Dreams of Nick Johnson at first

Minor League's Hardest Throwers
What's up, Chuck?

On Thursday afternoon, Joe sat in for a few hours at MLB Trade Rumors. On one of his posts, he pointed the way to this Washington Post piece about Nick Johnson‘s 16-month rehab for a horrible broken leg. Joe then told us how this is a rumor:

He’ll be competing with Dmitri Young for the starting first base gig. Both are signed through 2009, with roughly the same salaries. But there isn’t room for both of them on the Nats roster. Each has his pitfalls, making a trade difficult.

So what do you do if you’re Jim Bowden? Johnson is the team’s second highest-paid player, and Young is just a tick behind. Do you really let one of your top five highest paid players languish on the bench?

At around the same time, Mike, Joe and I all came up with answer to that question. What do you do if you’re Jim Bowden? Why, trade Nick Johnson to the Yankees of course. The Yanks are an organization not afraid of paying a full salary and in need of a first-baseman.

After leaving New York, Johnson continued to do what he has always done: get on base and get injured. In 2006, before his collision with Austin Kearns, he seemed to be breaking out. Injury-free, he had 23 home runs in the über-pitching paradise of RFK Stadium and was hitting .290/.428/.520. That’s a drool-worthy .948 OPS out of the first base position. The Yanks haven’t seen that since Jason Giambi‘s 2006 campaign, and even then, he DH’d for much of that year.

The keys here of course are convincing the Nationals that they want to give up the younger Nick Johnson instead of the older Dmitri Young, settling on the other pieces of the trade and seeing that Nick Johnson is healthy. But, hey, we can dream, right?

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Minor League's Hardest Throwers
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  • Rich

    Bowden is notoriously tough to consummate a deal with, but if a trade could get done that would reflect the risk the Yankees would be taking given the $11 million remaining on his contract and the injury issues, I would love to see OBP Jesus back in pinstripes.

    Perhaps the Yankees could give up a package that would include a PTBNL, the caliber of which would be conditioned on a given set of criteria based on games played/performance.

    • RollignWave

      But he pulled quiet a load of trade since he took office at DC though… I think he’s changed a bit, though in most cases he fleeced the other side pretty badly, getting huge potential guys for scrubes or has beens

  • RollignWave

    Yeah, i would be more than willing to give up a few mid range prospects for Johnson.

  • Jeff

    Dreamig… thought I’d like t see him come back. We have the same problems as the Nats – no room on the roster. Even if we traded Duncan for him that would still flop Giambi on the bench at 20 + mil. I’m not sure we want to do that again… but then again?

  • Tripp

    Would you trade Betemit for Johnson and then give Gonzales the full time utility job?

  • TurnTwo

    Bowden has really done a pretty good job at rebuilding the Nats minor league system basically from scratch. This is why locking up Dmitri Young made no sense at the time, unless Bowden knew that Nick Johnson could be a more valuable commodity to trade when he is gets back on the field this year compared to what Dmitri Young wouldve gotten at the trading deadline last year for the organization.

    i think they also want Dmitri to be a positive influence and a leader in the clubhouse to some of the young guys they’ve brought in, like Elijiah Dukes and Lastings Milledge.

    i dont think at all that its out of the realm of possibility to guess that Johnson could be placed on the market during Spring Training once he proves he’s healthy, and for a young team like the Nats, it makes no sense to spend that much money on a player who is basically insurance.

    the Yankees have the mid-level arms and some low level offensive players who have some decent upside that a team, like the Nats, who are trying to rebuild the farm system from the bottom up would normally be interested in.

    Let’s make a deal!!

  • E-ROC

    Steven White & Adam Olbrychowski?

    • TurnTwo

      I was thinking a ‘Jeff Marquez and Wilson Betemit’-type package should do the trick.

      • E-ROC

        I don’t think Bowden is going to take Betemit. He’ll want pitching, pitching, and more pitching. Probably MLB ready pitching. Jeff Marquez and Steven White? I kinda like Jeff Marquez out of the bullpen this year.

        • TurnTwo

          Betemit is a decent option for a NL team, because he’s a solid LH bat (but is a switch-hitter, ahem, allegedly) who can come off the bench, and play multiple positions… Because they pretty much have the starting lineup in place, Betemit could fill a nice bench role/spot start role for Bowden at a cheap price.

          but I agree, all things considered, he’ll aim for pitching, which thankfully for the Yankees, we have a nice stockpile of.

