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Johnny Damon is no closer to being a member of the White Sox than he was eight hours ago, but all reports seem to indicate he’s a lot closer to being a Tiger.
This would be unfortunate, because there are two direct implications to the White Sox.
One is that Damon, at least for the last three seasons, has been a Sox killer, raking South Side pitching to the tune of .361/.418/.627 with seven doubles and five homers over 83 at-bats. Picturing that kind of production over 18 games is a little tough to stomach.
And then there’s the matter of left field. The Tigers were one of the teams checking out Juan Pierre after the Curtis Granderson trade before the White Sox invested a not-so-insignificant sum. It’s possible that, in an alternate universe, the Tigers are the ones saying they don’t have room for Damon because of Pierre, and that kinda sucks to think about, too.
But there’s not much use devoting many more words at this point. There’s usually at least one more twist in store for Boras-related negotiations, and while Scott Merkin and Joe Cowley say the Sox have $4 million to spend, that’s not a hard figure, either. But hey — if the Sox don’t end up with Damon, it’s less work to do on the book.
Frank Thomas isn’t an option for the Sox either, as he officially announced his retirement, and with the hallmarks of his game still intact:
- His lifetime average is .301.
- He walked more times than he struck out.
Watching the St. Louis Cardinals lure Mark McGwire out of exile to serve as their hitting coach, I wonder if the Sox would ever do the same for Thomas when Greg Walker’s contract is up. The reports on Thomas’ ability to tutor are mixed. Paul Konerko, for example, made several backhanded references to Thomas’ reluctance to share knowledge, but I do remember guys like Juan Uribe and Willie Harris say the Big Hurt was effective at getting on their cases about bad habits.
With all the attention paid to the tradition of Venezuelan shortstops, I’d hope they wouldn’t reject the idea of continuing Walt Hriniak’s lineage as well.
- David Haugh has written consecutive quality White Sox columns, this time talking to Hriniak. I never knew the part about Thomas retrieving the rebar in 2006.
- The Trib has a big photo gallery of his career up. The last picture is the most interesting.
- Ozzie Guillen announced his retirement, too.
And since I mentioned it on Facebook, I may as well post it here too for posterity. My prediction for his next White Sox career — special instructor at spring training after the 2012 season.