NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees grabbed center fielder Johnny Damon away from the rival Boston Red Sox, reaching a preliminary agreement Tuesday night on a $52 million, four-year contract.
Details of the deal were still being negotiated and Damon must pass a physical, a baseball official said on condition of anonymity because negotiations were not yet final.
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 star-studded lineup that also 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. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2266983