  • http://lbaprequel.xesf.net/ LBA Prequel

    Would love to see this trade happen for midlevel prospects (read: not Melky). Even though we have the logjam at 1B, I wouldn’t mind sending Betemit off. Nick Green was probably going to get a utility job anyways, so I’m sure that will take the pressure off Gonzalez a bit, they could keep him in the minors rather than sitting on the bench.

    Anyways, if Johnson gets hurt, it isn’t like we don’t have some candidates to fill the position…Duncan and Giambi will still be here. But I like this move. I’m just wondering why the Nats would move Johnson instead of Young…

  • mustang

    It’s funny a co-worker and I were talking about this same thing last night. Looking at the Yankees’ depth chart they really don’t have a true 1st basement especially on the defensive side. Johnson would be a great fit at 1st.

    PS- Looking at that depth chart was a real eye opener on some of the Yanks weakness. That bull pen is just plain bad without Joba. The starters, let just say your putting a lot on three kids, 1 almost ace, 1 old warrior, and 1 guy who is done. I hate to say it but if we could somehow get Santana without losing Hughes i would do it. It’s easy for me to see where this season could go bad in a hurry.

    • http://lbaprequel.xesf.net/ LBA Prequel

      I hate to say it but if we could somehow get Santana without losing Hughes i would do it. It’s easy for me to see where this season could go bad in a hurry.

      I read an article yesterday (I’ll try to find the link) that said Hughes was off the table, for good. Of course, we all know how firm Hank has been thus far, but nonetheless, I can’t see Boston keeping all their guys on the table either. With each day that passes, the Twins lose ground.

      I’d send Kennedy, Melky, et al. for Santana at this point. No question. I (heart) Melky, but I totally agree, we need Santana in the rotation. But I don’t want to give up Hughes.

  • mustang

    Without Joba or Hughes. Wouldn’t a package of Kenndy, Gardner,Gonzalez, Igawa and Marquez be as good as the Mets package. Better i think.

  • mustang

    Ok for some reason the Twins hate Melky so give them Gardner. Kid is fast hits for average and had a great winter league. I know no power, but on that carpet he is double at least very hit.

  • Steve S

    how did a nick johnson turn into the santana debate again?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Seriously. Who mentioned Johan Santana in this post? Not I. How did we end up discussing him? Haven’t we killed that topic? Admittedly, that’s partly our fault, but there’s been NO NEWS on Santana lately. How did he come up again?

      • Rob

        Would you do Horne, Marquez, and Betances?

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          For Nick Johnson? Nuh uh. That’s way to much.

    • TurnTwo

      let’s steer it back on track…

  • mustang

    After the Super bowl very thing going to turn into the Santana debate. LOL

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I liked Nick when he was with the Yankees. I still like him. I don’t want to give up Shelley. I wish we had room for him. There are several Yankees with bloated contracts I’d like to get rid of and take Nick.

  • brxbmrs

    Guys,

    I guess I’m gonna get made fun of again (just like in my vehement defense of Melk) but I was thrilled when the Yanks got rid of Johnson.

    First, his Humpty Dumpty Like durability, second his very limited range at first and poor footwork on the bag, third his long, looping LH swing.

    Yeah, he showed flashes of “brilliance” with his patience at the plate and ripping the ball down the line, but overall I’d rather see the Yanks go in a different direction – i.e with SHelley’s RH bat getting 400 + PA’s.

    He’s not worth mid-level prospects – if its a salary dump and the Yanks want to spend 11 mil to keep Pavano company in Tampa, that’s fine.

    THe Yanks shouldn’t be looking for “bargains” at 1st – if Duncan\Giambi\Bet can’t get it done, the 09 Yanks need to fill that position with a real candidate – i.e. Texiera (sp?).

    Bottom line, NJ can’t be relyed on to be healthy much less stay healthy, he’s overrated defensively and he’s another lefty hitter in a lefty laden lineup – huge pass – been there, done that.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Johnson is no Minky, but he’d be the best defensive first baseman on the club. He’s solid, but not spectacular.

    • steve (different one)

      First, his Humpty Dumpty Like durability, second his very limited range at first and poor footwork on the bag, third his long, looping LH swing.

      uh, Johnson was an excellent defensive 1Bman. i am not sure where you are pulling this crap from.

    • Rob

      Nick Johnson is a real candidate, and it’s not a lot of money to take the risk. I’d rather see if Nick can stay healthy for $11 million than pay Teixeira at least $75 million.

      Careers:
      Nick the Stick- .272 .395 .458 125 OPS+
      Mark Teixeira- .286 .371 .539 131 OPS+

      Both are 27.

