Tag: Nick Johnson

MLB Hot Stove: Where Will the Top 10 Free Agents Still On the Market Land?

As the last dying embers of the Hot Stove flame begin to blacken and fade, let’s take one more look at who is still out there.

At this time of the year, free agents can often be had at a discount, hungry as players are to find a team and get down to the work of getting ready for the season to come. There are still a few potential impact players floating around, as well as many more who could prove to be valuable additions in the right place.

We’ll wade through the flotsam and jetsam and pick out those ten remaining diamonds in the rough, in this, our late January free agent reset.

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Bad News: Nick Johnson Feels Pain in Wrist

The other day, the Yankees got bad bullpen news when Alfredo Aceves suffered a setback. Today they get some more, as Nick Johnson felt pain in his wrist while taking batting practice. He is being sent back to New York for further tests; this could mean the end of his season.

Nick Johnson has clearly become an experiment gone bad. Some injuries were expected, but he’s barely contributed at all this season. He’s on a one-year $5.5 million deal with a mutual option that isn’t likely to get picked up after this season.

This increases the Yankees’ chances of making a trade for another bat. There was always hope that Johnson would eventually return, lessening the need for a DH, but with this news, the Yankees will probably make a trade or at least call somebody up from the minors.

If someone was called up, the most obvious person would be 1B Juan Miranda , but 1B/3B Jorge Vazquez could be an option, too . It’s not out of the realm that SS Eduardo Nunez could get called up, too.

Miranda makes sense, as he could fill in at DH on days Alex Rodriguez or Jorge Posada need half days off.

Vazquez could fill in at DH and also play some third base as well. The problem with calling him up is that he isn’t on the 40-man roster, but that could easily be adjusted.

After that, the Yankees would likely make a trade. Ty Wigginton is always a possibility and Jayson Werth could happen as well. There are quite a few other names that are possibilities. GM Brian Cashman has said that he would like a veteran who could occasionally spell A-Rod at third.

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New York Yankees DH Nick Johnson To Have Surgery: Ill-Concieved Move Leaves Void

Players often fail to live up to their reputations when thrust into the bright New York spotlight.


In this case, the Yankees got exactly what they paid for when they signed designated hitter Nick Johnson.


Ken Rosenthal, FOX Sports senior baseball writer, is reporting that the fragile Johnson will undergo right wrist surgery on Tuesday and won’t return to action until July.


The news should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed Johnson throughout his injury-riddled career.


Only once in Johnson’s 10-year career has he ever accumulated 500 at-bats in a single season. He’s played in 100 games just three times and hasn’t done so since 2006.


As I documented in the offseason , the acquisition of Johnson was a poor decision that was destined to go awry. Castoffs Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui signed for slightly more than Johnson and both obtained one-year pacts.


It’s mystifying why Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman was so eager to ink Johnson while slamming the door on two more proven, dependable performers. Cashman clearly wanted to avoid the histrionics of Scott Boras, Damon’s super-agent, but re-signing Matsui would have been far from a massive undertaking.


Although Johnson is about four years younger than Matsui, his health history should have been enough to nullify the age difference. Matsui was an iron man in Japan and carried that distinction through his first three seasons with the Yankees by playing every game.


Matsui, despite being slowed by knee problems in recent years, played 142 games last season and aided the Yankees to the championship while securing the World Series MVP award.


With Matsui and Damon elsewhere and Johnson occupying his familiar spot on the disabled list, the Yankees find themselves employing a revolving door at DH.


Marcus Thames is hitting a robust .414 against lefties, but is reduced to an ordinary .263 against right-handers. He’s ideally suited for a platoon role.


Francisco Cervelli continues to impress each time he’s inserted into the lineup to catch, but there are several drawbacks that prevent the Yankees from utilizing him as an everyday player.


Even though Cervelli is a defensive upgrade from regular Jorge Posada, Posada loves to catch and is reluctant to relinquish his full-time duties behind the dish. Since Posada is a member of the prestigious Core Four and an obvious leader in the clubhouse, it would be wise to keep the prideful veteran content.


Further, if Cervelli becomes the starting catcher and Posada is the DH, then the Yankees will need to carry a third catcher. In the event Cervelli was hurt during a game and the Yankees had to move Posada from DH to catcher, they would lose the DH for the remainder of the game and the pitcher’s spot would be inserted into the lineup with the roster as it’s presently constituted.


Of course, the ideal scenario to fill the DH void would have been promoting blue-chip prospect Jesus Montero from Triple-A, but he is not hitting at the astounding clip he did last year. The 20-year-old phenom needs more time to hone his craft in the minors.


As it stands right now, the Yankees will play Thames against lefties and Cervelli will catch more often than a typical backup would with Posada garnering appearances at DH to keep him fresh. Juan Miranda, if he hits, will have opportunities as well.


Joe Girardi may also opt to use the DH as a rotating resting place for regular position players such as Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher, and Mark Teixeira. Some will need the half-days off more than others.


Johnson, meanwhile, is cemented as an ill-advised addition.

