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New York Yankees news & notes: Forget that Damon discount

It has been clear for weeks now that the New York Yankees want Johnny Damon back, but for no more than two years at around $10 million per season.

Damon made it clear Tuesday he wants more than that -- and he fully intends to allow agent Scott Boras to find a team willing to pony up his asking price.

Damon is still seeking a three-year contract without taking a pay cut - that would put a deal at $39million - believing that his performance last season was good enough for him to continue earning an annual salary of $13 million. And after watching Mike Cameron - who is almost a year older than Damon - ink a two-year pact with the Red Sox, Damon sees no reason for him to settle for less than three.

"Players out there are getting multi-year deals," Damon said. "(Andy) Pettitte got a raise at 37, even though it was only one year. Cameron is 37 (he turns 37 in January) and he got two years. We're not going to know much until we start negotiating with teams, but that should happen soon."

Damon, who doesn't seem to be in any rush to get his situation settled, said that the Yankees have not started negotiating with his agent, Scott Boras.

"I've been too busy with the kids to worry about it," Damon said. "We're just going about our business and our life. I'm not really too concerned about it. We'll find a team elsewhere if the Yankees don't bring me back."

My take: I can't blame Damon for wanting as much as he can get, but the Yankees can't do that. And GM Brian Cashman seems to feel that way, too. Three years from now Damon will be a very expensive broken-down ex-outfielder who can only DH. The Yankees don't need that. If Damon wants to play hardball, the Yankees just need to move on.

If the Yankees need a replacement for Damon -- and Hideki Matsui -- they don't appear inclined to pursue Jason Bay as that guy. I'm OK with that, too. They can use Melky Cabrera in left, let Xavier Nady and Jason Hoffman compete to be the right-hand hitting alternative, and spend their money on adding a little more pitching.

Speaking of Matsui, I came across a couple of excellent articles regarding the former Yankee outfielder/DH.

WFAN's Sweeny Murti penned (typed?) an excellent tribute to Matsui that had more to do with Matsui the man than Matsui the baseball player.
I can’t imagine I’ll ever have the privilege of covering a player like Hideki Matsui again. The word "unique" is thrown around too much, but this was indeed a unique experience, right from Day One.

Matsui’s Yankee legacy will be that he was an extremely professional hitter, a clutch hitter who saved his best for last, 6 RBIs in the World Series clincher to take home the MVP trophy. And his nickname, Godzilla, is wholly ironic, for there is nothing about his personality or work ethic that suggests a fire-breathing monster. He was just a model Yankee from the first day, literally to the last.

It is nearly impossible to demonstrate how impressive it was to see a man move half way around the world and not only become the first successful power hitter from Japan, but do it in New York for the Yankees, in a place where greater players have come and failed. We often say there will never be another Derek Jeter or another Mariano Rivera. He’s not in same Hall of Fame level as those two, but Matsui is much more. He is in an elite class all by himself, simply the most unique athlete I have ever known.
The New York Times looks at how the loss of Matsui will affect the Yankees off the field.

ESPN's Rob Neyer loves Boston's decision to replace Bay with Cameron. And Sabermetricians will love his reasoning.
He certainly isn't as expensive. As for productive ... Well, that depends on how you define "productive."

Over the last two seasons, Cameron
produced 8.4 wins above replacement.

Over those same two seasons, Bay
produced 6.4 wins above replacement.

The Red Sox are going to pay Cameron roughly half of what someone's going to pay Jason Bay.

We try to make these things so complicated. But they're not, really. The Red Sox have figured out how to simplify everything. And I just can't
wait to read all the columns in the Boston newspapers questioning Theo Epstein's intelligence and ownership's commitment to winning ...