Here's a question I've had considerable trouble getting a straight answer on in the 24 hours since the news hit the wires that Johnny Damon was claimed on waivers by the Red Sox. In the unlikely scenario the waiver claim on Johnny Damon isn't just a move to block him from going to the Yankees or Rays...How would he help us?
In part I think few people have been willing to take that on because most of the "debate" has been a fanciful hypothetical, a kind of "wouldn't that be something" that's good fodder for folks in the press to create splashy eye-catching headlines and cover art, or resurrect the "to boo or not to boo" debate from when Damon first went to the Yankees, pick a side, and write a flamebait column that's sure to draw eyeballs and comments, too. Drawing eyeballs is their business, and that kind of reaction to borderline non-news like this if it involves a big enough name or a tantalizing enough possibility -- Johnny Damon! In a Red Sox uniform again! Just imagine! -- is to be expected, whether it's your cup of tea or not. And pondering the sober realities of our aging erstwhile center fielder rejoining the team is not nearly as fun or interesting.
However, deriding people who booed or did not boo Damon or would or would not welcome him back as pinkhats, or traitors, or whatever the insult du jour around these parts, simply clouds the issue. The question that will actually decide what will happen next is this: What benefit is there to the team here in actually acquiring Damon?
Forget about the booing and the Yankees and all that. Even if you subscribe to the narrative that the front office subtly shoved him out the door while acting like he'd thrown RSN over for Yankees cash, and therefore he was unfairly maligned on his departure (not something I necessarily agree with), in that scenario, the front office still thought he was too old and banged up to warrant a four-year deal in 2006. So how would he help us now, four years and two other teams later, when he can't play the outfield anymore? We don't need another DH.
I saw a suggestion on Twitter last night that he could try his hand at first base, which only seems more preposterous to me. Maybe the Johnny Damon of five years ago, as a leadoff-hitting center fielder, would've replaced Ellsbury. Today, Kalish is more likely to fill that role, not the aging Damon.
For that reason, and nothing to do with the Yankees or booing or pinkhats or Idiots, I am hoping this really turns out to be a block move. There's just no point to stirring up old controversies to bring him back, and it's a shame they're being stirred up again this week for no reason. It's not like we need to go looking for reasons to flame each other around here.