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The Latest On Nick Johnson

The latest Ken Rosenthal column indicated that the Oakland A's requested the medical records of Nats first baseman Nick Johnson, a possible precursor to trade talks. But those talks have yet to occur.

Here's what I've heard: Indeed, the A's made the inquiry for those medical records at the very beginning of the offseason, but by no means is a Johnson-to-Oakland trade on the frontburner at this time. The A's have some younger pitching prospects they might be willing to unload, but Oakland seems unwilling to part with young first baseman Daric Barton, who'd certainly be a logical fit with the Nats.

Johnson's agent, Rex Gary, told me today that Johnson -- who missed much of last season with a right wrist injury -- is progressing well, though he hasn't yet begun resuming batting practice.

"He's undergoing therapy and, you know, he's had subsequent follow up appointments and everything checks out positively," Gary said. "There's nothing of concern; he's progressing. And the expectation is that he'll be ready for spring training."

By Chico Harlan  |  November 26, 2008; 2:13 PM ET
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Chico reports:

"He's undergoing therapy and, you know, he's had subsequent follow up appointments and everything checks out positively," Gary said. "There's nothing of concern; he's progressing. And the expectation is that he'll be ready for spring training."

My question is, spring training in which year?

(I crack myself up!)

Posted by: wigi | November 26, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Sweet! Time to scout all of the speedy, poor-contact, impatient, powerless middle infielders in the A's farm system. Maybe someone they got the Haren deal...? A former Diamondback perhaps???

Posted by: jctichen | November 26, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Apparently nothing there ... move along.

Posted by: natbisquit | November 26, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Roll on winter meetings! I'm beginning to feel like a teenager following celebrity gossip with all these break-then-are-swiftly-denied rumours. Gah!

Shame on Jim Bowden. He's usually made a few sickenly stupid moves by now.

Posted by: soundbloke | November 26, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Former Red GM Krivisky signed on with the Orioles which is non-news except for the fact that the Nats were not likely to trade with the Orioles nor any team that Krivisky worked for. So they consolidated. :)

(I think Andy MacPhail is a fine executive, but the only thing stopping Angelos from making the top 5 all-time worst owners list is Marge Schott, Jefrey Loria, Bob Short, Calvin Griffith, and MLB. After that its clear sailing for Angelos.)

Posted by: natbisquit | November 26, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

More importantly, Ladson also mentions Ryan Wagner was resigned to a minor league deal.

Wagner & Whitney & Orr, oh my.

Sorta like Teixeira and Hudson and Dunn, except from Syracuse's perspective.

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | November 26, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see Wagner given one more shot...

Posted by: goexpos2 | November 26, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Indeed good to see Wagner was resigned, I completely hope to see him back in 2006 form and part of our 2009 bullpen at some point.

Beane loves OBP guys, and Johnson is an OBP machine. It makes good sense for the A's to get a year out of him. Plus he's from Sacramento and it'd be a homecoming for NJ.

It would clear the way for someone else to play 1B ... but who? Clearly the Nats feel Dimitri Young is finished and will rot in AAA all year. Rhinehart and Marrero are at least a year away. I say convert Pena or Willingham to 1B (or sign Dunn and have Dunn and Willingham platoon between LF and 1B).

Posted by: tboss | November 26, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Johnson would be a classic Beane pick up. High OBP, cheap if healthy, just a 1 year gamble, can be flipped mid year if he is healthy. Pretty low risk. Barton is still young but is not developing power and had a disappointing year. I'd prefer any of their middle relievers.

As for MIs, how does a big power, low average, great glove guy like Ellis sound (yes, soundbloke, try putting that on an Oakland blog if I need to start the fireplace tomorrow).

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | November 26, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

tboss: Nice to hear another voice in the "WMP =1B-101 in ST" choir. I've been singing (seemingly) by myself since the end of the season. The problem is, with his shoulder, he might not be for daily play coming out of Viera - he may also become the 21st-century version of Dick Stuart (Dr. Strangeglove) with the Sawx in the 60's.

