Reports out of Detroit have the Tigers close to an agreement with free agent outfielder Johnny Damon, possibly ending the chance the former Yankee would sign with Atlanta.
Damon was offered a one-year deal by the Braves that included deferred payments that reportedly equaled around $4 million. The early reports are Damon may have almost doubled that total from the Tigers.
The Braves envisioned Damon playing left field and leading off in the lineup. Now that Damon looks to be headed elsewhere, it gives rookie Jason Heyward an even greater chance of making the opening day roster.
Atlanta will now have Melky Cabrera and Matt Diaz battle this spring for playing time in left field. If Heyward is sent down to the minors to start the season, the Braves could use Cabrera in right and keep Diaz in left. But Atlanta would then need a fourth outfielder, and Jordan Schafer is expected to start the season in Triple-A Gwinnett.
With Damon spurning the Braves’ offer, we’ll have to wait and see if the Braves keep the money that was offered in reserves in case they need to make an addition during the season.
Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on
WFSM Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, Georgia and The Braves Show Talk Show. Shanks writes a weekly column for The Macon Telegraph. Email Bill at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/billshanks.