Nick Johnson Requests A Trade

Dave · February 12, 2009 at 5:30 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Mariner Fans Request Nick Johnson.

Link here – Johnson wants a shot to play regularly, which he won’t get in Washington now that they’ve signed Dunn to play first base.

Seriously, he’s perfect for the Mariners. Perfect. Yes, he has injury problems – those are obviously well documented. But the M’s aren’t a team that need a low ceiling, low risk player to fill out the roster and give them line-up stability. The M’s are in a position where a healthy Johnson could transform the line-up, but an injured Johnson wouldn’t be a big deal.

He projects out as something like a +3.5 to +4.5 win player over a full season. If he gets 600 PAs, he’d be about as valuable as Ichiro, Beltre, or Felix. That’s the kind of upside he brings.

Now, the odds of him getting 600 PA are extremely slim. He’s only done it once in his career, and he hasn’t really played for two years now. So, obviously, the playing time projection has to be pretty conservative. So maybe Johnson will only be worth +1.5 to +2 wins while playing half a season – that’s okay too.

The M’s have a large group of players on the roster they want to give at-bats too. With his health problems, you can be sure that he’s going to leave PAs available for Clement, Branyan, Balentien, Shelton, etc… This isn’t the kind of acquisition where you’re having to displace someone who you want to give a shot to. Adding Johnson to the mix simply gives the team a boost when he’s healthy and lets them play the younger kids when he’s not.

Nick Johnson would be a better acquisition than Abreu, Dunn, Griffey, Anderson, or any other LH bat the M’s have been considering. We’ve loved your entire off-season so far, Jack – bring us Nick Johnson and we might just throw a parade.

Comments

31 Responses to “Nick Johnson Requests A Trade”

  1. mark s on February 12th, 2009 5:42 am

    Sweet! This is the trade I have been waiting for the last few weeks. I can think of one trade match: Washburn + some/all of the money difference.

    What would the FO have to give up in the trade?

  2. Dave on February 12th, 2009 5:47 am

    I don’t think Washington would be interested in Washburn. If the M’s had to move him to create the salary space for Johnson, it’d probably have to be a three way deal.

  3. mark s on February 12th, 2009 5:58 am

    Agreed. Moving Washburn before the season is wishful thinking on my part.

    It will be interesting to find out what the Nationals think Johnson is worth in a trade and how they perceive the move ability of Johnson’s 5+ million dollar contract in the current market place.

  4. Mustard on February 12th, 2009 6:26 am

    The Nationals have NO pitching though. As bad as Washy is, he could probably be slotted in that starting rotation and be considered an ace. I am all aboard the Johnson bus, even with his injury concerns. He wants to prove something…prove you are healthy and I would be happy with the production you give!

  5. matthew on February 12th, 2009 6:36 am

    Someone print out 100 copies of this and go down to Safeco and tape them over the spot Heilman’s photo briefly held…

  6. Dave on February 12th, 2009 6:41 am

    The Nationals have NO pitching though. As bad as Washy is, he could probably be slotted in that starting rotation and be considered an ace.

    John Lannan, Daniel Cabrera, Scott Olsen, and Shawn Hill are locks for their rotation. The #5 guy is likely Odalis Perez – a pitcher about as good as Washburn who signed a minor league deal to return to Washington. Toss in young kids Colin Balester and Jordan Zimmerman, and they even have some depth.

    You can’t argue that the Nationals should displace any of those five to employ Washburn. Just because you’ve never heard of them doesn’t mean that Washburn is going to interest them.

  7. Tek Jansen on February 12th, 2009 6:55 am

    Do the M’s have any players who have played for the Reds or played in their farm system? Jim Bowden will acquire as many ex-Reds as possible. Hell, he even hired Rob Dibble as the Nats TV color guy. Yeesh.

  8. The Ancient Mariner on February 12th, 2009 7:24 am

    Maybe we could sign-and-trade Griffey. Bowden was happy to deal for him once, after all . . . :)

  9. bakomariner on February 12th, 2009 7:49 am

    Johnson would obviously be an upgrade at 1B…but he along with Swisher, Scott, and others out there would be upgrades…

    Not trying to be pessimistic, but even though I think Z has done a great job, I just don’t see another big trade…

    I’d be excited if any of these guys were to be had, but I think he’ll just sign Griffey today, and go to spring with what we have…

    Trades at the deadline though, I can definitely see happening…

  10. DMZ on February 12th, 2009 7:53 am

    Also, I’m a huge Nick Johnson fan.

