Cubs Notes: Nick Johnson, Wood, Payroll

The Cubs plan to add a starter, a right handed reliever and a first baseman this offseason and the Chicago Sun-Times has the details on which players could be suiting up at Wrigley Field in 2011:

  • There are indications that GM Jim Hendry is focusing on “the likes of” Nick Johnson if the medicals look good enough. Johnson appeared in just 24 games last year, but has a .401 career on base percentage and doubles power. A year ago the Cubs signed another former Yankee coming off an injury-plagued season, but the Xavier Nady deal didn’t work out as well as the Cubs hoped.
  • Hendry is keeping an eye on Kerry Wood, a player who would reportedly interest the Cubs at the right price. The GM says he has a “wonderful relationship” with Wood, but insisted that it would be foolish to get into specifics.
  • The Cubs don’t have a firm payroll, but it still appears that the team will spend less than it did in 2010.

58 Responses to Cubs Notes: Nick Johnson, Wood, Payroll Leave a Reply

  1. where would they put Wood? Set-up???

    • vtadave 5 years ago

      Well yeah. It’s not like the Cubs had a whole lot beyond Marmol and Marshall this past season. He’d be a good fit on a one-year $2 million type deal.

      • briantalletsmoustache 5 years ago

        Wood would be a good fit for anyone for $2 million.

      • Vmmercan 5 years ago

        Dude had a 1 ERA down the stretch for the Yankees with a 9 million option which was turned down….He’s not taking a theoretical 400% pay cut for a job well done, especially for a setup role.

        Cubs offer 2 million for a setup shot, the Yankees will offer 3 million and that will be that.

        Unfortunately, there are probably 5-10 teams who will give Wood a shot to close…

        • jb226 5 years ago

          I agree with your point that $2MM is so low that there will be lots of other bidders for a price like that — but “that will be that?” I’m not sure you have a full appreciation for Wood’s attachment to Chicago and the love the city still has for him. He turned down multi-year deals to stay with the Cubs for 2008, and the rumor was he handed Hendry a contract and said “fill in the money.” A rumor that came up a second time after the 2008 season, though the Cubs ultimately did not sign him again.

          If it’s $2MM from the Cubs or $3MM elsewhere, I honestly think he comes back to Chicago. The only X-factor is how much the Cubs letting him walk after 2008 bothered him. But if the Cubs reach out to him, you can bet he’s going to be very interested. I can see something like the $4.5MM a year or so he got in 2008 bringing him back home to Chicago.

    • The Yankees will keep Wood

  2. penpaper 5 years ago

    Hmm, a healthy Johnson could hit 25+ homers in the Windy City.

    • plamorte 5 years ago

      except “healthy” and Johnson don’t mesh well.

    • The_Silver_Stacker 5 years ago

      The guy needs to be wrapped in bubblewrap to make it to the field

    • He hurts himself swinging the bat. Seriously.

      • Ray R 5 years ago

        He hurt himself by WALKING to 1st base last year. And hurt his wrist, at that.

        The guy is an injury just waiting to happen. If the Cubs sign him, it will be a sign of total desperation, especially with all the other 1st basemen on the market this year.

    • More like in Candyland.

    • Vmmercan 5 years ago

      He couldn’t stay healthy as a DH….Like not even a little bit…And he still had no power right the YS short porch…Don’t see him as anything more than a temptress at this point.

    • When has he been Healthy though.. he has a career high 147 games (2006) that was his best season also career highs in HRs(23) RBIs (77) but at age 32 now, I’m sure that there is better options out there.

    • And if I had hair then I could be a Vogue model…Since when has Nick Johnson been healthy???

  3. The_Silver_Stacker 5 years ago

    Wood should be back with Yankees and if they do not resign Thames to hit lefties than I’m all for a 2nd go around with Nady

    • MB923 5 years ago

      If they don’t re-sign Wood, who’s the new set-up man? I’m sure you don’t trust Joba or Robertson (yet). Maybe sign Soriano, but Yankees need another lefty in the bullpen as well

      • The_Silver_Stacker 5 years ago

        I think they will sign Benoit and lesser lefty like a Will Ohman

  4. pmc765 5 years ago

    Over under on the number of games played by Johnson in 2011?

