The Tigers and outfielder Johnny Damon have agreed to a one-year, $8 million contract, a major league source confirmed to FOXSports.com on Saturday. It’s not clear if there are any deferred payments in the deal that would reduce its present value. Regardless, the Tigers added a player who didn’t become a viable candidate to sign with the club until well after the holidays.
Detroit doesn’t have a leadoff hitter, making Damon a likely candidate to succeed Curtis Granderson in that spot. Damon, 36, batted .282 with 24 home runs and 82 RBIs for the Yankees last year.
Damon will likely split time between left field and designated hitter for the Tigers. His arrival will have the greatest impact on Carlos Guillen, who had been slated for duty as the everyday left fielder. Guillen may now get some work as an infielder, with third baseman Brandon Inge recovering from two knee surgeries and rookie Scott Sizemore breaking into the majors at second base.
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The Tigers outbid the division rival White Sox for Damon’s services. On Saturday, White Sox general manager Kenny Williams told the Detroit Free Press: “I pulled the offer because it’s clear I can’t match the Detroit offer, much less the requested terms.”
Sources said recently that Damon and his wife, Michelle, preferred Chicago to Detroit, but the Tigers apparently offered considerably more money. Also, Damon can commute to the Tigers’ spring complex in Lakeland, Fla., from his home in the Orlando area. The White Sox train in the Phoenix area.