Johnny Damon is pulling the professional sports equivalent of perching himself on an on-ramp, holding a cardboard sign scrawled with "Will work for $2.5 million". He'd play for any team. But no team wants him to play for them. At least not yet.
Here's what Damon's agent, Scott Boras, said about the situation to SI.com's Tom Verducci:
"We have heard from teams who say 'We have interest in the guy but we want to see what our players are going to do,'" said his agent, Scott Boras. "We have not had a team make a commitment to Johnny Damon. Johnny has made it clear he is looking at playing."
"It's like [Greg] Maddux," Boras said, in reference to another client who remained durable throughout his career. "When you have the genetic toolbox these guys have, they're different. Johnny Damon has played 140 games for 16 years in a row. The reality is there is no one that does that... He is the Greg Maddux of position players because he can do something over an extended period of time with frequency."
In the article, Verducci rightfully declares Damon, "the best player without a job." And while I have, and will continue to make fun of Damon simply out of spite, part of me does feel bad for him.
Johnny has waited patiently throughout the entire offseason for someone, anyone, to throw him a bone. He watched as the Yankees spurned him for Raul Ibañez. He sat by the phone while guys like Wilson Betemit, Luke Scott, and even Manny Ramirez (!!!) found work.
There's probably not a club out there that couldn't benefit from having Damon on their roster. But baseball is quickly turning into a young man's game, where veterans are all but forgotten. As Verducci points out, 6 of the 15 "Active" leaders in hits have yet to catch on with anyone this season.
It's hard to think that Damon won't suit up at all this year. As rosters shake out and injuries hit, Boras will certainly get a few phone calls about Johnny. And someone is going to get themselves a solid veteran who can still produce at the plate and cover a little ground in left.