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Nick Johnson is likely to make the Orioles … “if healthy”

Mar 2, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

Baltimore Orioles infielder Johnson reaches for a grounder during workouts at the team's spring training complex in Sarasota Reuters

When it comes to Nick Johnson, using the “if healthy” caveat makes anything that follows sound sort of silly, but manager Buck Showalter indicated yesterday that the perpetually injured first baseman is likely to make the Orioles out of spring training … if healthy.

“I think he brings some things that I’d really like to have our guys feed off of with some of the on-base percentage and deep counts,” Showalter told Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun.

Johnson is one of just 10 active hitters with at least 2,500 career plate appearances and an on-base percentage above .400, and the other nine guys on the list have all been superstars: Todd Helton, Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez, Lance Berkman, Joey Votto, Jason Giambi, Joe Mauer, Jim Thome, Chipper Jones.

Of course, the problem with Johnson is that he’s 33 years old and has a total of just 3,214 plate appearances. He also hasn’t been healthy since 2009, when he batted 574 times for the Nationals, walked more (99) than he struck out (84), and got on base at a .426 clip to rank second among NL hitters.

At this point I’d certainly bet against Johnson being healthy and staying healthy, but if he can somehow manage to avoid the disabled list I’d also bet on him posting an excellent on-base percentage. Getting hurt and getting on base are simply what he does.

  1. phukyouk - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    NICK JOHNSON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i sure hoe that cashman signs him

    • deathmonkey41 - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:46 PM

      Ugh- thinking Nick Johnson could replace Hideki Matsui= Enormous Fail.

  2. uyf1950 - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    It boggles the mind why teams continue to give this guy a deal.

    • explodet - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:02 AM

      Your mind must be very easily boggled then.

      • uyf1950 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:17 AM

        …and you must not be familiar with Johnson’s injury history. In 5 years (2007/2011) he’s played in approximately 195 games and made $22MM. That’s an average of less than 40 games a year.

      • explodet - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:19 PM

        And yet he’s making $10 mil a year. Er, wait, no. He’s on a minor league contract and will cost a whole zero dollars if he isn’t healthy.

      • uyf1950 - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:32 PM

        explodet – you might want to read my reply to cereal blogger below. BTW, you do realize even though he’s signed to a minor league deal the O’s have to pay him something. So your comment about his cost being and I quote “a whole zero dollars if he isn’t healthy”, is complete inaccurate.

    • cur68 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      C’mon uyf, Aaron explained why: gaudy OBP. What kills me is that no one understands that Nick Johnson’s bones are made of chalk and his muscles of cheese. Its not his fault there’s only so much strain gouda can take before it parts company from the organic sedimentary rock. And, lets face it, organic sedimentary rock isn’t exactly known for its durability.

      At any rate, all humour in questionable taste aside, I hope things work out for him this season. He doesn’t seem like a bad guy and the Orioles could sure use a break.

      • contraryguy - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:31 AM

        Regarding the notion that old stats are worth a contract: in 53 games last year in AAA, 216 PA, Johnson’s OBP: .316. K to BB ratio: 2/1. Extra base hits: 12. Where do you hit a guy like that? 7th, 8th?

        9th?

        for comparison, an OBP of .316 would put him somewhere between Drew Stubbs who struck out 205 times, and had an OBP of .321, and Adam Dunn, who did everything wrong and OBP’ed at .292.

        I don’t dislike Nick but just sayin, unless he goes huge in spring training, it’s gotta be close to over for him.

      • cur68 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:37 AM

        I’m not saying that old stats are worth anything, just that his old stats are why he’s got a chance, is all. Frankly, he really doesn’t have much of a chance IMO. All talk of chalk & cheese aside, his age alone will see to it that those numbers he once put up are but a memory. I wish him well, though. I hope he can do it (just not against the Blue Jays, of course).

    • cereal blogger - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:25 AM

      Any of the guys on the list Gleeman mentions including Johnson are worth a minor league deal if they are still willing to give it a go

      • uyf1950 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:30 AM

        I wasn’t questioning the fact that he got a minor league deal. My initial comment revolved around the comment ” Buck Showalter indicated yesterday that the perpetually injured first baseman is likely to make the Orioles out of spring training … if healthy.” It should be if he’s healthy and can STAY healthy.

  3. contraryguy - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    He spent half of last season here in Columbus on the triple-A team. And batted .201. Didn’t see much life in him in the games that I attended. Good luck to him and any franchise bad off enough to need him.

    • cereal blogger - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:27 AM

      Terrelle Pryor

  4. koufaxmitzvah - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    Je me souviens les Expos!

  5. aceshigh11 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Good luck with that.

    This guy gets injured pouring himself a cup of coffee.

  6. buffalomafia - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Hey guys johnson isn’t worth minimum wage! He gets hurt every year!

    Just like zimmerman I have to drop johnson on my fantasy bb team cause hecis always hurt?

  7. pisano - Mar 3, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    If he makes the team, and makes it to the all star break without breaking down, it will be the true eighth wonder of the world!

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