      The problem is the cost in prospects. It all depends on how high that goes.

      • brxbmrs

        Boys & especially Rob,

        NJ is 29 – turns 30 in September 2008. Tex is 1 1/2 younger.

        Also comparing NJ’s stats to Tex’s this way is tremendously misleading – Tex has 100 more HR’s and 200+ RBI’s in about 1,000 additional AB’s – and he actually stays on the field.

        Go look at them defensively as well.

        While his RF improved alot with the Nats =- those 15 errors he made in 2006 don’t define, “excellence”. I remember a game he made two errors in 1 inning against the MEts – one was a ball thrown chest high right into his glove and it popped out – he’s awkward and clumsy.

        While midlevel prospects do exist to make trades – you don’t know if a guy like Steven White is gonna be the guy to become the reliever you are looking for – so I don’t make any trades for damaged goods.

        You can get better D out of Minky for a mil bucks and you’ve got 3 guys plus Juan Miranda who might give you all the 1st basemen you need.

        I’ve been watching this game for longer than alot of you guys have been alive – NJ was overhyped defensively from the very beginning – when he was in AAA the “Experts” were saying he was already better defensively than TIno – totally ridiculous.

        Believe what you want, but NJ is not a good defensive firstbaseman – lousy footwork, ok hands and his range was about a step better than the Giambi of 3-4 years ago – that all comes from watching the game for going on 4 decades.

        JMO.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

          Don’t be condescending, most of us here are grown men, not boys. We ask you to be more respectful of the readers and authors of this site.

          • brxbmrs

            Mike A.

            Condescention cuts both ways – Ben is very adamant in his opinions and he weights almost everything on Jamesian analysis. When I was in my 20’s I thought I had alot in life figured out – I didn’t – alot here will learn the same lesson I did.

            To say NJ is a “Stellar” defensive first baseman is ludicrous – I doubt Ben saw him play half the games with the Yanks – it also doesn’t explain his 15 errors (lowest fp for a 1st baseman that year), Second lowest ZR and mid pack on RF – there is absolutely nothing “Stellar” about those stats – NOW, if you actually saw NJ play the position for a fwe hundred games as well – you cshould realize that he was a clumsy oaf.

            Rob (and I like his posts) didn’t even realize NJ was 29 going on 30, and a 1 1/2 older than Teixiera) – that’s just poor homework.

            The most ridiculous thing is NJ had at least 3 big operations since he got hurt the last time – who the hell needs to take a chance on that when you have 4 candidates already who may do the job?

            Now as for my tone earlier – you misinterpreted it – I took what I knew to be a very unpopular stance, but did so based on my analysis and observation of the player and remembering the hype surrounding him.

            Baseball is a game played and scored by real (imperfect) people – you can’t rely on the stats as much as many here do (its also nice if you analyze the stats correctly)- there also alot to be said for seeing all the games.

            Peace.

            • steve (different one)

              Second lowest ZR and mid pack on RF

              you flipped these. he is mid-pack in ZR, which is the more important number.

    • steve (different one)

      Yeah, he showed flashes of “brilliance” with his patience at the plate and ripping the ball down the line

      here is a spray chart of NJ’s HRs in 2006:

      http://www.hittrackeronline.co.....ype=hitter

      they are pretty evenly distributed all over the field.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Few things:

      As has been noted, Johnson was – and still is – a stellar defensive first baseman. Humpty Dumpty at first? Why, that’s Jason Giambi. It’s just wrong to call him a bad defensive first baseman.

      Second, his long looping swing produced a +.900 OPS in 2006 and a .890 OPS in 2005. He’s may be 12 months older than Shelley Duncan but he’s better at hitting Major League pitching and better at fielding than Duncan will probably ever be.

      Finally, mid-range prospects exist to be traded for players like Nick Johnson. You can’t get a Johan Santana for mid-range prospects unless it’s part of a Bobby Abreu-like salary dump. In this case, it would be perfectly reasonable to offer up a bunch of mid-range prospect, who for the most won’t amount to much at the big league level, for a Nick Johnson type.

      • brxbmrs

        Ben,

        I don’t think you have seen Nick Johnson play D (15 errors in 06)- I think you are relying on his hype. IMHO you need to step away from James’s “Mein Kampf” and rely on your own observations as well as statistical analysis.

        Also, what none of you have considered is what happens when you fill a roster spot with a guy like NJ and he goes down – you potentially cool off (or worse) trade away a guy that could have done the job – for a ton less than 11 mil.

