Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Believe It Or Not, Johnny Damon Might Get Hall of Fame Consideration

Getting to the 2,500-hit mark by Johnny Damon is not insignificant. He is 92nd on the all-time hits list. By the end of this season, it's likely he will be in the Top 80. He has moved into the territory of being a borderline Hall of Famer.
On the downside: He's only a .288 lifetime hitter and has never been in the Top 10 in MVP voting. Also, Damon has been selected for only two All Star games. What will help him are all those postseason appearances with the Red Sox and the Yankees. And playing on the East Coast like that, especially with the Yankees.
Damon has been equally solid during the postseason - and hit two home runs in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS when the Red Sox completed an improbable comeback from down three games to none to beat the Yankees.
Twenty-seven players have had 3,000 hits. Only three are not in the Hall of Fame. All-time hits leader Pete Rose - because he is not eligible because of his betting scandal - and Rafael Palmeiro and Craig Biggio, who haven't been retired five years.
Palmeiro's steriod suspension - after he emphatically said did use them in front of Congress - figures to hurt his chances badly. Biggio was a .281 lifetime hitter - and on the same borderline Damon may eventually be on.
Damon won't turn 37 until the fall. He does have a shot at 3,000 career hits - and subsequently the Hall of Fame.

Random Thoughts

- Mike Modano can still play. That was obvious watching him last season. He is still an extraordinary skater. The issue is whether he wants to play. Modano has no value to the Red Wings if his heart isn't into playing.

- The rumored LeBron James Hour on ESPN Thursday is remindful of "Barry On Barry," the worst production by ESPN since Tom Sizemore played Rose in the biopic, "Hustle."

- From a should-have-been perfect game to the minor leagues. How fickle is fame? Armando Galarraga to the minor leagues is stunning. He is the Tigers' fifth starter? Thought that was Andrew Oliver, technically a first-year pro, who was in Double-A ball the night Galarrga nearly became the 21st pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game.
Oliver will start Sunday against the Twins - the last game before the All-Star break. Obviously, the Tigers want a lefty to start that game, considering the Twins have such formidible left-handed bats as Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Denard Span and Jason Kubel. Left-handed hitters are batting just .222 against Oliver in his three major league starts.



Anonymous Michael C said...

Pat, Galarraga won't miss a start. He's going down during the all-star break so we can have a chance to see what Weinhardt can do up here. Smart move.

12:00 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Michael C,
His regular turn is Sunday, but they are going with Oliver instead because Twins have a lot of left-handed thunder. I understand the Tigers' reasoning behind, but can also understand if Galarraga is upset.

2:29 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damon is 37 and has 2502 hits. He averages about 150 hits per season but as he gets older, it will come down a bit.

It looks like he will hit 3000 hits at age 41 or 42.

Think he has a good chance as he will certainly become a designated hitter in the American league. Can we spell Gary Sheffield?

Only problem is that Damon doesn't hit for power and his value as a DH is lower than other power hitters. But he's kinda a leader and can spark a team.

9:52 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

At this point, it doesn't look like he is losing his tools. He still runs pretty well and has good bat speed.

12:26 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damon's status and value was aided by all of the early uncertainty in the Tiger's lineup. With all of the chaos at short, second, left field before Boesch's breakout, in center before anybody was certain about Jackson, and in right before Magglio fully grabbed the ring, plus the resultant switcheroos at DH, it was nice and comforting to have a true professional and all around good guy on the squad. Plus, he can hit and has the speed like Book mentions.

However, as most of those positions firm up solid, his value might take a dip. Every MLB team wants to break in the youngsters and give them some carefully selected at-bats, once the chaos disappears and those are knocked down to a manageable number, and it saves them money, too. Damon won't see 3,000 here in Detroit, I suspect.

5:57 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

It seems unlikely, at this stage and with the current economics of the game, he will get a long term deal anywhere at his age. I suspect he will get good money each year, but have to move place to place to fill a need. That would change if the Tigers were to reach postseason and do well - probably.

7:16 PM 

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