Dear Johnny Damon
Dear Johnny Damon,
You’re not a Hall of Famer. You’re not particularly close – at least you shouldn’t be.
One time in your entire career have you ranked in the top-10 in WAR.
Once a piece, you’ve led the league in runs scored, stolen bases, and triples. You’ve received MVP voted in just four different seasons, largely because you played in big markets, and never once have you placed higher than 13th. Like Bob Wickman, you’re a 2-time all-star.
You are not a Hall-of-Famer by any objective measurement, but what you are is a millionaire. Actually, you’ve banked about $110,439,000.00. That’s a lot of money.
Do you really want to price yourself out of a job because you aren’t seeing any 5 million dollar offers? That strikes me as unwise.
And here’s why: you have 2723 career hits.
That’s a pretty good number and heck, you’ve had a pretty good career. For fifteen years, you’ve been a solid force atop lineups who has managed to play 140+ games year-in and year-out. Those qualities have given you the opportunity to accumulate a lot of hits, 2723, in fact! That’s sandwiched between Roberto Alomar and Lou Gehrig for 57th all-time.
The difference, of course, is that those gentlemen are all-time greats and you, Mr. Damon, are not. Your career, even with all those hits, while impressive, make you much more like Rusty Staub, Vada Pinson, Al Oliver, and Harold Baines than your Alomars and Gehrigs.
Thing is, for no good reason whatsoever, and another 277 hits will rubber-stamp your induction into the MLB Hall of Fame (even though, as I previously mentioned, you’re no Hall of Famer). That’s 138.5 hits per year. You’ve done that every year since….whoa, 1998? Batting at the top of the order for good teams and staying healthy will do that for you.
It doesn’t matter that your career as a ballplayer is still not the stuff of legends – not even close. But 3,000 hits – a completely arbitrary number of hits, by the way – would get you to baseball immortality. Even though you’d be the worst player with 3,000 hits with the exception of Lou Brock – even though Cap Anson still, to this day, has a better arm than you – you’d most likely be enshrined.
This is a no-brainer for you. Hang around for two more years. Take less money – you already have enough, even if your ex-wife took half of it (did you not get a pre-nup? Seriously?). Sign with a team where you can be guaranteed to play every day – the A’s or Mariners, perhaps? Actually, you might draw too many walks doing that, considering the severe lack of protection you’d receive. Either way, holding out for 5 million dollars is not the best long-term solution for you.