Report: Johnny Damon Claimed By Unknown Team

Johnny Damon was placed on waivers on Thursday and per MLB Trade Rumors, has finally been claimed by a team. Considering the Rays have the second-best record in the American League at the moment, they'd be the second to last team that would have a chance to claim him before he became available to the National League.

What are the odds that the Rays are the team that claimed Damon? It's unlikely, but I'm not going to discount the idea. If Damon fell to the Rays, he'd make an intriguing addition to the team; he'd be an upgrade in the DH position, providing moderate pop and good contact skills. R.J. Anderson covered him recently on The Process Report:

He would not carry the heavy stick of a Jim Thome at the DH spot, however, Damon's gap power and above-average on-base skills would certainly upgrade the position for the Rays. After all, that is all the Rays are looking for. They don't need Damon to hit like he did in a Yankee uniform; just be better than the present options available to the team.

Damon projects to be a .345 wOBA batter, basically making him slightly above league-average. The Rays have gotten abysmal production out of the DH slot so far this year, though, and he'd definitely be an improvement in that respect. Damon walks at a high rate (11.5%), hits for a good average (.270), and can provide some moderate extra base pop (.139 ISO). Also, if the Rays did claim him, he'd only add an additional $2M to the payroll.

Out of all the teams in the American League, the only others I can see being interested in Damon would be the Red Sox and Yankees. The Red Sox have multiple players injured and could use another bat to help them make a late season push, and the Yankees' Lance Berkman is now on the DL with an ankle injury. The Rays would get a stab at Damon before the Yankees but not the Red Sox.

File this under the "Possible, but not likely" list and we'll see what ends up being revealed.

Update: Per Jon Heyman, the Red Sox are the team that claimed Damon. Oh sugar.

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