Indians Sign Nick Johnson

The Indians, perhaps seeking a midseason OBP boost, officially signed first baseman/DH Nick Johnson to a minor league deal today.  Johnson will earn $750K if he makes the team, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.  The Indians have a $2.75MM option for 2012, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter).

Rex Gary, Johnson's agent, recently explained to MLBTR that his client is "heading in the right direction" after being limited to 24 games last year due to a wrist injury. Though Johnson probably won't be ready for the beginning of the season and can't swing a bat all-out at this point, he should be ready soon after the season starts.

Johnson, 32, has a .401 on-base percentage over the course of a nine-year career that's seen him hit the disabled list nine times. If Johnson can recover from the wrist operation that sidelined him for most of the 2010 campaign, the Indians will have added a cheap on-base specialist to contribute at first base and DH when Matt LaPorta and Travis Hafner are rested.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the agreement on Twitter.

Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.

54 Responses to Indians Sign Nick Johnson Leave a Reply

  1. drjayphd 4 years ago

    Point of order, that should probably be “Indians’ 60-day disabled list signs Nick Johnson”.

    • Tpifer78 4 years ago

      That deserved a “Bazinga”

    • fpz 4 years ago

      If it was a major league deal.

    • Indeed. But even if Johnson does get healthy enough to make a contribution, he wouldn’t be much more than a role player. It’d be nice to have a guy on the bench with a .400+ OBP

  2. If he’s going to perform his annual “What Will Nick Johnson Break This Year?” trick, he might as well do it in the obscurity of Cleveland at this point.

    • The ratings for that show were so bad it is no longer on in a big market lol

    • start_wearing_purple
      start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      5 bucks on the Kendry Morales “celebrate until you break” technique.

      • Threat_Level_RedSox 4 years ago

        I got 10 bucks on the Russell Braynan “tango with the curtian” and the Chris Coghlan “twist and pie”.

        • start_wearing_purple
          start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

          Still open is the Geoff Blum “How do I put on a shirt” injury.

          • TartanElk 4 years ago

            Still to come, John Smoltz’s seminal “Ironing boards are for chumps”

          • Kyle 4 years ago

            Don’t forget Kent and washing his truck.

    • wickedkevin 4 years ago

      $10 on the Joel Zumaya guitar hero injury!

    • nick1538 4 years ago

      How about Slammin Sammy’s “voilent sneeze”

  3. If he can stay healthy…..hahaha…almost typed that without laughing.

    Not sure where he fits in with Pronk and Laporta. Even if he COULD stay healthy, where would he play? And he’s not going to get you any prospects at the deadline…

  4. Threat_Level_RedSox 4 years ago

    Sound like the Indians are doing the “sign and trade midseason for prospects” to rebuild the team. I guess the Pirates forgot to ca and let them know it does’nt work.

  5. Threat_Level_RedSox 4 years ago

    I thought he would go on Danceing with the Stars, i heard they were going to have a “break” danceing episode.

  6. dc21892 4 years ago

    I’d love to see this guy healthy for a couple straight seasons.

  7. Motor_City_Bombshell 4 years ago

    I think Betty White might be more durable than Nick Johnson at this point.

    No but on a serious note, why sign a guy now who isn’t going to help you until May when it’s obvious no one was going after him anyway.

    • fpz 4 years ago

      It’s a minor league deal. No real risk imo.

      • Motor_City_Bombshell 4 years ago

        I don’t see the risk either, I’m just saying, they signed him rather early for a guy who’s rehabbing. I guess I’m one to talk if he passed his physical though.

    • Threat_Level_RedSox 4 years ago

      She did take one hell of a hit in that snickers commercial.

  8. RedSoxDynasty 4 years ago

    Nick Johnsons body is about as stable as Charlie Sheen’s mind at this point!

    • wickedkevin 4 years ago

      Except that Charlie Sheen’s mind says he is living the dream and Nick Johnson’s body says he is lucky to be walking.

  9. Nick Johnson: “I am typing this message to MLBTR readers to let them know that I am going to play the entire seas…”(Breaks his pinkie. On 60 day DL).

