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Red Sox Didn't Claim Johnny Damon To Block Other Teams?

The interesting thing about this whole Johnny Damon being claimed by Boston story is the speculation about why the Red Sox made the move. On the surface, it simply appears that the Red Sox want Damon, as depth in their outfield isn't great. With any waiver claim, however, you have to examine the possible strategy behind it, as claims are often made with the intention of blocking other teams.

For Damon, many have simply assumed that the Red Sox claimed him in order to keep the Tampa Bay Rays from making a move to acquire him. It makes sense, as the Red Sox likely knew that a decision to return to Boston would be up to Damon, so it's a win-win situation either way -- keep the Rays from getting Damon and acquire him if he accepts the move.

As it turns out, the speculation about this being simply a strategic move may not be accurate, at least not according to what the Tigers have been telling Damon. From Peter Gammons:

Tigers explained to Damon Boston didn't claim to block, they want him. Tampa didn't even claimed him

Damon will be more likely to accept a move to Boston if he believes that the Red Sox truly want him. If the move was merely strategic, Damon probably would have already announced his decision to stay with the Tigers.