Washington’s tempting target

Setting the tone for the 2008 season
What Pettitte said

I’m sure this is something of a pipe dream for Yankee fans dismayed at the black hole around first base but Nick Johnson is feeling good and looking good early on in the Nationals’ camp. The Nationals have two first basemen — Johnson and Dmitri Young — and will, if both are healthy, look to trade one before camp breaks. The Yanks are definitely keeping an eye on their former farm hand and OBP machine.

Setting the tone for the 2008 season
What Pettitte said
  • Dan

    Ive been obsessing about the possibility of having Johnson back in pinstripes. Going through all of the trade possibilities, how would a package of Jeff Marquez, Brett Gardner and an A-Ball PTBNL sound? Marquez has the potential to be a solid major league starter, but is currently one of many potential future Yankees pitchers.

  • http://www.samiamsports.blogspot.com samiamsports

    sounds great and all but who would we trade?? plus, we have a beavy of first baseman candidates. Giambi, Shelley, betemite, ensberg, lane, . what would we do with all those guys

    • TurnTwo

      i actually think the fact that we have so many players right now who could play 1B is a bonus on top of acquiring Nick Johnson.

      you have to realize the upside of having him in the lineup is tremendous, but he’s also injured a lot.

      you can afford to make this move because of all those players above are readily available should Johnson go down for a short or longer period of time… you are covered with a bunch of suitable options, whether that includes Duncan, Betemit, or Ensberg.

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

    Johnson for Igawa. It makes sense for both parties.

    • steve (different one)

      well, except for the nationals.

  • http://www.samiamsports.blogspot.com samiamsports

    if we could get nick for igawa i would carry igawa myself to washington

  • Ivan

    I always liked Nick Johnson.

    Good fielder, OBP% machine when he’s on and when he’s healthy can be very productive player.

    If he was healthy, he could of been the Yankees version of Kevin Youkolis.

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

      If Johnson stays healthy and gets 700 plate appearances, he’ll destroy Youkilis’ output. In Youk’s best year he has a 117 OPS+, Johnson’s OPS+ for his career is 125, and he doesn’t play in Fenway. Plus Nicky J. is one of the better defensive 1B in the game.

      • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

        I think that trade makes sense for both teams. Washington needs to acquire pitching of some kind and Igawa is both affordable and left handed. The Yankees may need to throw the Nats an additional bone of some kind to make sure they are getting some insurance, but a low level prospect of some kind could be reasonable.

        I’d float it out there. Hell, I’d float the idea of Igawa and Pavano for Johnson. I’d offer to pay half of Pavano’s salary too.

        • TurnTwo

          Pavano doesnt make sense in that he’s really, for all purposes, out until 2009 really.

          The Gnats, I would imagine, would want a pitcher like Marquez or Horne… someone who would be a cheap serviceable MLB-ready arm, but not necessarily ask for top tier talent. The Yankees have a ton of those types of pitchers, so trying to find the right match for both teams isnt out of the question at all.

          Igawa makes a ton of sense, too, but I dont see them biting.

          Something like McCutcheon plus a low level PTBNL type package should be enough, no?

          • Lanny

            And as we’ve seen the past few years you can never have enough starters. Even if hes the 8th starter he may need to make a few starts in the Bronx especially with the innings limits.

            I just dont see them trading a capable (har har) starter and a lefty to boot for a 1b especially if they think someone can handle the position.

  • Ivan

    Again the problem with Nick Johnson since his days with the Yanks is health.

    I always believe that Nick Johnson is healthy consistently, he could be (and he still relatively young) John Olerud. The guy can field, his OBP% are solid.

    I would love for the yanks to bring Nick Johnson back on the team.

  • Ivan


    Check out the year 06 he had with Wash when he was healthy.

  • Kevin

    OPB = OBP or OPS?

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

      OBP. Just a typo. Corrected.

  • http://www.samiamsports.blogspot.com samiamsports

    not gonna lie thats an impresive line. look at the doubles

  • Ivan

    One more thing,

    You guys have the best blog in concern with everything that deals with the yankees.

  • Steve S

    Unless the deal makes perfect sense I just avoid it. You have enough offense on this team and there is a possibility that Mark Texeira will be there next year. Bowden seems to be asking a lot for anyone so I just dont think its a reality.

  • mike

    i don’t consider that we in fact have a black hole at first base. i think we have several attractive options there already. if nick wasn’t a former yank, i don’t think anybody would be so hot for him

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

      We have several options. I consider none of them to be all that attractive.

