Friday, November 27, 2009

Why Would D-Backs Want Nick Johnson?

Now, I get it. Why wouldn't the Diamondbacks want a hitter who has posted these OBP's in the past four seasons: .408, .428, .415 and .426?

The question isn't so much why would the Diamondbacks want Nick Johnson, but rather, is that the best way for that team to spend their money with Conor Jackson healthy again?

Arizona has numerous holes on their roster. Their current everyday second baseman has a career OPS of .646 against right-handers. Their rotation consists of Dan Haren, Max Scherzer, the rehabbing Brandon Webb, and two other question marks. The back of their bullpen consists of Chad Qualls, Juan Gutierrez and Aaron Heilman, which shouldn't exactly excite anyone.

The Diamondbacks already have their outfield set with Justin Upton, Gerardo Parra and Chris Young, and that leaves first base wide open for former top prospect Conor Jackson. You know, the same Conor Jackson that posted a .363 wOBA in everyday playing time during 2007-2008 and a 3.5 WAR in 2008? He missed most of 2009 with Valley Fever, but apparently he looked good in the Arizona Fall League and I don't see why Jackson wouldn't deserve everyday playing time if he's back at 100% for 2010.

I get that the Diamondbacks need to improve and first base is essentially the only spot in the lineup where they could get it. But what about hoping for continued development from Upton, Parra, Stephen Drew and Miguel Montero? Repeat season from Mark Reynolds and Ryan Roberts? Quality returns from Young and Jackson?

Given that Arizona's offense is flush with talent and offensive upside, albeit with large risk attached as well, I think that the Diamondbacks would be better off trying to address the holes in their pitching staff with the limited payroll flexibility that they have, pursuing pitchers that can eat innings rather than an injury-prone first baseman with a similar skill set to a younger first baseman that they already have.


  1. I have to agree, I am surprised that they would really want Johnson. I thought they would be focusing more on dealing Snyder for pitching/infield depth rather than Johnson, but i guess when you have a clone of Ryan Howard in your lineup, you want guys to get on base in front of him.

  2. Btw, from my D-backs fan in the house, he says that they plan to move Conor Jackson to the outfield because of how monumentally bad Chris Young was last year, and then stick Johnson at first.

  3. They have a couple options here. Jackson can move to left with Young and Parra battling fr center. This would open up first for Allen. Jackson can stay at first with Allen tuning up in AAA. This means you would have young in center and Parra in left. No clue why they would be thinking of Johnson. I wondered what the interest in Overbay was as well. Second is not as bad as it seems. Between Roberts, Ryal and Abreu they are pretty well covered. Your right Price they need seek out some pitching.

  4. Realistically, I think that the Diamondbacks are far, far more likely to go with Upton, Parra, Young and Byrnes as their primary outfielders, with Jackson as the everyday first baseman.

    Brandon Allen clearly needs more seasoning in AAA, and given how much money they owe Young ($24.25M through 2013, which includes the buyout on his 2014 option), it seems that they need to give him another shot before giving up on him.

    Parra profiles better in left field defensively than center, and the Diamondbacks will surely get production from the Jackson/Young combo than an Allen/Jackson combo.

    And there's this:

    Young posted a .239/.367/.467 line in his final 314 PA of 2009, showing an astonishingly high increase in his K/BB ratio, reflecting what could potentially be some clear improvement in his approach as a hitter