  5. RiverKKiller999 5 years ago

    Nick Johnson a Cub? LMAO…I was thinking more along the lines of Adam LaRoche for a year to be honest.

    • Chiburgh 5 years ago

      I agree, I see Hendry messing around and ending up with LaRoche, but Johnson would be a much bigger debacle.

  6. Chiburgh 5 years ago

    NICK JOHNSON……………..are you kidding me??

  7. I’m just happy Johnson will be out of our hair, what a failure of a signing that was. As far as Wood is concerned I would love to see him come back into the Yankee fold, but it depends on him I think. He would have to be okay being merely a setup man at least for this upcoming season and possibly closing later on. But when Mo decides to hang em up, do you really see Wood as being that guy? I suppose only time will tell.

  8. Chiburgh 5 years ago

    Other than having better bathrooms and better concession food, I’m really not sure what direction the Cubs are heading in. I’m gobsmacked!!

    • studio179 5 years ago

      Don’t think for a minute the Cubs will seriously contend in ’11-’12. They will tell you different. Fans in the seats go to the bottom line, so they are not going to say it is a rebuild. They will use patchwork in FA signings. They are letting the big, expiring contracts come off the books after this year and next. Maybe they trade one of them, but the general thought is ‘try’ to contend in the division while building up the farm scouting/player developement. The team is putting the majority of their extra money in the farm and building the ‘Wrigley experience’ with needed improvements.

  9. HHHDMS 5 years ago

    Whoever Nick Johnson signs with , there really should be a “paid only if he spends no time of the DL – should Nick Johnson wind up on the DL at anytime during the season, the contract will be void”

    • MikhelB 5 years ago

      Or to sign him in a pay-per-game basis, buuuuuut things like that in favor of a team won’t ever happen, the players’ union won’t allow it.

  10. rootman1010 5 years ago

    about a week ago i noticed his name in the free agent list and i thought “he’s not getting a major league deal… no chance.”

    and now this morning i see my cubs are once again entertaining a bad idea. i understand he would probably get a small base plus incentives on games played, but come on!

    spend a couple million more and have a semi-legitimate first baseman. get laroche, berkman, pena, etc… anyone besides johnson.

  11. almostxcubsfan 5 years ago

    dont understand the ricketts and keeping hendry wow stupid moves and nick johnson ,a comment earlier said 25 homers if healthy he is worse than using in house players out of minors.lets move dewitt to first barney to second trade castrol and colvin, bring back fontenot for short maybe get patterson back for center and just release byrd im sure we could give some underacheiver and 8 yr contract to get our payroll worse this would be hendry typical moves as a life long cub fan getting really tired of stupidity of the cubs org. thought it mite change with new owners but it is just the same ole crap

  12. studio179 5 years ago

    If the Cubs sign Johnson, plan on a watching a lot of Hoffpauir.


  13. TapDancingTeddy 5 years ago

    Two of the saddest cases in MLB: Rocco Baldelli and Nick Johnson. So much talent, so little health.

    They both seem like nice guys, too.

  14. Johnson doesn’t excite me. I mean, it was pretty obvious how the whole Milton Bradley thing was going to turn out from the beginning and this should be obvious too. Johnson did rack up significant at-bats in ’09 but he still got hurt, even then. Some of his injuries have come while he was on the field playing but still, he’s brittle. Hendry needs to recognize that and pass unless he only consider Johnson a backup, which doesn’t appear to be the case.

    I’m leaning towards Pena as a fit at 1b. Hits lefty, has power, good defense, cheaper than Dunn and probably shorter term. He has holes in his game for sure but he could probably be squeezed in budget easier and is an upgrade over Johnson or whatever else the team could run out there.

    Wood is interesting but I don’t see it happening. Financially it probably doesn’t make sense unless Wood wants to get back to Chicago so bad he’s willing to leave millions on the table. I’d love to see him come back but I don’t think it’ll end up happening.

