Friday, February 13, 2009

The Tao's Wandering Eye: Nick Johnson

With the Nationals' recent signing of some dude who doesn't even like baseball, they are left with a veritable cornucopia of 1B/OF/DH types. And seeing as how they are still stuck in the National League, they're not going to be able to get them all into the lineup on a regular basis.

Chances are that someone out of that mix is going to get moved, and if we had our druthers, the Jays would take a run at oft-injured first baseman Nick Johnson.

Sure, Johnson's missed a ton of games over his career due to a series of injuries. But when he's been healthy and when he's played, he's put up the sort of offensive numbers that would make the Jays' current lineup blush.

Johnson sports a .396 on base percentage and an .852 OPS over his eight-year career with the Yankees, Expos and Nationals. With the exception of Scott Rolen (whose glory days are behind him), nobody on the Jays' current roster even comes close to those numbers. Not Wells (.332, .812), not Rios (.338, .793), and certainly not Overbay (.362, .809).

In his last fully healthy season in 2006, Johnson posted a .948 OPS with 46 doubles, 23 homers and 110 walks in 500 ABs for the Nats.

Of course, 2006 is a long time ago, and Johnson missed most of last season with a wrist tendon injury, so there's an obvious question as to how many left-handed hitting first basemen with gimpy appendages you need on one roster. At the same time, it's at least reasonable to expect that a healthy Johnson would put up better numbers in 2009 than Overbay, Adam Lind, Kevin Millar, José Bautista or even Travis Snider, and that the Nationals may be willing to part with him for less than his value.

With a salary of just over $5 million for next season, Johnson would be affordable to the Jays provided they were able to send some salary back in the other direction. And even if the numbers don't necessarily add up, how can you put a price on adding a guy to your roster who is the spitting image of Pvt. Pyle from Full Metal Jacket?

13 comments:

eyebleaf said...

Scott Rolen (whose glory days are behind him)...

That smarts.

Tao of Stieb said...

We want Rolen to be the greatest Blue Jay of all time...but he's not going to put up a .900+ OPS next season.

And if he does, then we'll be happy to be wrong.

Stan the Caddy said...

I like this idea, but JP may not - won't that move make our line up 'too left-handed?' I'm still trying to figure that one out.

Tao of Stieb said...

Johnson hits lefties as well as he hits righties. (More or less.)

Colin said...

Who do you trade, Bautista? Do the Nats want him? Is anyone else who doesn't make peanuts expendable? Otherwise, if the Jays had 5 million available you would have thought that they would have taken a run at Abreu, assuming he'd be willing to come to Toronto.

Tao of Stieb said...

Ok, fine. So there's a flaw in our plan.

We suppose that next you're going to tell us that our three-way fantasies involving Christina Hendricks from Mad Men and Eva Green are totally implausible as well.

Lloyd the Barber said...

I think a 3 way with CH wouldn't work because her assets would overfill any bed/sectional rug you could find. But I quibble.

dave said...

You're a tease, Tao.

Tao of Stieb said...

Sectional rug...hmm...

eyebleaf said...

I'll be honest, I cried myself to sleep knowing the Angels got Abreu for $5 million. Fuck you, global economic crisis.

Chris said...

eyebleaf, I think it's adorable that you think the Jays doing nothing this off-season has everything to do with the global economy.

If they really wanted to spend $5 mil to get a half-decent free agent, they could have found a way to make it happen.

The Southpaw said...

In theory, you might trade Frasor and Tallet and mitigate the cost.

He'd HAVE to DH...

But I've always loved Nick the Stick so I would be cool with it.

On a lesser note, another guy who is kind of squeezed out is Wily Mo Pena. Our Hydra pitching coach might figure him out and he makes only $2 million. If you could get HIM for Frasor (and some throw in) your payroll would only go up about a half million.

He ain't Nick Johnson but he might be a high reward guy too.

Anonymous said...

`He's never healthy and the Jays don't have 5 cents let alone 5 mill to pay him. To even bring Johnson up is a pipe dream. Anyway, the Jays need a pitcher rather than a hitter at this point.