Skip to content

Report: Nick Johnson chooses retirement at age 34

Jan 28, 2013, 6:15 PM EDT

nick johnson getty Getty Images

Former Yankees, Nationals and Orioles first baseman Nick Johnson, one of the great what-ifs of the last 15 years, has opted for retirement, WFAN’s Sweeny Murti reports.

A phenomenal hitting talent, Johnson missed his first full season in the Yankees system before even arriving in the majors. He hit .345/.525/.548 in 132 games in Double-A in 1999, then sat out 2000 because of a wrist injury that required surgery. He debuted with the Bombers in 2001, but he struggled to establish himself as he continued to deal with wrist problems. After he hit .284/.422/.472 in 96 games as a 24-year-old in 2003, the Yankees traded him, Juan Rivera and Randy Choate to the Expos for Javier Vazquez.

Johnson played 4 1/2 seasons for the Expo-Nats and had his best year in 2006, hitting .290/.428/.520 with a career-high 23 homers and 77 RBI in 147 games. Unfortunately, his season ended on Sept. 23, when he suffered a broken leg in a collision with Austin Kearns. He went on to miss the entire 2007 campaign, and although he returned in 2008, he played in just 38 games then due to a torn wrist ligament.

Johnson’s last hurrah came in 2009, when he hit .291/426/.405 in 133 games for the Nationals and Marlins. He finished second in the NL in OBP to Albert Pujols. After that, he played in 24 games with the Yankees in 2010, missed the 2011 season and then played in 38 games with the Orioles last year.

Johnson, now 34, finishes his career with a .268/.399/.441 line in 2,698 at-bats over 10 seasons. That .399 OBP is 62nd all-time for players with at least 3,000 plate appearances. Had Johnson been able to avoid his initial wrist problems and stay relatively healthy, it’s pretty easy to imagine him putting together a career in which he had a few .300 seasons, several top-three finishes in OBP and maybe 300 homers over 15-18 seasons. Maybe that’s not a Hall of Famer, but with the possible .420 OBP, some would have argued for him.

Latest Posts
  1. The benches cleared in Toronto, too

    Aug 2, 2015, 4:27 PM EDT

    Josh Donaldson Josh Donaldson

    The Blue Jays and Royals weren’t very friendly to each other on Sunday.

  2. The Reds’ and Pirates’ benches cleared after Brandon Phillips was hit with a pitch

    Aug 2, 2015, 3:56 PM EDT

    Brandon Phillips Brandon Phillips

    Cincinnati hosted one of two benches-clearing incidents in baseball on Sunday.

  3. The Cubs are considering Chase Utley

    Aug 2, 2015, 3:35 PM EDT

    Chase Utley Chase Utley

    Injured Phillies second baseman Chase Utley is a potential August acquisition consideration for the Cubs.

  4. Brad Ausmus says he’ll “probably” go with Alex Wilson as the Tigers’ closer

    Aug 2, 2015, 2:45 PM EDT

    Alex Wilson Alex Wilson

    Brad Ausmus has a candidate to handle save situations following the Joakim Soria trade.

  5. Giancarlo Stanton’s recovery from hamate bone surgery “definitely slower” than expected

    Aug 2, 2015, 1:55 PM EDT

    Giancarlo Stanton Giancarlo Stanton

    Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton might not return in mid-August as originally anticipated.

  6. Red Sox place Rick Porcello on the disabled list with a triceps injury

    Aug 2, 2015, 1:01 PM EDT

    Rick Porcello Getty Images

    Red Sox starter Rick Porcello heads to the disabled list with a triceps injury.

  7. Video: Jorge Soler robbed Khris Davis of a home run

    Aug 2, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    Nice catch

    Note: that is not his hand or glove.

  8. Settling the Scores: Saturday’s results

    Aug 2, 2015, 8:25 AM EDT

    Cole Hamels

    Cole Hamels’ Texas debut didn’t go too well.

  9. Report: Dodgers only picking up $500,000 in acquisition of Bronson Arroyo

    Aug 1, 2015, 11:30 PM EDT

    Bronson Arroyo Bronson Arroyo

    The Dodgers aren’t paying much of Bronson Arroyo’s tab at all.

  10. Athletics designate Eric O’Flaherty for assignment

    Aug 1, 2015, 10:45 PM EDT

    Eric O'Flaherty Eric O'Flaherty

    Struggling lefty reliever Eric O’Flaherty was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Saturday.

  11. Chad Billingsley heading back to L.A. to have his elbow examined

    Aug 1, 2015, 10:05 PM EDT

    Chad Billingsley Chad Billingsley

    Chad Billingsley will meet with a doctor in L.A. He’s dealing with more elbow problems.

  12. Lucas Duda’s last eight hits have been home runs

    Aug 1, 2015, 9:33 PM EDT

    Lucas Duda Lucas Duda

    Lucas Duda doesn’t want to run the bases.

  13. Steven Souza, Jr. will go on the disabled list with a broken hand

    Aug 1, 2015, 9:02 PM EDT

    Steven Souza, Jr. Steven Souza, Jr.

    Steven Souza, Jr. was hit by a pitch and suffered a broken hand, so he’ll hit the disabled list for a spell.

  14. Rays to demote struggling lefty Matt Moore to Triple-A

    Aug 1, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Matt Moore Matt Moore

    Rays lefty Matt Moore will try to fix himself in a low-pressure environment, as the Rays will demote him following Saturday’s poor start against the Red Sox.

  15. Joe Maddon: Kyle Schwarber stays when Miguel Montero returns

    Aug 1, 2015, 8:10 PM EDT

    Kyle Schwarber Kyle Schwarber

    Kyle Schwarber is staying in the big leagues when Miguel Montero returns, which is bad news for opposing pitchers.

  16. Report: Larry Lucchino stepping down as president and CEO of the Red Sox

    Aug 1, 2015, 7:19 PM EDT

    Larry Lucchino Larry Lucchino

    There’s a shakeup in the Red Sox front office, as Larry Lucchino is stepping down from his role as president and CEO.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. C. Gomez (5586)
  2. C. Hamels (5382)
  3. T. Tulowitzki (4638)
  4. Y. Cespedes (4069)
  5. M. Trout (3925)
  1. D. Price (3656)
  2. T. Clippard (3352)
  3. G. Parra (3246)
  4. T. Ross (3244)
  5. J. Reyes (3199)