    • jb226 5 years ago

      Johnson is definitely a strange option for the Cubs. If the Cubs are planning on contending, they need a bigger bat than his from the left side (even assuming he stayed healthy). If they’re not, he isn’t the sort of player you snag because you’re likely to be able to flip him at the deadline for a prospect — again, even assuming he’s healthy. And we all know that’s a really big assumption.If they’re rebuilding–an option I would be perfectly alright with–then I would like to see them pull up a prospect from the farm. I know we don’t have a ton going at 1B, but I’d still rather give somebody a chance and pay them peanuts then throw a few million at Johnson to rehab on the DL.Micah Hoffpauir might finally deserve a chance. Right now he’s stuck with a AAAA label, but I honestly think it has more to do with the fact that he has never received consistent playing time at the majors than an inability to get near his AAA success with the Cubs. Flaherty has been having some nice seasons in the minors, and while his time at 1B so far has been minimal he does have at least some experience there — and it’s not like, if we’re simply reaching down into the farm for a first baseman, that we couldn’t put up with it for a while. On the “I don’t know about that…” pile, is there any consideration to giving DeWitt some time at first? I honestly don’t think he has the bat to stay there and obviously I don’t know what his defense would be like, but it seems like the Cubs’ best positional players in the minors are either in the outfield–already overcrowded–or the middle infield, so moving DeWitt to 1B (assuming he was slated to be our 2B) would let you bring one of those guys up instead. Or of course Colvin, which has already been mentioned and helps alleviate the logjam in the outfield somewhat. If that happens, I just hope it does not stop the Cubs from trying desperately to move Fukudome.In any event, Johnson is just too middle-of-the-road. If they’re going for it, go bigger; if they’re not, let’s see what we have in our system — give some of those guys a chance. If they turn into stars, woohoo! If they turn into decent players but not long-term solutions, they might become a trade chip. If they turn out to suck, well, what’s the harm really?I disagree with you about Wood, by the way. I think if the Cubs offer around $4.5MM a year (whether for one year or multiple) he comes back to Chicago.

  15. Eric 5 years ago

    Nick Johnson might be a good buy-low option for Seattle this off-season. He would split time at DH with Bradley and play occasionally at 1B when the M’s rest Smoak. Something like 1YR/2M with a mutual option for 2012 seems likely.

    • I don’t think I could look my fans in the eye and tell them that I was banking on Nick Johnson AND Milton Bradley.

    • firealyellon 5 years ago

      The concept of ‘buy low’ is underpinned by the idea an asset is undervalued.

  16. The bit about payroll is a bit misleading. Ricketts didn’t say he was going to spend less. He’s just going to spend less on payroll. While he will probably cut the 2011 payroll, he will not cut spending on players. That is, the Cubs will be spending extra money on draft picks, player development, international signees, etc.I actually think it’s pretty shrewd. Since there are no likely short-term fixes for the 2011 season, put the money into longer term plans. I’d sure rather see a payroll that was $5-10 million less and a couple of top-notch international signees joining the organization than the same payroll as last year and that money spent on bottom-of-the-rotation guys or role players who aren’t going to be able to save the season anyway.

  17. rockfordone 5 years ago

    Cubs will use Colvin at first – no money – Ricketts blow it with Henry but first hint no money because he was under contract – couldn’t eat it. Now Quade(nice guy) -but cheap. See the pattern. Need to trade Big Z and Foocko and pay half of their salary. Ram will be gone.
    Be out of contention by June 1. Just a bad team.

  18. Nick Johnson? This is just further proof that Cubs fan will get excited about any namedrop and fantasize how his season on the Northside JUST MIGHT BE the one year he’s healthy and successful. Come on, the man’s almost as injury-plagued as Mark Prior.

    • guest_54 5 years ago

      Not sure how you got anyone (even the non-Cub fans) was excited about signing Nick Johnson from these comments.

