December 20, 2005
Damon to Yankees
By Gordon Edes, Globe Staff
Johnny Damonâ€™s days in Boston are over.
The free-agent center fielder agreed to a four-year, $52 million contract with the rival Yankees late Tuesday night. The agreement is contingent on Damon passing a physical.
Damon conformed the deal in an interview on Boston television station CBS-4 on Tuesday night.
"New York came after me aggressively and that's what sealed the deal," he said. "I'm headed to New York ... I'm very excited ... It's with mixed emotions ... Time for me to look forward."
Damon fills a double void for the Yankees, giving them a speedy center fielder who can cover ground and a leadoff hitter to top a lineup that includes Derek Jeter, Gary Sheffield, AL MVP Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui and Jason Giambi.
Bernie Williams' defense declined significantly over the past four seasons. And while Damon's arm is not much better, he does cover a lot of ground, which is important in Yankee Stadium.
Agent Scott Boras had been seeking a seven-year contract for Damon. The offer Damon accepted was essentially the same as the deal Matsui agreed to with the Yankees last month.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.