Dec 17, 2009, 7:32 PM EDT
According to Newsday’s Ken Davidoff, free agent Nick Johnson will return to where he began his career and sign a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the Yankees.
It seems like quite a bargain, though Johnson isn’t necessarily any better of a bet for the Yankees than Hideki Matsui would have been. Johnson can still play the field pretty well, but the Yankees won’t need him there and will make him a full-time DH instead. The signing goes against the reasoning used against re-signing Matsui: the Yankees wanted to go with a revolving door at DH to give their older regulars more time off. However, Johnson will do some sitting against left-handers and he’s likely to miss some time over the course of the year.
For fantasy purposes, Johnson just went from fringe property to potential stud. The Yankees wanted him largely because of his annual .400 OBP, but he could also be good for 20 homers with the short porch in right field in Yankee Stadium and he’s a significantly better bet to stay healthy as a DH. If the Yankees fail to re-sign Johnny Damon, Johnson would be a better option in the two-hole in the lineup than fellow newcomer Curtis Granderson. No, he doesn’t have much speed, but the Yankees don’t need their No. 2 hitter stealing bases with Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez up anyway.
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