With rumors that the Braves have offered Johnny Damon a one-year contract hitting the twitterverse on Wednesday afternoon, I thought this might be a good opportunity to look at what Mr. Damon might be worth to the Braves in 2010.
CHONE projects Damon as being worth 3.2 WAR in 2010. Let's suppose the Braves' current left fielder (an amalgamation of Matt Diaz, Melky Cabrera, Eric Hinske, and various other fourth outfielders) would be worth 1 WAR in 2010. Signing Damon, then, would provide add 2.2 marginal wins. That would make him worth $7.7 million to the Braves in 2010.
Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that the Braves' initial offer is for one year at about $5 million, a portion of which would be deferred. If Damon ended up signing for this amount, that would provide the Braves with $2.7 million of consumer surplus. Damon may be even more valuable if those two extra wins are enough to put the Braves in the playoffs. Most forecasts currently have the Braves in the playoff hunt, but not quite in the playoffs.
The Braves' newfound interest in Damon might come as a surprise to those who heeded overmuch Frank Wren's declaration that the Braves weren't planning on making any more player acquisitions this off season. Though the comment angered many Braves fans at the time, in retrospect, it may have been a shrewd move. Wren is, after all, having to wrangle with Scott Boras to try to make Johnny Damon a Brave. Why tip your hand that you're still looking for another outfielder? Boras has already shown that he can produce teams that are interested in his clients out of whole cloth. There would have been little point in allowing Boras to use such a comment to ramp up the perception of demand for Mr. Damon's services.