You could hardly think of two more dissimilar players than Omar Vizquel and Nick Johnson, but Evan Brunell of The Hardball Times took a look at where these two free agents may end up playing in 2010.
First, Vizquel. Brunell thinks that Vizquel's desire to play for a higher-profile club than Texas may stem from the fact that playing for a big-market team may improve Vizquel's chances of being voted into the Hall of Fame when his career is over. There's also the fact that the 42-year-old shortstop would no doubt love to get another chance at a World Series title after coming so close with Cleveland in 1995 and 1997.
With these factors in mind, Brunell feels that Philadelphia is the ideal destination for Vizquel, as he can serve as a backup to Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and whomever the Phillies get to play third base. Vizquel's presence as a late-inning defensive replacement would also mean that the Phils could focus their third baseman search on finding a solid hitter, not necessarily a top gloveman.
As for Johnson, Brunell points to Arizona as a good landing spot for the first baseman. The Diamondbacks' .324 team OBP last season (22nd in MLB) would get a big boost from Johnson's career .402 OBP (.426 in 2009). In signing Johnson to a one or two-year contract, Brunell argues, the D-Backs would buy some more development time for prospect Brandon Allen, whose presence would also serve as cover in case Johnson's well-documented injury history again becomes a problem.
One flaw in Brunell's argument is that he doesn't account for Conor Jackson, who may avoid being non-tendered by the Snakes if he shows in winter ball that he is fully recovered from Valley Fever. If Jackson is back, then he would provide a cheaper alternative at first base than Johnson while still providing solid production — Jackson posted a .292/.371/.451 line in his three full seasons with Arizona from 2006 to 2008.
What do you fans think? If you're a Phillies or Diamondbacks supporter, are you on board with the idea of Vizquel or Johnson in the fold? Or are there some other teams who would be better fits for these two players?