Over the next week, I'm going to be running out a series of articles discussing the trade values for the Rays most likely to be dealt at this year's trade deadline. For the sake of simplicity, I haven't gotten into the math or calculations involved, but it's pretty simple; check out this piece on B.J. Upton's trade value if you're curious. I'll be counting down from the least valuable trade chip to the most valuable, starting with #6 Johnny Damon.
Contract Status: $5.25 million, one year deal.
Rest of Season Projection: .334 wOBA
Trade Value: $1 million, one "C" grade prospect.
It somewhat surprised me how low Johnny Damon fell on this list. I knew going into this that he didn't have much trade value, but I figured that his production was enough to be worth one decent prospect. But when you consider all the factors working against Damon, he's simply not a very attractive trade chip.
At this point in his career, Damon is essentially a DH. He's played left field for the Rays on occasion this season, but his arm is as bad as ever and his range is far from what it used to be. He's not a very attractive DH, though; he's hitting .279 and managed to knock 9 homeruns, but his walk rate is down to 6% this season. This drop has kept his overall value low, and his .333 wOBA isn't exactly awe-inspiring for a DH. Most teams have someone that can provide that level of offense as a DH, and Damon is owed around $2.5 million for the remainder of the season.
Also, which teams need a DH? There aren't many contending AL clubs that have a hole there, which limits Damon's value even further. As has been suggested at DRB before, the Rays would probably be best shopping Damon to contending clubs in the NL as a bench/utility outfielder....but how many teams are going to give up anything worthwhile for a bench player?
So unless he gets packaged in with someone else, I'm not expecting Damon to go anywhere at the deadline. He's still filling a hole well for the Rays, and they don't have another player that's necessarily ready to fill in at DH. Damon's not making enough money to be worth moving for that reason alone, and from all reports, he's been a really great presence in the clubhouse. If we're not going to get much anyway, why not keep him?