Well, this adds another dynamic. Randy Winn has signed with the Yankees, effectively leaving Johnny Damon in the cold. Yesterday, rumors about the Rays being involved in Orlando Hudson talks surfaced and in the past talks about Johnny Damon and Jim Thome have buoyed in the wave-ridden off-season waters. Everyone knows where this is going, so let me catch it then. Which player makes more sense?
If you take CHONE as gospel, then Damon is a win better. Simple enough, except Damon played in a wind tunnel last season. To murk things up further, that wind tunnel is one that we don't have enough data to have a firm grasp on how it affects offensive production. Damon performed admirably in the final season at Old Yankee Stadium fully to his credit, so the inflation might be less than you would think. Still, this is a 36-year-old coming off his best offensive season since the turn of the last decade.
Damon has one other clear advantage on hudson, and that is that he's played in the American League. Hudson's last year in the A.L. came before the Rays' front office renovation. Hudson is a better defender at a more premium defensive position though. This is where the intricacies that only the Rays feature come into play. They have wicked depth. Almost too much depth.
Matt Joyce, Sean Rodriguez, and Reid Brignac can head to Durham for another half-season (along with Desmond Jennings and guys like Ryan Shealy, giving the Bulls a better lineup than the Kansas City Royals) and in the right scenarios this could actually improve the roster. That's insane. Add either and Joyce might go down, or Rodriguez if Zobrist moves to the outfield, or Pat Burrell may never get the chance to rebound, or ... there's literally a million different scenarios.
Back to the point though. If it's Damon or Hudson, I think you have to go with Damon. Especially if the price is close. Read this post by Dave Cameron, you want the 2010 version of Bobby Abreu? He's right here. All that talking about prep-work about waiting on the market and taking advantage of some players who were frozen out could finally thaw out in these waning days before pitchers and catchers report.
I guess it really comes down to this: would a scorned Damon hook up with the Rays for a little anger bang?
Ed: And as I type this, Joel Sherman shows that I'm not a total moron for thinking about this.