Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
From a pure 'fit' standpoint, I'm not sure Johnny Damon is the ideal signing that the Tigers could make. He's an aging corner outfielder and the Tigers are a team that already has their fair share of aging corner outfielders. That being said, it's not always about fit. Right now, there are just so many questions marks around the team, that it's hard to determine what the fit will be - lots of moving pieces that could change from the start of spring training, to Opening Day, to the All-Star break, and so on. Will Magglio Ordonez bounce back? Will Carlos Guillen stay healthy? Can Ryan Raburn duplicate his '09 success? Are Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore ready for everyday big league jobs? So many questions, not enough answers, and trying to predict any 'fit' right now, is just too tough. But the more strong pieces you have, the better you can work. And a player like Damon fills some obvious holes (a left-handed hitter, a leadoff man). Where you put him comes later, and realistically with a manger like Jim Leyland who mixes his lineups frequently anyway, there's no need to pigeon hole nine players into specific starting roles. So, if the Tigers can get Damon to come on an incentive-laden, short-term contract (one year with a club option), they'd be crazy not to.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
Even in a potential state of decline, and leaving the offensive haven that is the new Yankee Stadium, Johnny Damon would be a big boost to this club in 2010. The Tigers pitching staff is all but set, and could well be one of the top staffs in the game. The offense on the other hand, is still filled with question marks. Can Scott Sizemore adequately replace the loss of Placido Polanco? Can Austin Jackson prove at least partially ready for the big leagues. Did we finally see the real Ryan Raburn last year? Can Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen stave off father time and avoid the injury bug to help boost the offense? That's a lot of questions, and actually only the start of them. Damon's presence as a leadoff hitter, patient approach, and his consistent swing from the left side would provide exactly what this team needs. It is very likely that the Tigers will be competitive within the Central Division in 2010. However, if they wish to cement their status as a legitimate playoff threat and a favorite in the division, then Johnny Damon would be a must for the roster. I would overwhelmingly support the signing of Johnny Damon to a short (one- or two-year contract).
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
As a left-handed hitter that would give the Tigers a needed boost at the top of the lineup, I can see the team going after Damon. However, as an outfielder whose best days as a defender are likely behind him, where do you play him? Do you platoon him with Carlos Guillen in left field and at designated hitter? Given the years and dollars Scott Boras could ask for, I can't see that happening, plus if the Tigers sign Damon, there will be a heavy glut of outfielders that would likely require a trade. I'm not sure how this will all play out, but with Guillen, Austin Jackson and Magglio Ordonez returning as the starters, as well as Ryan Raburn, Clete Thomas, and several others that could see time in Detroit during the season, that is a very crowded outfield. Perhaps Dave Dombrowski has a deal up his sleeve to alleviate a potential logjam should the Tigers sign Damon, but right now, I'm not sure how he would fit in here.
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