To be fair, Johnny Damon isn't going to win the Red Sox a World Series. Not this year, anyway.
But that's hardly Theo Epstein's motive in trying to bring back the once-beleaguered, turn-of-the-Red-Sox-good-fortunes staple center fielder, whose shaggy locks, poor man's beard and not-too-far-off resemblance to another kind of savior are the stuff of legend around the Fens. While Damon's legs are no longer what they once were and his arm -- which always sort of left something to be desired anyway -- is no better than it was five years ago, the Red Sox GM put a waiver claim on Damon Monday afternoon.
While Damon teeters on the fence, deciding between Detroit and Boston, members of the Boston media and Red Sox of yore are clamoring for his return to Fenway. Not so for SB Nation's Red Sox blog Over The Monster, who calls Theo's claim a "block move ... pure and simple" -- by claiming him, Boston prevents the Rays from doing the same. For the Red Sox, acquiring Damon would be, at best, a good publicity move, says OTM:
Where Damon does help the Sox, potentially, is in the clubhouse and in public relations. It's no secret that veterans like David Ortiz, Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek would like to see Damon back (because, ya' know, it's like 2004 all over again!). He would be an instantaneous gel to clubhouse atmosphere. But it's hard to believe that Theo would give up money, resources, etc., for a clubhouse gel. That's just not his style.
... Damon would be a nice little End Of The Year present to Red Sox Nation. Because as much as Red Sox fans want to say they hate Damon and will hate him forever, if he comes to the Sox and steps into that batter's box, he will receive a lot of cheers. He will receive a lot of boos for sure, but the cheers will certainly be audible and would drown out the boos after a while.
Damon's return could provide the spark that the Sox have been missing all year: Boston, currently on a three-game win streak, hasn't won more than three in a row since a June homestand in which they went 8-1 versus the Phillies, Diamondbacks and Dodgers.