  19. burtonbball88 5 years ago

    I don’t like either of these guys. They will both be hurt in the first month of the season. Put Colvin at first, and fix the bullpen internally. Both these signings are bad news.

    • BlueCatuli 5 years ago

      He hasn’t played first base since his sophomore year. I’d personally like to see the Cubs trade Adrian Gonzalez. I know it’s a long shot, but he would be the ideal candidate. If that doesn’t work out, I’d like to see them trade for either Kila Ka’aihue or Billy Butler. Most likely Kila Ka’aihue will be available. Any Royals fans or someone with knowledge of that team know what it would take to get either of those players. I know it will take more to get Butler.

      • Or not

        1B-Kila Ka’aihue
        DH- Billy Butler
        LF- Alex Gordon
        3B- Mike Moustakas

        If all and healthy looks like a potent future middle of the line-up. P.S. Not in order

        • BlueCatuli 5 years ago

          So the Royals wouldn’t listen to offers on either? I find that hard to believe. What would the Royals want? We aren’t talking franchise players here so be realistic.

      • burtonbball88 5 years ago

        I don’t think the Cubs have any chance to sign Gonzalez, and personally I’d rather them not sign him. As long as they keep their options cheap, I’m fine if they trade for a Royal.

  20. firealyellon 5 years ago


    *When healthy


  21. clark182 5 years ago

    I’ve been an advocate for looking for a block minor league prospect in another organization specifically Alonso from Cincy.

    As long as the Cubs don’t make a long term commitment at 1b ala Dunn, I don’t care what they do.

    Personally, I’d be in Rudy’s ear to see what he thought about trying to acquire Chris Davis from Texas. As his hitting coach in 08 and 09, Rudy should have a good idea if he has the tools/makeup to make it in the MLB. He looks to be blocked with the emergence of Moreland and would provide the Cubs a cheap 1st base option while they wait for the Agon/Fielder free agency to play out.

    • I like the idea of trading for Chris Davis. The price has got to be bargain basement at this point, and there’s no downside as this team is not set to contend in 2011 anyway. Might just fall ass backwards into a great hitter. I’d also see if Carlos Pena were willing to take a 1 year deal.

  22. Cubs already have a pretty much set team.

    SP- Ryan Dempster
    SP- Z
    SP- Gorzelanny
    SP- Wells
    SP- Silva

    SU- Marshall
    SU- Wood? if not Cashner
    CL- Marmol

    C- Soto
    1B-F/A- Hopefully Dunn
    2B- DeWitt
    3B- Ramirez
    SS- Castro
    RF- Colvin
    CF- Byrd
    LF- Soriano

    If not Dunn I’m ok with a cheap option. The Cubs have CF Brett Jackson who I expect if he can keep up with his tremendous work in the minors can make his MLB debut this year. He will probably start in AA and work his way up. If he does come up this year, then I expect Byrd go to RF and Colvin goes to 1B. Also, the Cubs have Chris Archer, Jay Jackson, Ryan Flaherty, and Brandon Guyer who can make their debuts as well. I expect Wellington Castillo to make the team and be traded if he does well enough with Robinson Chirnos could back-up Soto.

    • BlueCatuli 5 years ago

      I’d be surprised to see Jackson get called up earlier than September unless he is just raking and there is an injury. The Cybs outfield is already full to where Colvin cant even get regular playing time. The Cubs are going to have to move Fukudome before Colvin is anything but a platoon player.

  23. SosaCrackers 5 years ago

    Jackson is out for the year. He had a nasty infection in his le and needed surgery.

    • BlueCatuli 5 years ago

      He’s expected to be in Mesa in January to participate in “Colvin Camp.” I don’t think the injury will prohibit him from advancing within the system.

      • SosaCrackers 5 years ago

        The first time I read the article I just skimmed through it and thought it meant out for all season, thanks for clearing that up.

    • BlueCatuli 5 years ago

      He’s expected to be in Mesa in January to participate in “Colvin Camp.” I don’t think the injury will prohibit him from advancing within the system.

  24. I bet Wood gets more $$$ and teams need a closer.

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