  11. bakomariner on February 12th, 2009 8:00 am

    1) How many years of club control would we have over Johnson?

    2) What do the Nats need, or what would we have to give up to obtain him?

    3) Do they want ML ready talent (Morse, WLAD, Yuni) or would they want prospects?

    4) Do they have any bad contracts that would make sense for both teams in a swap for The Bus, The Chef, or Doc?

    Just trying to see if this thing is doable…

  12. DMZ on February 12th, 2009 8:00 am

    Morse and Wlad count as ML-ready talent?

  13. bakomariner on February 12th, 2009 8:02 am

    Derek-

    No, they shouldn’t, but they are out of options and OTHER teams might consider them ready…

    I want them both out of here for whatever we can get for them…

  14. kennyb on February 12th, 2009 8:31 am

    If Jack could get Johnson and $$ for a couple of minor league players I think he would do it. But most likely, we will have Jr. for 2-3 mil. instead.
    No way the M’s go over salary for Johnson if they wouldn’t do it for Abreu.

  15. G-Man on February 12th, 2009 9:03 am

    Nick is due 5.5 million this year, and he’s a free agent after that.

    I like him myself, but it’s hard for me to see the M’s working something out at this late stage.

  16. philosofool on February 12th, 2009 10:06 am

    Nick is due 5.5 million this year, and he’s a free agent after that.
    I like him myself, but it’s hard for me to see the M’s working something out at this late stage.

    This really makes me wonder if Johnson is worth it. We’re probably 3-4 wins away from AL West contention, which promises to be a tight contest between four teams that won’t be in a pennant race. But as Dave points out in the post, Johnson is a 3+ win player with about 600PA, which he quite simply won’t do.

    There’s a point at which I wonder whether Z should look at Lincoln and Armstrong and say “I don’t think there’s much we can do with the remainder of the budget this offseason. Can we put this money in the bank?”

  17. Mere Tantalisers on February 12th, 2009 10:15 am

    Hey, we should trade some of our toolsy outfielders to the Nats!

    But seriously folks… I have zero hope this will happen.

  18. coasty141 on February 12th, 2009 10:24 am

    So Nick Johnson’s likely in ability to stay healthy is a positive thing? Weird-o-rama

  19. Trev on February 12th, 2009 11:36 am

    Johnson > Swisher?

  20. CMC_Stags on February 12th, 2009 11:36 am

    Do the M’s have any players who have played for the Reds or played in their farm system? Jim Bowden will acquire as many ex-Reds as possible. Hell, he even hired Rob Dibble as the Nats TV color guy. Yeesh.

    Not that I know of, but maybe they can do a three way deal involving the Reds.

    Give the Reds crappy players that Bavasi likes to much so that the Reds can give the Nationals crappy players that Bowden likes too much so that we can get Nick Johnson.

  21. decatur7 on February 12th, 2009 12:03 pm

    I would think that signing Griffey would torpedo any hopes we might entertain of GMZ trading for Johnson (or any bat, say Swisher or Luke Scott) before the season starts. Unless the owners raise their target payroll, it seems that, if we sign Griffey, we’ll have only a couple million to spare for a new acquisitions salary. I hope I’m wrong though.

  22. NorthofWrigleyField on February 12th, 2009 2:03 pm

    This would be a great move for the Mariners and for their general manager to pull off, especially if it sends Washburn to a club that will pay a large chunk of his salary and might actually need him.

    I don’t begrudge the intelligencia of USS Mariner from wanting Nick the Stick… however, is there anything other than wishful thinking associating a Johnson move to the Mariners? Do we have any idea whether there is actual interest in making a commitment to a player like Johnson as a lefty 1b/dh? Seems to me like they’ll just stick with Clement/Branyan/Griffey there.

