Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nick Johnson signs with Orioles

US Presswire file photo
Nick Johnson hit .286 with a .416 on-base percentage for the Nats from 2005-09.
It wasn't so long ago when Nick Johnson was considered a major part of the Nationals' future. Sadly, a string of freak injuries derailed the first baseman's career and never allowed him to realize his full potential.

Johnson hasn't played in the big leagues since 2010, and he's still yet to make it through an entire season without spending time on the disabled list. But he'll get a chance to make it back this spring after agreeing to a minor-league contract with the Orioles today, according to multiple reports.

Now 33 years old, Johnson is far removed from his best days with the Nationals (he hit .286 with a .416 on-base percentage in 414 games from 2005-09).

But if healthy, he still possesses some top-notch skills. His .401 career on-base percentage ranks seventh among all active players with at least 3,000 plate appearances (behind only Todd Helton, Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez, Jason Giambi, Lance Berkman, Chipper Jones and Joe Mauer).

GM Mike Rizzo traded Johnson to the Marlins for minor-league lefty Aaron Thompson on July 31, 2009. Since then, Johnson has bounced from the Marlins to the Yankees to the Indians, where last year he hit just .201 with six homers and 13 RBI in 55 games at Class AA Akron and Class AAA Columbus while dealing with a lingering wrist injury.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

If only the guy could stay healthy for more than 20 minutes at a time. Wish him luck in Baltimore.

dfh21

SonnyG10 said...

Wish Nick the best. Hope he can help the Orioles.

Mike said...

Good for Nick, he was always a class act who couldn't avoid the injury bug

natsfan1a said...

I always liked Nick and wish him well.

Anonymous said...

If I'm not mistaken, he hit .286 with a .416 on-base percentage in 414 games from 2005-09.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

So, where did he like to eat in Viera?
(ducking)

NatStat said...

It's totally unbelievable that any player could be so injury prone.

I think that his last injury with the Yankees came in batters' box after taking a swing. He could have had such a really good career, maybe even HOF potential.

upperdeck4 said...

You knew that he was snakebit when he hurt himself stepping on home plate.

Section 222 said...

In some ways, the Nick Johnson-Austin Kearns collision was the worst moment in Nationals history, other than Strasburg's injury on the mound in 2010. Painful and sad. Neither player ever was the same.

Positively Half St. said...

Section 222- I definitely agree with you. I think that Nick Johnson was probably my favorite original Nat. His numbers in AAA last year were awful, which breaks my heart. I hate the O's at the surface because of Angelos, but would honestly love to rekindle the secondary affection for them if Angelos were gone and the O's stopped mistreating the Nats (cf MASN).

If Nick can play, I hope he does make the O's and eventually starts for them. I have no need to see the O's develop anybody at first base. I don't believe that Nick can go a whole year without injury, but I would even be willing to see it for the O's.

+1/2St.

SonnyG10 said...

+1/2St, I second your comment, especially the part about "if Angelos were gone".

Natslifer said...

Me too 222 - NJ will always be my favorite player of our franchise's initial years.

natsfan1a said...

Also, what does he think of Ian Desmond? (cutting and running)

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

So, where did he like to eat in Viera?
(ducking)
February 09, 2012 5:07 PM

natsfan1a said...

sec222, I agree re. worst Nats moments. On the other side of things, I was so happy for Nick when he took the field again after healing.

Nice pic, too, illustrating one of the many facial hair iterations of the man. Still have fond memories of the year he shaved lightning bolts on his head after a fan vote had been taken on Nats Journal. As my Chicago baseball buddy was fond of cheering, Niiiiiiiiiiiiick (she had a bit of a crush on him).

jimbo said...

and what happened to Aaron Thompson?

Positively Half St. said...

We lost Aaron Thompson on a waiver move as I remember. Checking the internet, I see that it was the Pirates who took him, and he played 4 games for them last season. As with the Nats, he stunk. He played 4 games, started 1, and had an ERA of 7 and a WHIP of 2.4

I will wish more luck to Nick than Aaron.

+1/2St.

JaneB said...

I thi k Nick is a great guy, I'm glad for the Os fans that he is getting a shot at making the team. One of the dark days in Nats history was when he collided with Austin Kearns.

Anonymous said...

Best of luck to Nick in Baltimore.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the broken wrist suffered with Yankees lingers on. He probably is fooling himself into thinking he can still do it given his injury history.

baseballswami said...

Is anybody else shocked that this guy is only 33 years old? He looked at least 50 when he was with the Nats. Genetics have not been kind to this man.

Mr. Doggett said...

I love it when bad teams remind us of how much better we are than them. Can't wait to start watching some winning stuff this year.

Golfersal said...

One of the nicest guys in baseball. Gave my son five minutes of his time in 2007 making him a God in my son and my eyes.

