Nick Johnson Rumors

Latest On Athletics Designated Hitter Search

5:36pm: The A's are confident they can sign Matsui, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter).

2:32pm: This morning, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle posted the latest on the Athletics' search for a designated hitter:

  • Vladimir Guerrero is now open to a one-year deal with any AL West team.  The Mariners are probably not a match given the Jack Cust signing, and the Angels probably aren't planning a reunion, so this news really only affects the Athletics.  Meanwhile, the Rangers still consider Vlad their best DH option and are optimistic about a deal according to's T.R. Sullivan.
  • The A's still have Hideki Matsui atop their list, though he's drawn interest from the Orioles and possibly Rangers.
  • Nick Johnson, said to be fully recovered from wrist surgery, is also in the mix for Oakland. 

Athletics Rumors: Iwakuma, Matsui, Duchscherer

The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser has some updates regarding Oakland's offseason plans:

  • Oakland increased its offer to Japanese righty Hisashi Iwakuma, but the two sides were still unable to agree on a deal. Iwakuma was looking for around $12MM per season, and the A's were unwilling to spend more than $36MM, including the posting fee. The A's will have interest in Iwakuma again next offseason, when he is a free agent and doesn't require a posting fee.  However, relations may be strained after Iwakuma's agent Don Nomura told the AP the A's "never showed any respect" toward his client.
  • The A's may take the $19.1MM posting fee that will be returned and focus on other areas, including Hideki Matsui. Oakland GM Billy Beane met with Matui's agent, Arn Tellem, Monday at the Winter Meetings. According to Slusser, Matsui has "strong interest" in playing for the A's. Derrek Lee and Nick Johnson are potential alternatives.
  • According to this tweet from Slusser, if the A's look to add a veteran starter, it may be a familiar face, coming in the form of Justin Duchscherer.

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.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Braves, Rangers, Rays, Haren

The Phillies won their second World Series in franchise history two years ago today, beating the Rays in the first suspended game in series history. Game Five started on October 27th, 2008, and the two clubs played to a 2-2 tie through the first five and a half innings before rain forced the suspension. The game didn't resume until October 29th due to the weather, but when it finallly did the Phillies outscored Tampa 2-1 the rest of the way for a 4-3 final score.

There's no weather-related delay for these links; here's the best from around the web this week…

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.

Yanks Decline Options For Wood, Berkman, Johnson

The Yankees declined their 2011 options for Kerry Wood, Lance Berkman and Nick Johnson and exercised their option on 2007 first rounder Andrew Brackman. It cost the Yankees $2MM to buy out Berkman's $15MM option and $250K to buy out Johnson's $5.5MM option.

Wood, 33, posted a 0.69 ERA with 10.7 K/9 in 24 regular season appearances for the Yankees, and was outstanding in the playoffs. It would have cost the Yankees $11MM to exercise the righty's 2011 option, so turning it down was presumably easy for GM Brian Cashman and the rest of the team's front office.

Berkman, 34, batted just .255/.358/.349 after the Yankees acquired him from the Astros in a July trade. Johnson performed worse than that in his 98 plate appearances. The 32-year-old posted a .167/.388/.306 line in his return to the Bronx. Like Berkman, he reached base without providing any pop. 

Picking up Brackman's option was a formality. The 24-year-old posted a 3.90 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in the minors last year, reaching Double-A for the first time, so the Yankees weren't about to let him go.

Yankees Notes: Eiland, Girardi, Jeter

The Yankees have fired pitching coach Dave Eiland, GM Brian Cashman told reporters today (Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News seemingly tweeted it first).  Cashman said his reasons for the dismissal are private.  Other Yankees notes of interest:

Odds & Ends: Johnson, Figgins, Pineda, Ross

Saturday night links, as Joey Votto, Adam Dunn, and Paul Konerko belt their 32nd home runs…

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Hoffman, Bay, Markakis

On this date back in 2004, Alex Rodriguez returned to Texas to play the Rangers for the first time since being traded (along with $71MM) to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias. He was booed loudly just like every other road game of his career, though he silenced the home crowd – at least temporarily – with a two-run homer in the first inning. 

 Here are a few links from around the baseball blogosphere…

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.

Odds & Ends: Storen, Duchscherer, Johnson

Links for Sunday, as we wait to see if the Dodgers can extend their six-game winning streak….

Odds & Ends: Jenkins, Orioles, Molina, Lee, Konerko

Links for Saturday…