    Just to rosterbate a little more… anybody else thinking Washburn to the Dodgers? They just threw money at Randy Wolf and they’re still short starting pitching. He probably would pitch pretty well in that part as a fourth starter, and the Dodgers could send prospects the Nats’ way to land the Mariners Johnson, while absorbing much of Washburn’s salary.

    The Mariners probably can’t wait on a market to develop for Washburn to make a move on Johnson. The longer they wait, the more unlikely it is to happen. Either he’ll prove fragile again, and they would have been right not to pursue him. Or he’ll actually be the player the Mariners would like to acquire, and by then his price will be much too steep, and they’ll probably get outbid by other teams anyway. If it’s going to happen, it has to be pre-ST.

    I don’t think Washburn necessarily has to be a factor in picking up Johnson… but then I don’t think like most baseball teams.

  23. Bodhizefa on February 12th, 2009 3:05 pm

    Dave, I support your ideas approximately 99.9% of the time and genuinely think you’re an exceptionally smart guy, so it comes with great respect when I say I think the notion of trading for Nick Johnson is a bit silly.

    In the hopes of somehow pulling 400-500 at bats out of a guy who is more hopelessly injury plagued than Junior, what do we really accomplish? Winning one or two more games (IF Johnson magically stays healthy) and perhaps garnering a worse draft pick? Really? If that’s your idea of a solution, I think you’ve got your priorities a little bent out of shape. Griffey is the heart of Seattle baseball, and in a year where we are certainly very very unlikely to be competitive (even in a crappy division), there is absolutely no need to try to squeak an extra win or two out of the M’s by hiring the most injury prone positional player in the entirety of baseball. Nostalgia has its place in baseball, and for once, I think it’s time for the numbers to take a back seat and show Ken Griffey, Jr. some well-earned respect and admiration. Plus, this probably assures us he goes to the Hall in an M’s uniform — something I’d be extremely proud of as an M’s fan.

    Nick Johnson? He’s an injury beleaguered joke. Try him some other year when we could really have a solid shot at contending. But 2009 is the year of Griffey Jr. coming back home.

  24. DMZ on February 12th, 2009 3:45 pm

    But 2009 is the year of Griffey Jr. coming back home.

    ooooooooooooooooooooooh boy

  25. mark s on February 12th, 2009 5:53 pm

    2009 is the year of Griffey Jr. coming back home.

    I thought 2009 would be the return of watchable baseball in Seattle.

  26. Bodhizefa on February 12th, 2009 6:46 pm

    I thought 2009 would be the return of watchable baseball in Seattle.

    I’ve heard vicious rumors of this thing called multitasking. Seems like Zduriencik can accomplish a bunch of things all at once, no? Our team should be better than last year’s, and I think that after Bavasi’s reign of absolute fiscal irresponsibility, it’s a little too much to ask to really want a good product the very next year. Nick Johnson is a fool’s errand, in my estimation.

  27. Bodhizefa on February 12th, 2009 7:00 pm

    ooooooooooooooooooooooh boy

    Say whatever you will (if you knew me, you’d think it was hilarious that I was siding with the sentimentalists here as I’m pretty severely stat-inclined), but Griffey means more to me and a lot of other people who follow the Mariners than any other player who has ever played the game. I think the effort of trying to win an extra game or two in lieu of giving Junior his encore here is as irresponsible as you and Dave seem to think the opposite.

    If Zduriencik goes out and trades for Nick Swisher, I will be happy as there is something there to build on with a relatively stable and quantifiable projection. But Nick Johnson? Seriously? You guys are asking an awful leap of faith for a crowd base to get behind a guy whose ability to stay healthy is the reason a moniker like Mr. Glass exists in our language. Johnson may stay healthy and help us win an extra game or two (or three if he stays really healthy). Or, in a much much more likely scenario, he misses most of the year, and we don’t get a boost of goodwill from the city, we don’t get an attendance boost in the stands, and Zduriencik loses some credibility with the front office.

    This is why I think a GM like Zduriencik was selected over guys such as Antonetti or others — he works the masses just as well as he works the stat guys. Frankly, the Griffey decision at this stage of his career isn’t something that should be left up to statistician in us, but rather it’s something that should be left up to the little kid in us instead. That, to me, is just as much a part of what baseball is about as it is the numbers and the extra win or two.

