Rays reportedly closing in on deal with Damon
Update: Johnny Damon didn't exactly shoot down the reports that he's getting closer to a deal with the Rays, but there still appears to be some things to work through.
"Nothing is done as of now, and that's all I can say," Damon wrote in a text message to the Times.
Update: There have been no indications from the Rays side that any deal with Johnny Damon is imminent. Though there has been mutual interest, and it wouldn't be surprising if a deal eventually gets done, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick cites an unnamed source that reports of the two sides being close to a deal is "very premature."
Developing: The Rays may be getting close to finding another bat for their lineup.
Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports is reporting Tampa Bay and free agent LF/DH Johnny Damon "appear to be closing in on a deal," though there is "still some work to be done."
The Rays have had no immediate comment on the report.
Damon, 37, has told the Times in December he was interested in joining the Rays. Executive VP Andrew Friedman has said they wanted to get another bat for the lineup, and the Rays have been linked having interest with Damon, as well as Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez and Andruw Jones.
But with Jones signing a one-year, $2 million deal with the Yankees and DH Jim Thome signing with the Twins ($ 3 million) the market may be working itself out in a position for the Rays liking.
Damon is a Scott Boras client, just like Jones and Ramirez. Damon, a 16-year-big league veteran, is very familiar with the American League East, having spent a bulk of his career with the Red Sox and Yankees before signing with the Tigers before last season. He hit eight homers and 51 RBI while batting .271.
-- JOE SMITH