- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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Despite several media reports, the status of the Chicago White Sox's negotiations with free-agent outfielder Johnny Damon has not changed over the last two weeks, a league source familiar with the situation told ESPNChicago.com.
But that doesn't mean a deal won't get done.
Sources indicate the Detroit Tigers still appear to be the front-runner for Damon. But at some point, the Tigers and Atlanta Braves might grow tired of playing the negotiating game, at which point the White Sox could possibly work out a bargain-basement deal.
Agent Scott Boras has been trying to negotiate with Detroit over the last six weeks on a contract that would either be for one or two years. For some reason, this deal has been difficult to get done.
Some reports say Damon and his family are reluctant to go to Detroit. Others say Detroit is concerned about getting caught in a negotiating war that would have the Tigers paying more for the player than they initially intended.
The relationship between the White Sox and Boras has been contentious during the many years Jerry Reinsdorf has owned the team. General manager Kenny Williams felt insulted by Boras and Alex Rodriguez during the winter meetings in 2000, when Rodriguez wouldn't even talk to the White Sox about coming to the team.
At that time, Boras negotiated a 10-year, $252 million contract for Rodriguez with the Texas Rangers.
The White Sox have no time constraint as to when this contract gets done. The team doesn't open its spring training until Feb. 20, and the assumption is that the 36-year-old Damon is in good condition.
Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com.
According to a published report on Thursday, the White Sox are moving closer to a deal with Yankees slugger Johnny Damon.