Posted by: BinM | November 26, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

jca: Nice pre-emptory strike on soundbloke. Don't necessarily think that a MI (like Ellis) would be a target for the Nats'; From OAK, they'd be more likely to for those "toolsy" mid-low MiL players JimBow is so fond of (ex, Affronti, C.Brown). Slick's a good player, but he's brittle - if the team can move him for much of anything, they need to do it. They'll just need a solid replacement (both offensive & defensive) if they swap him.

Posted by: BinM | November 26, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I love Nick Johnson and hope he hits .290-22-100 in 2009.

I just hope he does it somewhere else. I'd rather have a first baseman that doesn't hit that well but who I know will do we expect him to do.

Nick might play 30 games next year. God Bless him and let him play closer to his home in Sacramento.

Posted by: rushfari | November 26, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I can never use that again, simply because some A's fan proposed Johnson for Barton. Turns out people really will accept these bizarre trades we are proposing. I stand corrected, and shall never overestimate people again.

Posted by: soundbloke | November 26, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I think perhaps you are only overestimating Daric Barton. Every time I here him discussed by the "experts" it is in the context of an "over-rated" prospect. Someone they are hopeful of, but are not sold on. He's got a good eye, but that does not make him a future star. With that said, I don't expect the A's would consider a straight up swap of Johnson for Barton. We would have to return a prospect with Johnson. My current favorite target 1B is James Loney. Let's start a James Loney rumor. Maybe we could send Ken Rosenthal an anonymous email. Apparently he will print anything.

Posted by: natbisquit | November 26, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how much it cost in shipping to send all those crates of medical records.

Posted by: BergmannonMan | November 26, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

@natbisquit: The Rosenthal rumour brought a chuckle - thanks for that. How about Loney to the Nats for Alaniz or Detwiler & Guzman?

Posted by: BinM | November 26, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

@Bergman...: Faxing the data doesn't cost much - only the staff time to feed 500+ pages of reports into the machine, or compress the reports as an e-mail attachment (might take multiple sends to get it all).

Posted by: BinM | November 26, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

How about Nick Johnson to OAK for say, Santiago Casilla & Leonard Gil? Probably too much to ask for, but it's a starting point.

Posted by: BinM | November 26, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Just make sure when you start these rumours that you use the phrase "a source close to the deal said". This apparently covers all people from Scott Boras to 'Guy who washed Bowden's window on his way to the office'.

Ah, is it time to actually play yet? Maybe we could send Johnson to the Padres for Gonzalez? I'll e-mail Rosenthal and tell him the deal is in the works, one of you guys go post on mlb's hot stove blog that you heard it from someone close to Jim Bowden.

Posted by: soundbloke | November 26, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Chico, for the update on NJ's condition. I hope I'm wrong, but that didn't sound like a ringing endorsement from his agent.
Still, I really find it hard to believe those who seem to blame NJ for his injuries. Why not blame 1)Kearns or 2)the pitcher who hit him?

If Billy Beane wants him, to me, that raises his value. I hope he is the surprise of '09 and the comeback player of the year in a landslide.

Did I mention I like Nick Johnson?

Posted by: nats24 | November 28, 2008 1:55 AM | Report abuse

Santiago Casilla or Blevins were the two I had in mind. Fundamentally, I think a regular 1B is worth a decent MR.

Blokester - you convinced me to look for deals people have proposed for AGon, just to see how far off the wall my idea was (Milledge/ Johnson / $$$ / pitching prospect), and it convinced me that it was not possible because he is not on the block. In fairness (to me), look at the Peavy / Braves deal idea. It thought what I put together was not too far from that.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | November 28, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Funny you should mention it JCA but the A's are in the hunt for a left fielder. They are also looking at Johnson. I imagine that we would have to stick a lot in the package with Johnson to get Carlos Gonzalez but I would be curious how much.

Posted by: soundbloke | November 29, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Rather than say a specific trade, let's leave it as both having assets the other might like. They may need CF and RF to play along with Holliday, they have some high paid MIs, and they have plenty of middle relievers. I don't know if a bad contract for bad contract deal would be on the table.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | November 30, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

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