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Red Sox

Roche: Johnny Damon, Part II

By Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports
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Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury reacts after fouling a pitch off his right foot against the Baltimore Orioles. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury reacts after fouling a pitch off his right foot against the Baltimore Orioles. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – I remember the night eight years ago. I was driving home from an evening at the Boston Pops Holiday Show with my wife and kids when I got a call.

“Hey Rochie, the fans are gonna be all over me … but I got a much better deal.”

I said, “What are you talking about?”

He said, “I took a four-year offer from the Yankees for $52 million and I am going to play for them. It was much higher than the Red Sox’ offer.”

That call was from Johnny Damon.

We are seeing Johnny Damon, Part II with Jacoby Ellsbury as he’s agreed to a 7-year, $153-million deal with the Bronx Bombers.

I didn’t fault Damon with taking $12 million more then and I won’t fault Ellsbury for taking more than I’m sure the Sox offered.

Good for him. And, thank you.

Ellsbury did what you would want while wearing a Red Sox uniform. When healthy, he played hard, showed off tremendous speed and ability as a lead-off hitter and center fielder. He also helped the Sox win two World Series titles as well.

Photos: Playing For Both Sides Of The Rivalry

And, after waiting to hit the open market, he’s cashed in. I thought he would head west, nearer where he grew up, but he was fine to stay on the East Coast. Maybe he wants to win, too.

Meanwhile, Ben Cherington wasn’t going to offer him seven years. He just got out of two huge deals in Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. He’s going shorter terms and it worked.

Now we wait to see if Jackie Bradley Jr. will be handed the keys to center field or if a veteran such as Carlos Beltran will be brought in with Shane Victorino moving to center field. Or maybe a veteran center fielder will come in. We shall see.

Should be fun to watch unfold. Always is.

Follow WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on Twitter @RochieWBZ.

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