Dan Johnson Rumors
Links for Saturday...
- RotoAuthority looks at projections for Chris Davis. 35 home runs next year?
- Bill Madden suggests Paul Kinzer screwed up in both the Rafael Furcal and Francisco Rodriguez negotiations.
- More details on Dan Johnson - the Rays are selling him to a Japanese team for $100,000-500,000.
- Tim Redding's agent says "the Mets are very much in the mix" for the righty.
- Juan C. Rodriguez confirms the Marlins' interest in Derrick Turnbow, but says they aren't going after Ray King.
- The Rockies could pursue Braden Looper.
- The Orioles have expressed interest in Phillies catcher Chris Coste.
- New National Josh Willingham likes the Marlins' young talent.
- New Phillie Raul Ibanez likes the chances that the Mariners will have a better offense in 2009.
- The AP has details on the perks in the C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett deals.
- Ken Davidoff looks at the impact Mark Teixeira's decision will have on six teams. Amazing how one deal will shape so many teams' plans.
- Buster Olney writes that many players are going to make much less than expected in 2009, including Manny Ramirez. In that same blog post, Olney notes that his colleague Jerry Crasnick says the Angels' signing of Juan Rivera takes them out of the market for Manny.
- The D'Backs' discussions for Tony Clark are progressing.
Linkage for Friday...
- The AP explains how C.C. Sabathia will be paid $9.5MM before throwing a pitch for the Yankees.
- The D'Backs signed lefty Travis Blackley.
- Dan Johnson is headed to Japan.
- The Cardinals signed Japanese pitcher Katsuhiko Maekawa to a minor league deal. Patrick Newman has details.
- Interesting discussion involving Raul Ibanez's defense.
- I did a Q&A with SportingGurus.com.
- Ken Rosenthal guesses destinations for 11 remaining free agents in this slideshow.
- MLB is undergoing a hiring/salary freeze and taking away 20% of vacation time for '09.
- Dejan Kovacevic had a lengthy chat with Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson, who wishes the team would get more players to become competitive. In his article Kovacevic also notes that the Pirates have had talks about bringing back pitcher Denny Bautista, who was non-tendered a week ago.
- Are the Mariners trying to open up a spot for Jerry Hairston Jr.? They're looking to add a plus-plus defensive second baseman; not sure if he qualifies.
- Aubrey Huff tops the list of fantasy baseball's biggest draft position gainers.
- Royals pitcher Kyle Davies is working a construction job this offseason.
- The Orioles settled with Sidney Ponson regarding their grievance.
FRIDAY: No one wanted Johnson; he cleared waivers and will head to Triple A Durham.
WEDNESDAY: That was quick - Dan Johnson's time with the Rays is up. He's been designated for assignment in the wake of the Gabe Gross acquisition. Gross does make more sense for the roster spot.
There are only a handful of teams that might be able to accomodate Johnson as a regular. We'll have to see which club was second in line for his services (if any). At the least, he'd be a strong bench player.
So far during the 2008 regular season, 28 players have either been DFA'd or released. At the same point last year, that list only included 14 players. In the past four seasons, only 2006 (22) had more than 14 players DFA'd or released this early in the season.
This will be an interesting trend to watch the rest of this season and into the early portion of 2009. It appears to be an indication that teams are showing less patience to work trades for fringe players or teams may be placing higher premiums on prospects, unwilling to move even mid-level prospects for a guy that might be the 24th or 25th man on a 25-man roster. Either way, it could mean fewer trades in 2008 and beyond.
The list of players DFA'd so far this year includes some that have been productive Major Leaguers at some point in their career and could be again, including Kirk Saarloos, Juan Castro, Dan Johnson and Hideo Nomo. OK, maybe Nomo is a stretch. With players like this being made available it is even more reason for teams to avoid trades and wait. And of course Barry Bonds and Mike Piazza are still sitting out there. Let's take a look at what is being said about these players in the Blogosphere...
- Mets Fever wonders if Johnson is worth a flyer from the Mets but wonders who would go to make room.
- Fanhouse sees Johnson ending up right back where he started (almost), signing with the Giants.
- Beyond the Boxscore wrote this prior to Frank Thomas signing with the A's, but the question, "Who Needs a DH?" is still relevant with Piazza, Bonds and Johnson. They take a look at several teams that could be in the market.