        If the Yanks want great D at 1st – sign Minky for a million bucks, he also might also give you some pop when you need it.

        THe bottom line is NJ makes alot of $ for what he is right now – a huge health risk and a guy who even if he is healthy could go down right when you need him – and he has.

        Let someone else waste 11 mil – Yanks aren’t desperate at 1st although they do need to anchor that position in the next year – by 09.

        • steve (different one)

          according to UZR, which is created by Tom Tango and Michael Lichtman, authors of “The Book”, Johnson is an above average defensive 1Bman.

          the data is here:

          http://www.insidethebook.com/e.....003_mid07/

          You are actually correct in that his numbers dipped (to about average) in 2006. but he was excellent in 2004 and 2005, and is still above average over the 2003-2006 sample.

          these guys know a hell of a lot more about baseball than i do, and i am pretty sure they know a lot more than you do, no matter how many decades you have been watching the game. this is their livelihood, and they are considered authorities in the field of evaluating defense.

          so, i am going to go with what these guys think, instead of the opinion you formed because he once made 2 errors in one inning against the Mets (which by the way, never even happened).

  • Tripp

    I wouldn’t give up Marquez. It’s pretty much a salary dump for Washington. Steve White and Betemit.

  • Bo

    I love how fans just throw prospects out there for these type of BS trades. Like anyone has seen S White or Olbrychowski pitch. What if the organization thinks they are #2 starter type starters or future closers? But hey you’re throwing him out there in trades is fun!

    Just because you read a top 10 prospect list in BA doesnt mean thats how the team ranks the guys.

  • Rob

    Bowden will start by asking for Hughes. Then go to Kennedy. It’s the smart thing to do with every organization, unless he’s in a hurry to unload Nick the Stick at the end of Spring training.

    Anyone here give up Kennedy? Horne?

    I think it would take one plus Marquez and a high young ceiling arm like Betances. You might balk at that but look what Oakland got for Swisher.

    I have a feeling that Bowden would sooner hold onto NJ until June when he’s proven he’s healthy. It’s a risk, but he’d rather sell high than low, and ~2 million isn’t a lot of money.

    • Rich

      Giving up Kennedy or Horne for a player that may or may not be healthy, and may or may not be able to stay on the field, is madness. Neither the Yankees nor any other team in MLB would seriously consider that offer.

      If Bowden isn’t willing to be realistic, he can keep Nick and continue to allocate a disproportionate amount of his puny payroll to 1Bmen.

    • Rob

      Here’s what the White Sox got for Swisher (27 yo: .251 .361 .464 118 OPS+, 3 arb years left):

      Gio Gonzalez – 21 yo LHP, 2007 in AA: 150 IP, 185 K, 57 BB, 1.15 WHIP, 3.18 ERA
      Fautino De Los Santos
      Ryan Sweeney

      The Johnson haul won’t be as good at the front end, but I can imagine the same depth.

      • Rich

        Yes, but Swisher had 539 AB last season. Johnson had zero.

      • Rob

        Yes, but Swisher has zero seasons of 130+ OPS. NtS has three.

        Still, I did say the NtS trade would not feature a front-end like Gio. But it won’t stop Bowden from trying. And it only takes one team to match. Brian Sabean with Rich Auriella at 1B, perhaps, starting with Cain? Or Seattle and the expiring Richie Sexson?

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    I’m all for bringing Nick back. In reality, he’s coming off a terrible injury and hasn’t seen a ML pitch in 1.5 years, so Bowden’s not going to get equal value for him. Plus the Yanks don’t need him, it’s just one of those moves with a chance to improve the team that comes along every so often.

    Call me crazy, but doesn’t Johnson for Igawa make sense for both teams (assuming the money gets worked out somewhat fairly)?

    • Rob

      Igawa and cash is a starting point. Bowden would still want prospects. Nick has proven he’s a legit MLer. Iggy has yet to.

      I’d venture that since Bowden hasn’t already traded NJ, he’s willing to hold onto him until June. They could put Young in LF (403 games there vs 401 at 1B) and make their kids fight for playing time. It’s not like that move is going to make or break their season.

    • http://itsaboutthemoney.blogspot.com Jason R.

      I really like that Igawa deal. He’d be just fine in the NL in a big ballpark, at a reasonably cheap salary.

    • Count Zero

      Yes. That makes sense in my book.

      I wouldn’t mind having NJ back despite his fragility.

