The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Bringing back Nick Johnson?

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Dec 16, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

UPDATE: I forgot to mention tomorrow’s chat, and that’s a good way to get my bosses mad at me. Hope I remember it tomorrow! Sam and I will be here chatting at noon on Thursday. Stop by. Ask a question. Or be like my loving mother and watch quietly, then call me to ask how in the world I’ve heard of all these baseball players. Now back to the post… 

Since half of the comments are about Nick Johnson anyway, we might as well cap the night with a quick post about the former Yankees first baseman and currently available designated hitter.

George King is reporting that the Yankees have talked to Johnson’s agent about bringing Johnson back to the Bronx.

“We have had dialogue, things are moving forward,” agent Rex Gary told King. “Something could happen to speed things up but it’s hard to predict.”

Indeed, very hard to predict.

The lure of Johnson is obvious. The guy has a .402 career on-base percentage, plus some left-handed power that could play well in the new Yankee Stadium. The negative is also obvious. Johnson has been injury prone throughout his career.

One problem I see is that I’m not sure signing Johnson would be especially different from signing Hideki Matsui, in that Johnson would also be limited to DH duty with the Yankees. Yes, he can play first base, but that doesn’t give the Yankees much flexibility. Mark Teixeira is going to be playing first almost every day anyway, and the Yankees can always play Nick Swisher at first on days Teixeira needs a day off.

Brian Cashman has said time and again that it’s easy to find a DH in this market, and the Yankees seem to prefer a DH who gives them some flexibility. Johnson would a nice fit in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, but I’m not sure he fits with what the Yankees seem to be doing this offseason. I don’t doubt the Yankees have talked to his agent, but it’s hard to know whether those talks are legitimate or if the agent is playing his part by playing up the negotiations.

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