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One of the biggest “Idiots” in Red Sox history may be on his way back to Boston after the Sox claimed Tigers outfielder Johnny Damon off waivers on Monday. Damon, who played for the Red Sox for four seasons from 2002-2005, has a limited no-trade clause in his contract that restricts him from joining the Red Sox and 21 other major league teams. Now, Damon has to make his mind up whether he wants to return to Boston or not. We can get that famous question finally answered: What Would Johnny Damon Do?
Well seriously, what will he do? Damon confirmed on Monday that the Red Sox have indeed claimed him, and called it “as tough of a decision for me to make right now as it was for me to leave Boston for New York.” There’s three possible outcomes that could occur by Wednesday’s deadline:
Damon told reporters in Detroit he has mixed feelings about leaving the Tigers and re-joining the Red Sox.
“I had a great time playing there, and I did everything I could to go back,” he said. “I told the team what it would take, in terms of dollars and years – but it got ugly when it became apparent that re-signing me wasn’t a priority.”
Damon acknowledged, however, if he and the team could make a deal and make amends, then things would change.
“If I do this, and we pulled everything together and I could help them get into the postseason, it would change everything again,” he said.
If the Red Sox show a renewed interest in Damon, and are able to play him in left field and not in center field, then I think it’s a move that could potentially work out for both sides. Damon still brings a keen eye to the plate, and would be a perfect leadoff or No. 2 hitter in the Red Sox lineup that’s lacking Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, and Jacoby Ellsbury.
The likely reason the Sox claimed him was to block the Yankees, Rays, or Rangers from doing so. The Sox are now just 5.5 games behind the Yankees, and while it would take a some luck, they still have a shot at the playoffs. Claiming Damon was a smart move by Theo Epstein and co.
Damon, who’s hitting .270 with 30 doubles, 7 HRs, and 40 RBI, is slumping in August (.219 AVG) and has only played in the outfield 36 times this season, serving the bulk of the time as the Tigers designated hitter. The 36-year-old signed a one-year deal in the offseason with Detroit, and will be a free agent this coming season. He has until Wednesday to decide if he wants to join the Red Sox.
More on this story as it develops…