THURSDAY, 10:00am: The Giants have no interest in Johnson, according to Henry Schulman.
WEDNEDAY, 3:11pm: As expected, Johnson was designated for assignment today.
11:14am: Susan Slusser believes first baseman Dan Johnson’s Oakland career might be over, as the A’s need a roster spot for rookie starter Greg Smith. Speculation is that Billy Beane could try to trade him to the Giants, where he’d be free to play regularly and bat in the middle of the order.
Johnson, 28, has a .249/.344/.419 career line in 318 games. He was a late bloomer, earning a September call-up in ’04 as a 25 year-old. He didn’t appear in any big league games because of vertigo, though. Yes, vertigo. Baseball America’s 2005 handbook had Johnson sixth among A’s prospects, between Joe Blanton and Huston Street.
Johnson got the call in May of ’05 when DH Erubiel Durazo hit the DL. His rookie season resulted in a solid .806 OPS. He didn’t snag any ROY votes, but Street won it while Nick Swisher and Blanton received votes. It was downhill from there for Johnson.
When the A’s signed Frank Thomas in the offseason, Johnson became the everyday first baseman. He was lousy in every month aside from June, and even started the season 0 for 27. He was demoted to Triple A in July and came back in September. Double vision was later cited as a factor in the poor season.
The Shannon Stewart acquisition before the ’07 season pushed Johnson into a bench role. He then tore hip cartilage in March, missing most of April. He had a very strong May but was otherwise unimpressive.
Johnson lost 15 pounds this past offseason due to an illness, and then the Mike Sweeney acquisition pretty much ended his time in Oakland. A trade to San Francisco might represent his last shot at lasting as a big league regular.