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Rosenthal: Nick Johnson Will Have Surgery

This tweet comes from Ken Rosenthal :

“Sources: Yankees’ Nick Johnson to undergo surgery on right wrist Tuesday. Likely out until July.”

Here’s a little more from Ben Shpigel :

“This is not a quick fix,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “This is going to be a while.”


Johnson said he would have the surgery “probably tomorrow.” He has been told that he will need four to six weeks of rest before he can swing a bat again. Johnson elected to have surgery after an injection of anti-inflammatory medication did not help, and after he reported no improvement from the exercises and treatment he was doing with the training staff.

“I’d rather not keep waiting and take care of it,” Johnson said.

“We’ve done all the treatments we can do,” said Johnson…

This is obviously bad news for the Yankees, who now are without a DH for the next 6-8 weeks. Juan Miranda is probably not the long-term answer, although I’m sure the Yankees will see what they can get from him over the next few weeks when they face right-handed pitching. Expect to see a lot of Marcus Thames against lefties, and Randy Winn will also get some more at-bats while Johnson is out.

Like I’ve said a few times over the last few days, I’d like to see the Yankees give Jorge Posada a few more games at DH while Johnson is out. Mainly because it will give Francisco Cervelli more playing time. So that’s another option.


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No Returns: Yankees Stuck with Javier Vazquez, Nick Johnson

If Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman purchased Nick Johnson and Javier Vazquez at a department store, he would be frantically searching for his receipt right now. Sorry, no returns.


As the calendar turned to May, Vazquez continued to display the same ineptitude he showed in April as the right-hander was destroyed by a weak-hitting White Sox team Saturday afternoon. Vazquez allowed 11 base runners in three plus innings and five earned runs, including three home runs. His ERA on the season now stands higher than the Empire State Building at 9.78.


Clearly, Vazquez’s second tour of duty in New York is beginning to look like another wretched ordeal. He’s not locating his fastball, he’s hanging off-speed pitches, and his head is a mess.


There are five months left in the season, but the litany of failures Vazquez has previously suffered in the AL along with his visibly fragile temperament all suggest that this experiment is the same lost cause it was the first time around.


I’ll reiterate that my stance on Vazquez is not merely based on his disgraceful tenure in pinstripes. I cited a myriad of factors here over two months ago including his AL nightmares and his incompatibility with the dimensions of Yankee Stadium.

While many supported the move to reacquire him at the time, that bandwagon is looking awfully light now as exemplified by the boos that cascaded down on him upon his premature exit on Saturday in the new cathedral.


According to Michael Kay, Vazquez did a disappearing act for the media prior to Saturday’s game and that is as inexcusable as his performance thus far. If your play is terrible, you need to at least be accountable and if that is too much to ask in May then I don’t see how you can make it through September.  If your skin is thinner than Kate Moss, New York is an impossible place to play.


Vazquez’s next turn in the rotation is slated for Friday in Fenway Park and there has already been discussion over whether he will make that start since the Yankees can skip him due to their off day on Thursday. Although the Red Sox lineup is not as menacing as it once was, putting Vazquez in that chaotic environment would be like throwing him to the wolves.


On the last year of his contract, Vazquez will see his future play out elsewhere. The only question is how soon that will occur. Since Vazquez has a history of success in the NL, he may actually be movable despite his miserable start to 2010 if the Yankees are willing to eat a portion of his $11.5 million salary.


Brad Penny, John Smoltz, and Vicente Padilla all resurrected their careers to some extent last year after their respective defections to the NL (Penny continues to thrive in St. Louis this year and Padilla was the Dodgers’ opening day starter before landing on the disabled list).

Granted, the three above were unceremoniously released by their AL clubs, but Vazquez should be better than all of them at this stage of his career and proved as much last season in Atlanta.


Look for NL contenders to inquire about Vazquez prior to the trade deadline. Ironically, if the Mets are still in the mix in July, Vazquez would be a good fit for them in their gargantuan ballpark.


Johnson, meanwhile, was 0-1 in a pinch hitting appearance which dropped his average to an embarrassing .136. Johnson is buoyed by his .378 OBP, but that and his expiring contract are the only redeeming qualities about him at this point.


His predecessors, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, continue to excel in their new locales. Damon, who is on fire, hit a walk-off homer Saturday in Detroit and raised his average to .344, accompanied by a .439 OBP and slugging percentage of .511.

Incidentally, he’s also been lauded for contributing to the rapid development of former Yankee farmhand and the early AL Rookie of the Year favorite, Austin Jackson.


Curtis Granderson, the big name Detroit traded for Jackson among others , strained his groin running the bases Saturday and was immediately placed on the disabled list. Struggling while Jackson, Ian Kennedy, and Phil Coke contribute in Detroit and Arizona, Granderson has yet to find himself as a Yankee.


Lefties still give Granderson fits as he bats .172 against them in 2010 and just .215 with a .303 OBP overall.


In spite of his slow start, he’s a Yankee for the long haul and will be given every opportunity to succeed once he is healthy because, unlike Vazquez and Johnson, the Yankees have simply sacrificed too much for Granderson to allow him to flop.

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