Wondering why you had that empty feeling this weekend? I’m pretty sure it was because I briefly stopped churning out new content for you. But never fear, we’re fully moved into our condo and I’ll try to start writing regularly again between unpacking.
One of the weekend’s stories that I wanted to comment on was Jim Bowden’s signing of first baseman Nick Johnson. Six days ago, I remarked:
"My hunch is that the Nationals will re-sign him to a one or two year contract worth maybe $7MM annually. It doesn’t seem like a team would commit more than two years to a player who’s never healthy."
This Saturday, Johnson signed a three-year, $16.5MM pact. Given the huge discount, committing for that extra year isn’t a bad move. Compare the contract to PECOTA’s estimate of his worth for the next three years: $17,775,000. So Bowden saved over a million bucks even if Johnson can’t maintain his 2005 level. The upside is that there’s a very good chance he exceeds PECOTA’s projection entering his age 27 season. By my estimation, Johnson could easily be a $12-13MM player annually.
The signing could mean that 25 year-old first baseman Larry Broadway is available. Baseball America rates him as the Nationals’ 8th best prospect. Broadway stumbled a bit in 2005 due to a knee injury, but BA’s scouting report says he could still be a 30 HR player in the Majors one day.
Johnson’s contract extension also means that next year’s free agent class will lack an impact first baseman, assuming Derrek Lee re-signs.