      I think the thing we have to remember here is that Shelley’s health is still a question mark at this point. The FO knows more about that than we do, but I continue to have the feeling that this whole offseason blood clot surgery thing was more serious than people believe (i.e., possibly career-ending). I have no rational basis for that, but the press read funny on it — plus no one’s talking about it now, and the ridiculous Lane signing seems to point to a potential problem.

      • TurnTwo

        i think that getting back NJ despite his fragile nature is the type of risk that we can afford to take right now.

        it’s a great case of buying low and selling high, and fitting it into the current team… yes, technically we have a Duncan/Betemit/Giambi platoon to play 1B right now, but NJ would be an upgrade from all 3.

        and should NJ get hurt over the course of the year, we have this platoon of guys to fall back on, no harm/no foul.

    • E-ROC

      Somewhat. Nick Johnson is a known commodity with a checkered injury history, while Kei Igawa was abused in his “rookie” season. The Yanks would have to add another pitcher to that deal, one would think.

    • TurnTwo

      Igawa actually does make a lot of sense. Nationals need MLB ready SP, and they get a back of the rotation for more than half the current going rate on the market.

  • steve (different one)

    if by “both teams” you mean the Yankees and the Marlins, who need help in their battle for 4th place. j/k.

    i see where you are going with Igawa: big ballpark (what about their new park? not sure how that will play), NL, decent OF defense…but i don’t think NJ for Igawa is very realistic.

  • TurnTwo

    agreed. Igawa couldnt work one-for-one, but there is no way Bowden could get anyone from Horne up the prospect chain for NJ.

  • Bo

    How about Igawa, Pavano, Farnsworth, and 8 prospects in A ball who arent good for Nick and Chad Cordero and get them to throw in Ryan Zimmerman to back up A-Rod and DH

    • Tripp

      Bo, I don’t think they will take Pavano. He’s injured.

  • Bo

    And I’m sure no one here thought Bowden could get Milledge for Brian Schneider and Church

    RIght?

    • TurnTwo

      i would say that says more about the Mets desire to move Milledge from the organization than it does Bowden’s ability to get Milldge for Church and Schneider.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      On the flip side, Bowden traded Albaladejo, a serviceable reliever, for Tyler Clippard who probably won’t amount to much at the Major League level. It’s easy to pick and choose trades to attempt to prove your point, but that’s just not reality.

      • Steve S

        I think Clippard might be a serviceable 4 or 5 in the national league so I don’t think thats fair. And Albaladejo isnt really a known quantity by any stretch of the imagination. I think you could get Nick Johnson but I think the Yankees are going to do it. They dont need another lefthanded bat, especially since he is a similar style hitter to Abreu, moderate power, good OBP. And the reality is, Cashman has to find playing time for Mastui, Giambi and Damon. He needs a first baseman who doesnt have to play every day and can field the position. Nick is an above average first baseman (I think stellar is a little strong), but he needs to play everyday. If he does he makes them extremely lefthanded. They actually have a pretty good bench this year, defensively they arent the greatest, but they do have enough between Giambi, Duncan (if healthy), and Betemit to make up the difference.

        • RollignWave

          No, Nick has shown even splits in his career, the whole lefty/ righty thing gets outta whack, it only matters isf the guy is particularly vunerable to one side(i.e Abreu .. and more extremly Betemit ..) if a guy hits both sides being lefty is a PLUS not a NEGATIVE. there is a reason that there’s a lot more right handed guys batting lefty than the other way around, because atting left handed is a serious advantage in baseball, and a even bigger one in YS

          • Steve S

            I wasnt saying that Nick cant hit lefties. I was saying that it makes the lineup top heavy with lefties which is bad for matchups. By the way last year the Yankees had a .778 OPS against lefties, that was seventh in the American League. Its not awful but its not great. My only point is that Johnson would be a luxury this year.

  • E-ROC

    I kinda like an expansion of an NJ trade, to include Chad Cordero. Any ideas what the starting point would be?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Oh lord no. Cordero’s toast. His stuff is flat, he’s throwing 89 on a good day, he’s been worked way too hard over the years.

      Bowden turned down Humber for Cordero at the deadline last year, so that gives you an idea of what he’s looking for in return.

      • E-ROC

        LOL, I guess we’ll stick to trading for Nick Johnson. :)

  • Bo

    For a team in desperate need of starting pitching why not take a shot on Clippard?

    Whats a reliever for a team that will win 70 games?

    Why not take a shot on a young guy with decent stuff who has good minor league #’s?

  • Bo

    That Milledge trade is going to kill the Mets eventually.

