Sources: Tigers owner OKs two-year, $14M offer to Damon
Tigers owner Mike Ilitch has authorized a two-year, $14 million offer to free-agent outfielder Johnny Damon, according to major-league sources.
Damon also is considering a one-year, $7 million proposal from the Tigers, one source said. His agent, Scott Boras, is seeking a two-year deal.
Tigers officials declined to comment about their talks with Damon when contacted Thursday afternoon.
The Braves also have made an offer to Damon, believed to be in the $4 million to $4.5 million range with significant deferrals.
Boras, however, seemingly has succeeded in reaching out to Ilitch, who previously signed several of the agent’s other high-profile clients, including catcher Ivan Rodriguez, right fielder Magglio Ordonez and pitcher Kenny Rogers.
If Damon agrees to a deal with the Tigers, it will mark the third time in recent years that Boras has coaxed a multi-year offer from Detroit when it appeared that the market had dried up for a star player. Similar scenarios unfolded with Rodriguez in 2004 and Ordonez in 2005.
A two-year, $14 million deal would match what the Yankees dangled to Damon as they were attempting to sign his potential replacement in the No. 2 spot, free-agent first baseman Nick Johnson.
One player agent who is not involved in the talks predicted Thursday that Damon would sign with the first team that offers him a two-year deal.
The Braves are unlikely to go beyond their one-year offer, industry sources said. Atlanta would prefer to avoid a multi-year commitment, because outfield prospects Jason Heyward and Jordan Schafer could contribute in 2010.
Damon lives in Orlando, so Atlanta would make better geographic sense. But one source doubts that Damon would turn down a two-year offer from the Tigers in order to accept a one-year deal with the Braves.
Plus, Damon has spent his entire career in the American League, so he knows the pitchers well.