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Johnny on the spot

Posted by Bob Ryan, Globe Staff  January 29, 2010 11:20 AM

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I'm surprised more Red Sox fans aren't reveling in the good news.

The good news is that the New York Yankees-Johnny Damon divorce is a tremendously welcome development in the rivalry. This breach is, without question, the most foolish split in recent baseball history. The farther Johnny Damon is from the Yankees, the better things will be for the Red Sox and their fans.

The Yankees need Johnny Damon and Johnny Damon needs the Yankees. They may think they'll be just fine with Nick (Ming Vase) Johnson replacing Damon in the No. 2 spot in the batting order, but that's a laughable delusion. Yes, Johnson is an OBP guy. But he ain't Johnny Damon, who had developed a swing for the new Yankee Stadium that guaranteed him 20-25 homers as long as he remained a Yankee or turned 45, whichever came first.

But what exactly is the matter with Damon? Does he think he will ever again be able to bat in a comparable batting order in which he hits behind Derek Jeter and in front of Mark Teixeira and A-Rod?

You'd like to blame Scott Boras, but Damon is a big boy, and he should understand the implications of the above paragraph. We're told that Boras began asking for the same $13 million for four years per while the Yankees offered two years at $7 million per. OK, fine. So how about meeting at $10 million annually for two years, plus club option? And don't give me any nonsense about the Yankees now having a budget. That would have been a good deal for both parties.

Let's not forget that Damon has the perfect temperament to handle the NYC nonsense, which is all the more reason the Yankees should have found a way to make it worth his while.

But, hey, that's New York's problem. The Yankees cannot be as good a team with Nick Johnson and Brett Gardner as they would have been with Johnny Damon and Johnny Damon.

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About bob ryan's blog Opinions, observations and anecdotes from Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan.
Bob is an award-winning columnist for the Globe and the host of "Globe 10.0" on Boston.com.

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