Wish him nothing but the best of luck that he could find some of the awesome game that he gave the Nats for the four years he was here, even though he will be playing for that prick Angelos.

Gonat said...

Golfersal, that is how every kid gets to be a fan for life. I wish the Nats understood that concept. They have to get these guys out on caravans and into the schools and out to events where kids are going to be there.

Anonymous said...

There was something about Nick. He will always be at the top of my list of favorite Nats.

DCDingo said...

"Nick the Stick" was a favorite in our section of RFK. Wish him the best.

baseballswami said...

Loved Nick.No offense to Mark, but I am really tired of discussing this kind of stuff. Live baseball, please. Counter goes to single digits tomorrow. Yeah, baby. GYFNG!

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile the Nats have signed Mitch Atkins formerly an Oriole AAA starter. Rizzo is now trying to fill in depth in AAA and AA.

whatsanattau said...

A cynic would say that the Nats would not be unhappy with the Philly Phans feeling competitive with Nats fans and that by giving the Nats fans the first shot at tickets they are actually "inviting" Philly Phans without having to actually invite them. Sort of a non invitation, invite. Now a less cynical person such as myself would argue that it is purely unintentional and that Philly Phans and the U.S. Senate are just boorish ill behaved out of town'ers with ticket envy.

Drew said...

Raul Ibanez
picks up Jim Rice, Ryan Church
and the other has-beens.

Waits for a team
Hates innuendo.
Swinging a bat that he keeps with his cap by the door
Who is it for?

All the old outfielders
Where do they all come from?

All the old outfielders
Where do they all belong?

ChicagoNatsGirl said...

Our ever-so-trendy 14-year-old daughter still has a small photo of Nick Johnson mounted on a cheesy-looking wooden board hanging on her bedroom wall. I don't even remember where we got it. So obviously we're still burning the torch for Nick. Best to him.

Eugene in Oregon said...

Apropos of nothing on this threat, but consistent with earlier discussions, the Padres are about to sign a $75m/year, 20-year television deal.

Eugene in Oregon said...

That should be 'thread' (not 'threat').

NATSALLDAY said...

Nick played the game the right way and it's a damn shame he wasn't able to continue his career as a National. Best of luck.

NatsLady said...

Will there even be television in 20 years?

natsfan1a said...

In other news, single digits, bay-bee! (um, that would be the ST countdown...9)

Anonymous said...

Drew --

Thanks for the flashback. Old Larry Bigbie was one of my favorite songs.

Music Lover

Mick said...

I would feel better if we had leadoff center fielder and 1 more stud at the bat. Harper may be the stud, maybe Desmond hits a solid leadoff and maybe pigs will fly...

getting anxious...

Anonymous said...

My daughter was in the hospital recovering from brain surgery when a box arrived. Inside was various Nats swag and a ball autographed by Nick Johnson. Did she sleep with the Nats teddy bear? Nope. She is now a junior in college and that ball moved with her. It is on her nightstand as I type this.

My Wish for Nick said...

I hope that Nick bats .400 and that every game he appears in the Orioles lose.

Mr. Doggett said...

I had an "object" that should remain nameless...
it was affectionately nicknamed, "The Axe Murderer" after Nick's surly (but misleading!) appearance.

Scooter said...

Drew, you are the awesome.

Section 215 Row A said...

First of all, Drew, that was brilliant.

Second, did this really happen? Nick Johnson bruised his heel crossing home plate and ended up on the DL? I didn't make that up did, I? My wife always likened Nick to spun sugar. Just a bit delicate for a professional athlete.

Anonymous said...

Has Adam LaRoche really played in the major leagues since 2010, despite receiving a $16 Million contract last year?

The results of the Nick Johnson for Aaron Thompson trade are a perfect illustration of why I usually disagree with the trade deadline clamor to exchange proven veterans for minor leaguers. Nick hit over .290 in 2009 and he is ninth among active players on On-base Average. I wish him well in Baltiimore.

natsfan1a said...

sec215, yes, and if memory serves, Nick was trying to avoid running down a (Jays?) catcher who was blocking the plate.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said...

If Nick had stayed healthy the NATS would not have lost a 100 two years in a row. Good luck to him in Baltimore.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

If Nick had stayed healthy the NATS would not have lost a 100 two years in a row.

Nor had to worry about Strasburg's arm, or Harper's eyeshadow, tweeting, and kiss-blowing. So there's that.


captcha: manglati
Which Nick is, alas, one of.

Anonymous said...

This guy could a been the next Nick Johnson if he just stayed healthy. That Nick Johnson was on par to go .305 , 25 dingers, & 110 rbi if just he was playing. Good luck, ya still look like Ron Howard's brother. He played the "jungle boy" on Gilligan's Island.

Frediemac said...

The now 1 and only blOs player I will ever root for. Go get em Nick!

Scott Edgell said...

I wish Nick the best too. Class guy all the way.

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