  28. joser on February 12th, 2009 7:39 pm

    This is why I think a GM like Zduriencik was selected over guys such as Antonetti or others — he works the masses just as well as he works the stat guys.

    Except one of the PI bloggers quoted Zduriencik as saying he wanted to “take the emotion out of signings.”

    There are a lot of people for whom the Mariners begin with Ichiro, for whom Griffey is — as he was for Ryan Rowland-Smith and his friends — just that guy with the big head on the Simpson’s — and those people are just as much fans as anybody who can remember Griffey. For that matter, there are people like me who grew up with Julio Cruz as my favorite Mariner and for whom the 90s “glory years” of Arod and Griffey and RJ were just background noise while we were getting on with other parts of our lives until we had time to get back into it. For us, making the M’s better today and into the future counts for a lot more than some kind of sentimental pyrrhic victory lap.

    But whatever happens, whoever gets signed — Griffey or Johnson or nobody — I hope the team stays healthy and put up unexpectedly crazy-great numbers.

  29. DMZ on February 12th, 2009 8:10 pm

    I think the effort of trying to win an extra game or two in lieu of giving Junior his encore here is as irresponsible as you and Dave seem to think the opposite.

    I don’t think that’s a good summary of what we think, but I want to focus on something else there– you’re saying that you’re willing to take an extra loss or two in order to have Griffey here.

    What if it’s three, or four? In your previous comment you base much of this on a belief that the team’s not competitive anyway. What if they are? What if the M’s are even with Oakland at the break, and Griffey’s not playing particularly well. Is the second half of his encore worth a chance at the playoffs?

    And what if the team ends up missing the playoffs by one or two games you willingly surrendered at the start in order to see Griffey in Seattle again? Is that worth it?

    I don’t understand here why being competitive isn’t a worthy goal, and why taking a chance on one potentially productive, injury-prone player that might help the team is awesome, while taking a chance on another is a silly idea worth mocking. If competitiveness is not the goal, then why does it matter if we sign Nick Johnson? I’m sentimentally attached to him — can’t I get my year of a favorite player in a Mariners uniform as well?

    And given the injury histories of Griffey and Nick Johnson, it’s strange that you’re so focused on how fragile Johnson is while supporting a Griffey signing. I don’t quite understand why one is so easily derided and dismissed as injury-prone and brittle while the other isn’t.

  30. tmac9311 on February 12th, 2009 9:53 pm

    i understand that Washburn would block a young pitcher, but what are the chances Washburn/Perez is willing to be bullpen pitcher? How much value does Johnson really have in DC? The fans probably aren’t to high on him for only playing 30 games a year, and with Dunn and even Dmitri Young, Johnson really serves no purpose at Washington other than a defensive sub/pitch hitter. A sub for a middle reliever and $$ to even the salaries doesn’t sound too awful to me, but I’m a novice stat junkie so you guys can evaluate this situation better than me.

  31. Bodhizefa on February 12th, 2009 10:25 pm

    Derek, I’m all for being competitive. If we’re even remotely close at the break, make the moves and make it happen I say. I think Dave gave a percentage of something like 9% for us to finish over 85 wins. And yes, anything can happen. But for us to aim at attempting to ride out that small percentage chance of somehow making the playoffs over bringing back Griffey seems a little farfetched to me. Winning a crappy division is fine and all, but it’s not the World Series. And I assure you that when Billy Beane said that anyone has a chance in the playoffs, he wasn’t talking about a pythagorean 80-win squad.

    I want us to win. I hope that’s something you understand. I just think we lose more fans than we win when Nick Johnson gets hurt and we don’t come close to a pennant again. The odds on that are FAR greater than the odds of the M’s winning some fans back and enjoying a nice last hurrah for our city’s hero. I’m taking the easy bet here and enjoying a nice mediocre season with some Griffey nostalgia mixed in with an excellent draft and series of trades by Zduriencik. Winning a pennant/World Series? Let’s save that discussion for mid-season when we can reassess the roster and figure out what to do with it then. For now, Griffey’s the best answer for the team looking to reinvigorate its general fan base.

    We haven’t really talked about the option of acquiring Nick Johnson in addition to Griffey, though. I’d be all for that if the money would work out (though I doubt it would).

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