  10. YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

    I guess Nick will be a safety insurance if LaPorta doesn’t work out. LaPorta will be the safety net when Nick goes back on the DL. The circle of life.

  11. MFH 4 years ago

    Over/Under for the amount of games he plays is set at 1.

  12. bjsguess 4 years ago

    At this point I’m not sure Johnson adds any value – even if he is healthy.

    His power appears to be completely gone. A 400 OBP is very nice but when you slug like Chone Figgins, run like Bengie Molina, stay healthy like … well, like Nick Johnson, and require a spot at either 1st base or DH I’m not seeing a ton of upside.

    It’s not a bad deal by any means. Just unfortunate that someone so talented has become just a shell of his former self.

  13. geolink2349 4 years ago

    Teams just don’t learn…

  14. feztonio 4 years ago

    How nice. the Indians must have a new HMO and alot of spare cash to spend on doctors and medical procedures. I’m guessing sometime around tuseday of next week Johnson will make his annual year ending trip to the DL to have some part of his body surgically repaired. So thankfully for Nick he will have some MLB insurance to cover his hospital time

    • kipnis4040 4 years ago

      why be negative. hes on a minor league contract if he passes his physical. go watch the reds

  15. sportsnut969 4 years ago

    This is not about the Indians as much as it’s about Nick Johnson.

    Johnson probably looked over the league to see where he had the best shot of being called up by May and saw the Indians as the best location with the Haf Man Haf once a ball player in the now singles hit in Hafner. And then he look at the much overly hyped prospect stiff at 1st in LaPorta then he saw the outfield backups you have the Drunk – Kearns with his leagal issues, you have Shelly ( my dad gave me a girls name at birth ) Duncan the clutsy outfielder, then he saw that Sizemore was not going to be ready for opening day and Crowe go down and said this is the place for me.

  16. How bout former SF Giant 3B Chris Brown “Eye Lash” injury?

  17. I really like what chris antonetti has done with the tribe in his short time, at the helm. He has been quite busy, i can’t remember a time as an indian fan in my life span, (24 years) of so many players from outside the organization joining the team via free agency. not to mention we worked on deals with choo, asdrubal and chris perez, 3 of the teams best players, arguably there 3 best. (all came via trade)

  18. – Trevor Crowe, Michael Brantley, Grady Sizemore.. all 3 , are question marks going into 2011… so he signed Austin Kearns
    -Carlos Santana and Lou Marson as well question marks, no 1 questions santana’s talent though. He signs Luke Carlin and Paul Phillips, Because Lou was more of a question, becuase of his bat his defense is grade a! and to be safe we might need another backup catcher. also a vet working with lou like Sany alomar is genius. paul phillps is a vet aswell. I liked the jason bere vet signing to help with younger pitchers. some other vet was signed too cant remeber who but he will help with the young players as well.
    -2b/3b utility infiled.. infield defense.. has been a situation everyone is aware of, jack Hannahan adam everett, orlando cabrera were signed to figure it out, obv cabrera will be 2b? well not obv but he is lol. he prob covers the utility part too but, time will tell.
    -The bull pen is pretty solid, they need a middle guy thoughjust to be on safe side, they sign chad durbin.
    -The Indians will receive infielder Matt Lawson in return for Laffey, according to a team press release. Seattle will also send cash considerations to the Tribe, according to their Twitter feed.

    Lawson has mostly played second base, but has also seen some time in the outfield as well as at shortstop. The Indians’ press release refers to the 25-year-old as an “infielder/outfielder”. In 118 games at the Double-A level last season, Lawson hit .293/.372/.439 with nine homers.

    I LOVE DEALING WITH THE MARINERS!!! = choo, asdrubal, :)

  19. kipnis4040 4 years ago

    So, Asdrubal Cabrera .280 – .300, (Grady Sizemore), Shin Soo Choo .300 avg .400 obp, Carlos Santana .400 OBP, (*Travis Hafner15-20 HR/Nick Johnson.400 OBP*), Orlando Cabrera .280, (matt laporta 20+ HR/ Nick Johnson OBP .400) Michael Brantley 25 SB, .. i reallly like every spot in the line up every night but 3B really doesn’t have a offensively above avg. player.

