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Braves never serious contenders for Damon

Braves never serious contenders for Damon

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Braves never chose to become serious contenders for Johnny Damon, and it appears there is no longer reason to wonder if the veteran outfielder would actually end up accepting their bargain-basement offer.

Damon reportedly chose his next employer on Saturday afternoon, when he agreed to a one-year deal reportedly worth $8 million with the Tigers. The deal is pending the results of a physical.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman confirmed the agreement on SI.com on Saturday evening. More than 10 days ago, the Braves offered Damon a one-year contract that included deferred funds. While the present-day value of the offer was never specified, a Major League source said that he believed the offer was for less than $4 million.

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When the Braves gained confidence that Damon had a genuine desire to play in Atlanta this year, they opted to make this offer with the understanding that they would likely be outbid by the Tigers or another Major League club.

As time passed and there was reason to wonder if Damon would provide a surprise by accepting their offer, the Braves started to wonder if his value would outweigh the cost of altering their current plans for their outfield mix.

While the Braves likely would have utilized Damon as their leadoff hitter, they seem confident in Nate McLouth's ability to improve while serving in this role again this upcoming season. The center fielder has fueled this confidence since improving his vision with contact lenses.

The Braves believe Jason Heyward will exit camp as their starting right fielder, and they are confident that Matt Diaz and Melky Cabrera will form an effective platoon in left field.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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