Some rumors get your attention: Dodgers reportedly interested in Johnny Damon
Johnny Damon? Really? For left field?
That would be 37-year-old Johnny Damon, no longer so fleet of foot and never much of a consistent power threat?
Hey, it’s a rumor. During the winter, there are hundreds of them, a decent percentage of which are either unfounded or with a thread to reality so thin it could snap by the turning of a general manager’s head.
This one comes courtesy of Foxsports.com's Ken Rosenthal, who like everyone else has swung and missed on a few of these, but is also very well connected.
And Rosenthal writes the Dodgers are not only interested in Damon, but 38-year-old catcher Jason Varitek. It’s a run on Red Sox.
Actually, he writes they are in contact with just about every breathing catcher still on the market, which, given the uncertain status of Russell Martin’s hip, is understandable and believable.
But Johnny Damon?
Damon’s stat line for the Detroit Tigers last season: .271 batting average, eight home runs, 51 RBIs, 11 stolen bases in 613 at-bats.
Are you getting all excited?
Also, he bats left-handed, same as Jay Gibbons. And at this stage of his career, he plays the outfield about as well. And he made $8 million last season, though is salary would clearly drop. And he was used last season mostly as a designated hitter.
If the Dodgers really wanted another old left-handed hitter, they could make another run at Scott Podsednik, who is almost three years younger and -- plantar fasciitis permitting -- still capable of 35 steals.
Available among old right-handed hitters available are Marcus Thames, Lance Berkman (switch-hitter), Pat Burrell (look, another Giant!) and Magglio Ordonez.
OK, it’s thin. But it’s right-handed thin.
Varitek will be 39 the first week of the season and started only 27 games at catcher last season for the Red Sox. The Dodgers reportedly are looking at him as a backup, but a backup to whom?
Rosenthal said the Dodgers have also been in contact with Rod Barajas (35), A.J. Pierzynski (34 next month) and Miguel Olivo (a kid at 32). If they signed Pierzynski, they could have two catchers named A.J.!
They remain in conversations with Martin, but have only until Thursday to either sign him, figure out whether they want to offer him arbitration or let him walk.
Martin, by the way, is only 27.
-- Steve Dilbeck