- I am convinced that by the All-Star break, we will have seen 30 different versions of "Why [insert MLB team] should sign Barry Bonds". The latest comes from Jays Nest who argues for the Blue Jays signing the all-time home run king.
Couple more odds and ends this evening...
- Orioles executive VP Mike Flanagan admitted he wouldn't have signed Miguel Tejada to a six-year deal if he knew the shortstop's proper age. But he still would've signed him (if possible). People are debating whether ESPN ambushed Tejada with his birth certificate...of course they did.
- Ken Rosenthal believes the optimal course of action for the Phillies is to just let Ryan Howard play out the string and then let him walk as a free agent after the 2011 season.
- Rays Index says the Dan Johnson acquisition signals a "win-now" attitude for the Rays.
According to Susan Slusser, the Rays have claimed first baseman Dan Johnson off waivers. She expects him to put in time at DH while Cliff Floyd is out for the next month or so. Johnson moves from McAfee Coliseum (deflates LH HRs by 10%) to Tropicana Field (inflates LH HR by 4%).
You can read Johnson's story here. He should be a decent stopgap for Tampa Bay.
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.
Henry Schulman at The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Giants GM Brian Sabean is seeking a left-handed hitting 1B to complement the aging Rich Aurilia, and lists Nick Johnson and the Braves' Scott Thorman as points of interest.
Nick Johnson is off to a hot start hitting .368/.455/.688 in 19 ABs, and for this reason Schulman suggests he could be off the market; however, contrary to that rationale, the Nationals might want to take advantage of Johnson's sudden upswing in value. They do have Dmitri Young sitting idly by. If the Giants want to spend $11MM over the next 2 years on Johnson, he would be a solid addition to a lackluster offense. Johnson would almost certainly make a bench player of Aurilia.
Scott Thorman, who the Braves have been shopping for over a month, is 26, and hit 11 homeruns in 268 ABs last season. With Mark Teixeira locked in at 1B this season, and plenty of guys who can be moved to 1B next year (Matt Diaz, Mark Kotsay, et al), Thorman no longer seems to be the heir apparent should Teixeira not re-sign.
While I'm always hesitant to suggest a team should deal with Billy Beane, Dan Johnson needs a new home. Sure his value has collapsed over the past couple seasons, but he hits lefty, could provide power, and is only 28. He's on a one year contract for $410,000, so there's not much risk, and Beane's asking price can't be high. If the Giants don't want to commit $11MM to a player as they try to rebuild, DJ could be a good alternative.
Any other 1B options you think would be a good fit?
By Nat Boyle
There just doesn't seem to be a spot in Oakland for Dan Johnson. Once seen as a solution at first base, ineffectiveness and injuries have slowed him down a bit. While the 28-year-old still has some promise, he's blocked in Oakland at first base by Daric Barton and Mike Sweeney, and at DH by Sweeney and Jack Cust.
There's been some speculation of a Johnson trade, and that might be coming soon. Chad Gaudin can come off the DL on April 12, and Johnson could be the casualty. It depends, really, on whether Billy Beane and Bob Geren want to continue carrying 11 pitchers, or they want to up it to 12.
Apparently, Giants GM Brian Sabean told a sports radio program that he's looking for a left-hand-hitting first baseman. They seem like a good fit from one end, but do the Giants have the chips the A's are looking for? Other than that, I can't see too many other teams that would be interested in him as a starter. Maybe as a backup, but then I suppose most teams wouldn't be willing to part with much value for a backup first baseman.
I'm thinking that the A's stick with 11 pitchers for the foreseeable future, and wait for a better opportunity to trade Johnson -- probably an injury.
Let's round up some linkage.
- Last Thursday I appeared on WVOX 1460 out of New York with Russell Mafes. You can download the file here (it's about 12 mb and 16 minutes long).
- Jim Hendry is very candid about the Cubs' desire to add a right-handed hitting outfielder who can handle center.
- Mike Sweeney's success and good health could mean Dan Johnson is on his way out of Oakland.
- Jim Salisbury says the Phillies might have taken Rocco Baldelli 15th in the 2000 draft instead of Chase Utley, if they'd had the chance. Would the Mets or Dodgers have taken Utley, then?
- Rany Jazayerli takes an in-depth look at Joakim Soria. Should the Royals give him a shot in the rotation later this year?
- On my fantasy baseball blog RotoAuthority I talk about the dropoff after the first five catchers.