not play at all when the market doesn't work out to his liking. Moving these dates up is unlikely to trickle all the way down to this group.

--Here's my column on Hal Steinbrenner's words.

--Here's David Lennon's story on J.P. Ricciardi, which features news on likely manager interviews.

--It's funny, I looked at my post-World Series blog entries from the last two years, because I couldn't remember how I filled the time between now and the start of the general managers' meetings. The answer was, I didn't have to. The 2008 and 2009 World Series both ended on a Wednesday, and the GMs' meetings began the subsequent Monday.

This year, the GMs' meetings don't come until Nov. 16. So we'll be discussing standard offseason stuff until then, at which point things should pick up.

--Have a great day.

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