Call me perplexed to say the least. I know the Indians have been trying to get their hands on a left fielder for some time now. Their efforts to nab Bobby Abreau (or at least, the rumored efforts) were well documented.
But I just don't get it.
I don't get, other than the slow start (after five...stinking...games) offensively, why the signing of Johnny Damon makes any logical sense.
You will sit there and say, but look at the offense, it needs a boost. For five games of lackluster performance? There's talent there, we know it. The can all hit, just give it more than half a week.
I guess I have no reasons to be upset, other than this is one of those moves that I simply just don't like. Is there a solid reasoning behind my dislike? No... In fact Johnny Damon hasn't played less than 140 games... Well, ever. Aside from his first season at 21-years-old with Kansas City when he played in 47 games at the end of the year. He has always collected at least 130 hits. He can produce from all accounts as he was doing it last year with Tampa Bay in a DH role.
I'm a little perplexed as to how it makes sense defensively as I'm sure everyone is, but if he hits, then let's go along the lines of the Prince Fielder/Miguel Cabrera thinking that, who gives a flying fruit fly. Aaron Cunningham will get cut, which means the backup center fielder is... Jason Donald, an infielder by trade. That isn't a horrible thing as Donald could probably be serviceable and it would only be for a few games here and there, but it's a little crazy, don'tcha think?
Then there is the element of the contract. It seems as if the Indians are "renting" Damon. Almost as if they want him to come in until Grady Sizemore returns. They're giving him the ability to opt out of his contract with the Indians on a "specified" date after Grady Sizemore returns. If he returns, I guess? He also has a full no-trade clause, not that the Indians would be trading him, unless of course they start to suck and some team would want him. But at that point, he'd probably be open to a trade to a team that will win.
But he could always opt out too.
My biggest beef? Probably the fact that there's a perfectly capable player in Columbus ripping it up. I'm not talking about Chisenhall and certainly not Matt LaPorta.
But did we forget about Trevor Crowe? Never mind... You probably did. I mean, I can't blame anyone who has. But he might actually be blossoming into that first round pick the Indians thought they were getting. And no, I'm not going just based off six games in Triple A. I'm essentially arguing against myself if I were to do that.
However, Crowe is off to a great start. He's 7-for-18 with a pair of home runs and three walks. Beyond his numbers in just a few games though, we know he can do several things. We know he can play center field and play it well. We know he can run a little bit on the basepaths. And we know that if he is healthy, he can actually play baseball a little bit. He is not only healthy, but in spring, Manny Acta talked highly of the guy.
Almost as if it was a different Trevor Crowe. One who has matured and perhaps finally started to "get it" as a ball player. Plenty of players can suddenly "get it" after a few years of scuffling or mediocrity. I mean, the guy wasn't a first round pick for the hell of it, at some level he could play and he's always had a productive minor league career.
Maybe I'm a little too attached to the idea of giving Crowe a shot (for the record, I wanted to in spring, over Cunningham). Maybe I just don't like the name Johnny Damon when I hear it. Maybe I also think that Shelley Duncan needs to be given a chance offensively in left field. Again, he's done nothing to show he can't be a productive left fielder, putting up the numbers we think Damon is capable of (for a cheaper price tag, with no frills, AND maybe just maybe Duncan is a better defender because he can actually run around and make catches!?). I know it is a stretch to say Shelley Duncan is a better fielder than anyone, but a 38-year old Johnny Damon with 42 games in the outfield in two years may just be the one exception.
The Indians are acquiring a guy who's played just 42 games in the outfield in the past two seasons to play left field. They're replacing a guy in the offense that has actually been somewhat productive with someone who has not had a lick of game action since last season. And they're replacing their backup center fielder with a backup infielder.
I guess it all makes no sense to make perfect sense in the world of Cleveland. But if it works, I'll gladly eat my words.
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