So- rumors have it that Washington “Natinal” first basemen, Nick Johnson is being shopped around like he’s the panacea for the common cold.
It’s been said that in recent days, the Red Sox have rejected an offer that was said to give them Johnson, in exchange for reliever, Manny Delcarmen. Delcarmen would be a great fit for a Nats team that has been the victim of their bullpen getting beaten around like a speed bag, and with the Sox having an influx of arms in their ‘pen it makes sense.
But I think in the end two things broke the deal for the Red Sox:
1) Trading for Johnson would begin the process of phasing David Ortiz out. Something that based on their reluctancy to move Ortiz from the #3 position in the lineup, is something they’re not willing to do.
2) Johnson’s propensity of getting injured CONSTANTLY creates a situation where to get Nick Johnson, the team is going to have to overpay with one of their best arms.
Another heavy rumor comes out of Mets camp, which says the Mets would be interested in Johnson. Johnson would be the perfect candidate to replace Delgado while he’s away for up to 10-weeks after hip surgery. But there’s a couple problems for the Mets.
1) Delgado is expected back by August. When he comes back, what do you do with Johnson then (if he is even still healthy)? You’d be stuck with the problem of trying to get Delgado at-bats to get him back to form, but also with playing Johnson and his notoriously great hitting abilities.
2) The Mets farm system is still attempting to recover from the trade that landed them Johan Santana in the winter before the 2008 season.
Perhaps the Mets would consider dealing someone like Bobby Parnell, who has been a stud for their bullpen thus far this season. But if the Mets did that, they would have to consider their bullpen whoas of the past two seasons before getting rid of any part of their bullpen, which this season has been a real strong spot for them.
As of right now it is difficult to establish who else would find themselves in the Nick Johnson race, but it is important to note that VERY FEW good teams are without a very solid first basemen. If you think about it almost all the best teams in the league come with a first basemen who can straight up mash. In the American League, if you’re a good team- you have a DH who is very capable of hitting also. So the potential suitors for Mr. Johnson are very few in numbers.
But of the few teams who MIGHT be in the running for one as the season continues on, here are a handful of teams.
The Blue Jays- The Jays still roll out Lyle Overbay at first base most nights, but if you’re still in the running for a playoff spot as the summer goes later on, Nick Johnson is the type of small addition you can make to help a team dramatically. That being said, the Jays are very unlikely to do it since any move that takes away young talent from them, is going in the wrong direction of their ‘big picture’.
The Angles- Once Vlad comes back from injury, I assume the Angels will have him DH’ing most nights. With that being said I don’t think it’s out of the question to move Kendry Moralis back into the outfield to open up a spot for Nick Johnson. But on the other hand, the Angels are already in a logjam in the outfield with Abreu, Hunter and either Juan Rivera or Gary Matthews Jr. roaming the green grass of Angels Stadium. So once again, the price would have to be perfect for the Angels, and even then- it’s an unlikely match.
The Giants- of all the teams I look at, the Giants might be the only ones that make sense outside of the Red Sox and Mets, and maybe even more so than both. The Giants, who hypotetically should be the only team that will be able to give the Dodgers a run in the NL West, are in desperate need of production at firstbase. Put it this way- Today (May 25th), the Giants got their first home run from a first basemen this season. The Travis Ishkawa experiment has not been going well, and if you were to trade for Nick Johnson, you’re lineup becomes just a little longer and a little better than it was before. The Giants, who seem to have Jonathan Sanchez dangling from a string for the past 2 season, should consider a move like this. And with the abundance of young arms their team has, it’s likely that risking the loss of a Jonathan Sanchez might be a roll of the dice worth taking.
Either way, Nick Johnson’s batting average seems to still be lingering in the .330, and it will be best for him to keep it up that high. If he can, he most likely will find himself playing baseball on a team that’s contending comes the end of the summer.