The Yankees signed Randy Winn this week, a move that put an end to Johnny Damon’s career in pinstripes. Hopefully it doesn't mean Damon will leave New York, because he would be a perfect fit for the other club in town — the Mets.
Damon’s deficiencies are well-documented. His range in the outfield is getting smaller and smaller and his arm is non-existent. But, he is still a very good run producer: he hit 24 home runs last year with a .282 batting average and 12 steals. Since the Mets only scored 671 runs last year, that’s the kind of bat they could use. Putting Damon into the #2 spot in the batting order would lengthen the lineup and a one-two combo of Reyes and Damon would be a formidable duo, setting the table for the run producers.
The problem is where to play Damon. Jason Bay is clearly going into left field and Damon no longer has the tools to play center. But, Bay will need days off and the Mets could use Damon as a first baseman the majority of the time. Yes, it’s not an ideal fit, but Damon has played first seven times in his career and the Yankees considered putting him there for a stretch of games in 2007 when their regular first baseman, Doug Mientkiewicz, was hurt.
Pitchers and catcher report in less than three weeks and Damon is still looking for a team. He is no longer in the market for a multi-year deal and the opportunity is there to scoop him up cheaply. The Mets have made some improvements to their ballclub this offseason, but they have a lot of work to do if they want to compete in the NL East. Adding Damon would narrow the gap with the Phillies and show the fans that they are serious this year.