The Return of Nick Johnson is not official yet, but it looks like the former Yankees 1B will resign with the Yankees as DH for 1-year contract for $5.5 million dollars. Nick Johnson played with the Washington Nationals last year before being traded to the Florida Marlins. Marlins fans were amazed that Nick Johnson had an on base percentage of .477 over 35 games with them- he’s a Walk King, which is integral in scoring runs.
Nick Johnson was a highly touted prospect for the Yankees, and had torrid stats in 1998 to 2000 in the minor leagues. He is also Larry Bowa’s nephew, and Lee Mazilli – his minor league manager- sold everyone on Nick Johnson becoming the next big 1st baseman in baseball like only someone from Brooklyn can promote!
Nick Johnson was finally called up in 2001 at age 22 and he steadily improved each of his 3 years with the Yanks, but it wasn’t fast enough. Unfortunately even by then he was known to be INJURY PRONE. When the Yanks signed Jason Giambi in 2002, that showed that George Steinbrenner had no patience with letting Nick Johnson grow and be the successor to Tino Martinez. GM Brian Cashman made one of the worst trades in Yankees history by trading Nick Johnson and Juan Rivera (of Angels fame) to the Montreal Expos for Javier Vazquez, who was not mentally ready for New York and was known for surrendering many LONG homeruns. Indeed, “Homer Javy” was one of the reasons why the Yankees as a dynasty had jumped the shark during this era. Yup, him and Jeff Weaver made such a great combo right? How about broken down Kevin Brown or the El Duque reject Jose Contreras? Bring back any good memories?
Anyway, Nick Johnson – although he gets injured all the time- is still a fan favorite for the Internet stats-head crowd because when he does play, he gets on base and gets doubles, while batting around .275. He lost all of his power since he missed all of the 2007 with a broken femur. You have to figure that he can hit more than 10 homeruns at New Yankee Stadium, however. Yet it’s still a big IF if Big Nick can stay healthy. He doesn’t look like an athlete, that’s for sure.
At this point in his career, Nick will never put up Tino Martinez numbers and will never morph into Jason Giambi in his prime. The question of course is why would Cashman give Nick Johnson $5.5 million for 1 year and not Hideki Matsui 1 year for $6 million? Sounds very LaME to me, especially since Nick can’t field either- he is a full time DH now, since his defensive stats at 1B are Giambi-class.
Of course I would rather have Godzilla since he’s more clutch, but I’ll take Nick Johnson as a replacement if this deal does indeed go through.
The big discussion in New York is actually about the status of Johnny Damon if the Nick Johnson deal goes down. Right now, the Yankees outfield looks like Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner, and Jamie Hoffman (as a Rule V draft pick, Hoffman must make the 25-man roster or be released, at least that’s what OOTP rules say). If Nick Johnson becomes the DH (and is healthy) you have to figure Jorge Posada will be sharing some DH time with Nick, and maybe even A-Rod if they continue to rest his hip once a week. So where does Damon play? I still believe that Melky and Gardner may go bye-bye if Cashman resigns Damon, as trade bait for a 5th starter.
If Damon goes bye-bye, let’s take a look at this Snapshot Joe 2010 Yankees lineup in December 18, 2009:
I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a great lineup, guaranteed to tire out opposing starting pitchers.
I also think CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, A.J. Burnett, Joba Chamberlain, and Phil Hughes is a great rotation, but I’m pretty sure Cashman doesn’t trust the two kids all year in the rotation and would limit their innings anyway.
2000 Bowman’s Best # 135 Nick Johnson New York Yankees Baseball Card – Mint Condition – Shipped In Protective ScrewDown Display Case!
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