Yankees Near Deal With Nick Johnson

FRIDAY, 1:14pm: ESPN.com's Buster Olney says Johnson will make $5.5MM next year, plus incentives based on plate appearances. The deal includes a mutual option for 2011 worth $5.5MM.

THURSDAY, 6:13pm: The deal is now near completion, says Davidoff. Pending a physical, Johnson will agree to a one-year deal with the Yankees worth about $5.5MM.

5:14pm: Newsday's Ken Davidoff agrees that the Yankees and Johnson are engaged in "serious discussions," but notes that Johnson has yet to take a physical.

4:24pm: King now says the Yankees are "moving toward" a one-year deal with Johnson, which could be announced tomorrow.

3:17pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Giants increased their offer to Johnson to the $5.5-6MM range.  Johnson earned $5.5MM this year to finish a Jim Bowden-authored contract signed in March of '06.  The Mariners remain in the mix as well.

9:00am: We've known of the Yankees' interest in Nick Johnson since at least December 7th, when ESPN's Jayson Stark put them among seven teams to inquire.  Today, George King of the New York Post has a little more detail on the Yankees' interest.

King says the sides are discussing a one-year deal, which is important to note since Johnson was said to be seeking two years.  Said Johnson's agent Rex Gary of the talks:

"We have had dialogue, things are moving forward.  Something could happen to speed things up, but it’s hard to predict."

Given Mark Teixeira's presence, Johnson would spend most of his time at DH.  King suggests a Johnson signing might eliminate the chances of Johnny Damon returning.  Johnson would be coming home if he signed with the Yankees – he was drafted by them in '96 but traded to the Expos in '03 with Randy Choate and Juan Rivera for Javier Vazquez.  Interestingly, all four players involved in that six-year-old deal were productive in 2009.

Johnson, whose .426 OBP this year leads all free agents, is also known to have interest from at least the Mariners, Giants, and Red Sox.

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