  20. kipnis4040 4 years ago

    sportsnut wasnt to blunt about , but he was right lol

  21. I am Urban Legend 4 years ago

    Crazy how Omar gets bashed for Kelvin Escobar but no one says anything about Cashman signing Nick Johnson for 5 mil and getting zippo out of him.

    Then again I think we all know the media and most xeonophobic baseball fans had a different standard for Omar than any other GM

  22. kipnis4040 4 years ago

    what do u think was omar’s greatest achievement? just want to here your argument? I think cashman is a lowsy gm as well. with the money he has, he should have so many more titles under his belt, but, he wont get that much spending room in the future. with george dieing, the teams, money burning ways i think will be a thing of the past. I mean, his children seem tight with there wallet. or his wallet for that matter, he’s gone now. And with cashman being a lowsy gm. the yankees are spending less money on the free agent market then ever. I wonder what Cleveland’s gm antonetti would have gotten with that much money on Cleveland’s roster? This year he got, Austin Kearns 1.30 MM, Asdrubal Cabrera 1.00 MM, Chard Durbin 800 K, Nick Johnson ? my guess 1 mm w/ 2012 mutual or team option at 1.5mm…. so for around 4MM dollars thats what he did to upgrade the team. not to mention numerous NRI, i.e. Travis Buck will prob make cleveland opening day line up let alone roster. Was a great minor league signing this offeason. I liked the aaron laffey to seattle for matt lawson trade.I see all the pieces to the puzzle falling in place.

  23. Nick Johnson sort of sucks these days.

    • He hasn’t really played enough games to suckā€¦He’s about the best in the league at getting hurt though

  24. CommissionerBart 4 years ago

    I hope Nick doesn’t nick himself up and suffer injury while signing the contract.

  25. mattevilspawn 4 years ago

    Immediately following the NJ announcement: “Indians to increase medical staff payroll.”

  26. TapDancingTeddy 4 years ago

    Okay, I’ll be the one to say, I like Nick and I wish him luck.

    Nick’s had a couple of seasons where’s he’s been healthy and in those seasons he’s been productive. Here’s hoping he’s got a couple more in him before his fragile body makes him quit.

  27. Remember Juan Gonzalez’s 2005 season? First at-bat of the season. INJURY! Never played again.

    That had to be the biggest boneheaded move by any player. Turning down that 8 year, $140 million contract with the Tigers in 2000 and never coming close to that ever again.

  28. Threat_Level_RedSox 4 years ago

    some one is allways over paying at the deadline, a low cost high OBP guy like Johnson, they might be able to get a decent relief prospect if he can show, all though not likely, that he can stay healthy.

  29. the orioles didn’t sign mark reynolds to trade him after the all-star break. ur crazy. and who will pick up the owed money? you sign some one to a 1 at most 2 year contract if u plan on or have an idea to trade at allstar break, even a two year plan unless the right fit would be silly. if u plan on getting prospects nd bring a prospect up to replace the guy ur trading usually the said person (prospect) is groomed for readiness by the trade date (all-star break usually)so y would u give a player like reynolds so much guarenteed money over the amount of years he is signed , if u plan on a trade soon after. (cleveland indians i.e. lonnie chisenhall/ jason kipnis …)orlando cabrera gets traded at allstar break by tribe cuz they have a 2b prospect comin up in kipnis)

  30. Threat_Level_RedSox 4 years ago

    I bet Obama wants him to retire before universal health care is inacted, one stubbed toe and he could bankrupt the country.

  31. I think that’s already happened, brah.

  32. Dude.. you got politics in my baseball.

  33. BobMexico 4 years ago

    What payoff caliber team would have a need for Orlando Cabrera? Let’s see, can’t get on base, plays terrible deffense, no power, and no speed. Any prospect you get in return would just be minor league filler.

  34. Encarnacion's Parrot 4 years ago

    Never thought a DBZ reference would ever be seen.

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