    He is going to make them pay for that and for 19 games a yr. Putting the chip on his shoulder will be the best thing that ever happend to him as a player.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      I was thinking about that yesterday. You have to think they could have pulled together a Santana deal if they still had him.

  • http://yankeesmtom.blogspot.com/ Steven

    I would give up a lot to get Nick Johnson.

    Kei Igawa, Jeff Marquez, Steven White, and Chris Britton

    I know its a lot for a guy that hasn’t played in 1 1/2 years, but he’s just that good.

  • http://yankeesmtom.blogspot.com/ Steven

    This however does leave a problem with too many players in so few spots (Damon, Matsui, Giambi, Betemit, Duncan, Johnson)

    • TurnTwo

      it really isnt a problem.

      Giambi/Matsui are still splitting time at DH, Damon/Matsui are still splitting time in LF, and Nick Johnson is your everyday 1B.

      Betemit returns to the bench, and Duncan is relegated to bench duty and spot starts at 1B/RF, or he’s optioned back to SWB.

  • mike

    no rush in getting NJ – he will be there if Giambi gets hurt again ( hahaha) or if Shelly is exposed, and at that point I would not be averse to overpaying for NJ with a couple hundred at-bats under his belt and the Yanks in a position of need. This is nothing which could/should be done now, and I have a feeling alot of Yanks pitchers will come to play this year – for the first time there is an incentive in being a pretty good minor league pitcher for the Yanks other than being trade fodder or looked at/ dumped back by Torre, so I am anticipating that these 10-12 guys who we have been speaking about will have good springs, and allow for more trade possibilities thereafter.

  • zack

    You people are all insane. The last thing the Yanks need is another injury prone 1B to eat up space and $. Sure, it would be great to get a good 1B, but at the cost of Marquez + for a guy who will get injured? Nah. Not only is it worth seeing what Duncan and Betemit can do and then Miranda, but then you have Teixeira next season. Its not like the Nats will be competing this year so Johnson can be had during the season too. Of course, by then, he’ll have been injured again…

    • brxbmrs

      Zack,

      Careful, Mike A. might demand some more respect from you as well ;-0.

  • brxbmrs

    Zack,

    Careful, Mike might demand some more respect from you as well ;-0.

  • Bo

    This was a throw away post by RAB and most people think that Cashman is in active discussions to trade for him.

    Trading with Bowden is a joke.

    The first guy he’d ask for is Chamberlain. Second Hughes.

    Do we have any bad seeds we could give him? Bowden loves the bad seed. Dukes, Milledge, Dmitri. We have to have a head case somwhere right?

    • http://yankeesmtom.blogspot.com/ Steven

      JB Cox it is.

  • eric from morrisania

    Firstly, let’s assume that Johnson is healthy enough to play by opening day, which is the conditional on which everything else is founded (if the Nats didn’t have two healthy first basemen, they wouldn’t consider trading one…)

    If I’m Brian Cashman, I’m not calling Jim Bowden and asking for Nick Johnson. I’m asking for Dmitri Young.

    Nick Johnson is a better hitter, a better lefty hitter, a better defensive first baseman, and five years younger. Everything about the two players says that if you have both, you want Nick Johnson… which is precisely why I’d want Young. We don’t need a stud at first base, just someone who will outperform the Giambi/Damon/Matsui/Duncan/Betemit/Miranda group of has-beens and never-weres, and considering that our lineup is heavy with lefty hitters, adding Nick’s lefty bat actually makes our lineup considerably more unbalanced than it already is.

    Dmitri has the advantage of being a) a switchhitter and b) costing considerably less in prospects than Nick would. If I’m Brian Cashman and Jim Bowden asks for Ian Kennedy for Nick Johnson, I’d ask what it would cost to take Young instead.

  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    I hated the trade that sacrificed Nick and Juan Rivera for the very overrated Vasquez (64-68 lifetime when the Yankees aquired him).

    That said, I won’t touch Nick with a ten foot pole. If he was a fifth outfielder or a utiltiy infielder it would be one thing, but to depend on Nick is placing your hopes on one very leaky vessel. This guy is a magnet for injuries both large and small, he can injure himself putting pine tar on a bat. There was an article about Nick last summer in one of the Washington papers and the injury he suffered left in doubt his ability to ever be an effective major league player again.

    Why risk it, the payoff isn’t worth it. A black cloud hangs over Nick’s head. Let’s face it, the Yankees have seen the “Bad Moon Rising” much too frequently the last few years to take a chance.

    I like Nick, so it gives me no pleasure to give him a thumbs-down.