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

        I like Ensberg as a 1B option.

        Figure if they get Nick to play 1b full-time, you’re looking at a bench of Betemit, Molina, Ensberg, and the whoever sits between Matsui/Giambi/Damon (assuming a 12 man pitching staff). As long as Betemit and Ensberg can learn to play a passable corner OF (Betemit did it briefly in LA), that’s a rock solid bench.

      • TurnTwo

        agreed. each of these players that are being considered are transplants… players who might be able to fill in offensively, and you hope can transition to play defensively.

        nick johnson is a true 1B.

  • YankCrank20

    i would LOVE nick johnson as a yankee again. i don’t even think health is a concern to the yankees because if he gets hurt, we finally have a good backup plan with shelley and betemit being able top fill in and give adequate production. if he doesn’t get hurt, than we have an obp machine with a great glove that we have missed since 2003 when we had that in…nick johnson

  • YankCrank20

    i dont like the idea of signing texiera long term. i say we invest money in a k-rod or joe nathan for the bullpen, and let jesus montero develop into a monster 1b.

  • Lanny

    Igawa for Johnson actually makes sense but thats only if the Yanks feel Duncan/Betemit/Ensberg cant play 1b.

    I dont see them giving up their 6th starter for a 1b.

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

      At best, Igawa is the team’s 7th starter and even that assessment is pushing it a bit.

      • TurnTwo

        yeah… just go down the list.

        Wang, Pettitte, Moose, Hughes, IPK, Joba… there is 6, taking into considetation the current plan of transitioning Joba into the rotation at some point this season.

        then I would put Karstens, Rasner, White, Horne, Marquez, and maybe even Humberto Sanchez at this point all at least on an equal level to Igawa, if not each in their own way above Igawa on the depth chart. Igawa may be a top 10 starter, but top 6? no chance.

  • http://www.samiamsports.blogspot.com samiamsports

    Attention Ben and Lanny, Igawa isnt considered a starter. He Just Sucks. If you could get a bag of balls for him you push for it

  • mustang

    Nick Johnson is making 5 million this year and Brain” Dollar Bill” Cashman is not going to add that to the Yanks strapped budget. Plus Brain” Dollar Bill” Cashman will not give up any of our prized young prospects for anyone in baseball. Not when can have Ensberg play 1st until the future gets here.
    “The 2008 Yankees Built for the future”

    • dan

      not sure where that nickname comes from, but I doubt any general managers in the major leagues would be opposed to adding a very good, cheap player to fill a position of need.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      Who are you, George King?

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I don’t understand why Ensberg is at first. Doesn’t Betemit/Duncan make more sense? I’d love to see Nick back on the Yankees but I don’t think there is room for him or his salary.

    We still need relievers.

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

      We have plenty of relievers. Just because they aren’t big names doesn’t mean they can’t be effective.

  • mustang

    Oh… We need a 3rd basement ? I thought some guy name A-Rod was playing there.. i must be wrong

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

      What are you talking about?

    • Jon

      Figures, most teams only have one basement. Maybe two if you count the ones in both their regular stadium and spring training stadium. Leave it to these spoiled Yankee fans to want 3 basements…

  • http://www.samiamsports.blogspot.com samiamsports

    Im lost…

  • mustang

    Thank you, Thank you…. LiveFromNewYork… someone speak the truth. How about actually trading for lefthanded reliever that can throw strikes. But be careful Brain” Dollar Bill” Cashman we might have to actually give up someone for it.

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

      It’s not worth having a lefthanded reliever just for the sake of having a lefthanded reliever. If one of Traber, Henn, Wright or Phillips doesn’t work out, then fine, give me another righty. Edwar’s changeup is good enough to battle lefties.

      They aren’t asking Ensberg to move from first base to third, they’re asking him to do the opposite, which is an easier transition. If the Yanks fail to make the playoffs, it won’t be because of their lack of a 1B, or their lack of a LOOGY.

      And it’s Brian, not Brain.

  • mustang

    dan says:
    February 18th, 2008 at 4:17 pm (Reply)
    not sure where that nickname comes from, but I doubt any general managers in the major leagues would be opposed to adding a very good, cheap player to fill a position of need.
    Ensberg has played 3rd most of his career.

    • dan

      I still don’t see your point. You didn’t argue, you just stated an irrelevant fact.

  • r.w.g.

    A healthy Nick Johnson would be a tremendous addition. Clearly he’s produced when healthy.. I think it’s also fair to say he has under-achieved at times.

    He’s far more disciplined than Ensberg, Duncan, or Betemit, and has more consistent power. Ensberg has not been the pinnacle of health either the past 2 or 3 seasons.

    That said.. I’m not sure how healthy he is. That was a pretty ridiculous injury he suffered and he hasn’t played since 2006. That article this post links to said that he hasn’t tried more strenuous activities yet such as baserunning or sliding. Those are pretty significant portions of the game for a guy who hits a lot of doubles and gets on base a ton.

    I don’t know if the Nationals would want Kei Igawa. He’d probably do better in the NL, and he does make the numbers match up better.. but teams like Washington aren’t usually interested in matching numbers, and Igawa still has a lot of work to do to convince people he’s a major league pitcher.

  • Jon

    #1 – Igawa is not being given away for free. We had that chance last year with SD (actually would have gotten a reliever or decent prospect) and we turned it down.

    #2 – If anyone is taking Pavano, we are paying 100% of his salary. I love how the guy above thought he was being generous by offering to pay half of it.

    #3 – I love Johnson, but we’re too left-handed as it is. If he were a RH batter, it would be a no-brainer, but this worries me.

    #4 – About him being injury-prone. The last injury was a complete fluke, and if it didn’t happen nobody would be saying anything.

    #5 – 1B/DH is the easiest position to upgrade at mid-season. I’m not totally opposed to getting Johnson but we really do not need him at this point. I can’t say I’d trade Horne for him. Knowing Bowden, he will ask for the world anyway.

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

      Johnson isn’t very injury prone either. Like you said, the leg was a fluke, and the back problems haven’t bugged him in years. He’s never had nagging hammy issues, or stuff like that.

      Carl Pavano is injury prone. Ken Griffey Jr. is injury prone. Nick Johnson is a slow healer more than anything.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      My only beef is with the left-handed comment. His splits are pretty even.

      • Jon

        Wow, he’s actually been better against LHP. Shame on me.

        Yeah, I’d like him. Still not sure what I’d want to give up. Igawa, Marquez, and $8M comes to mind.

  • Jeff

    I’d love to get NJ back. He has the ability to put up tough at bats. Might even be able to fill in if Abreau takes off after the season. Plus he won’t require the long term dealk like Tex (who would I doubt Cash would go for). This would be a great stop-gap for internal options (Like Jesus) that might prove themselves.
    I think the Nats would be looking to cut costs which Igawa really wouldn’t help with. The Pavano idea – ridiculous. I would guess it could get done for Marquez but I’m not sure we’d want to go that far seeing we’re depending on Mussina and the limit innings of our youngsters. I’d like to see Karsteins/Wright go (even together for that matter). Karsteins played well over the winter so maybe this would be attractive for both teams.
    In the end tough I don’t see Cash doing it just for the fact that he has already brought in guys for this spot and I’m sure he already had an idea that Nick would be back and available.

  • daneptizl

    How do you guys not realize that the Pavano thing was a joke. He had Tommy John, so therefore couldn’t pitch this year.

  • Rob_in_CT

    I’m sure the Yanks will explore a possible trade. But given the cheapo contract NJ has, the Nats are going to want some good prospects in return. With NJ’s injury history, that’s a dicey proposition.

  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    I’m suprised to see such positive reaction to the possivility of bringing Nick back. Let’s get our facts straight before we go overboard on aquiring Nick.

    I saw an opinion or two indicating Nick doesn’t get hurt that often, fact one, Nick gets hurt all the time. In his last 8 professional seasons Nick has missed two entire seasons. (2000 and 2007). Nick spent three plus weeks on the DL in 2002 and more than two months on the DL the following season. Nick missed large chunks of 2004 on the DL, in fact appearing in only 73 games. The following season, 2005 he missed over 30 games. As a matter of fact in eight seasons only two have been relatively injury free.

    Fact two, Nick missed an entire season (2000) with a broken thumb he got from checking his swing. Nick could get hurt putting pine tar on his bat.

    Fact three, Nick’s leg was very badly damaged and there was a piece in the Washington papers last summmer that called into question his ability to continue his career.

    Nick’s injury was career threatening, to conclude anything from a handful of workouts in early February is foolish, the question is this, how will he look after a 100 at bats playing the field in the cold damp early spring nights.

    I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole.