What Will Happen To Nick Johnson?

Gabriel SmithContributor IOctober 14, 2009

WASHINGTON - AUGUST 06:  First baseman Nick Johnson #20 of the Florida Marlins prepares to take the field against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 6, 2009 in Washington, DC. The Nationals defeated the Marlins 12-8.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Nick Johnson, the player that came to the Marlins in the final minutes of the trade deadline, is now a free agent. 

To obtain Johnson, the Marlins had to send starting pitcher Aaron Thompson to the Washington Nationals.

Nick is known for his patience at the plate. During his '09 season he posted a .426 on base percentage—which leads all free agents.

He may not have very good power numbers, but if a team needs consistency he provides it.

During his 35 games with the Marlins, he walked 36 times and was consistently on base every time Hanley was at the plate. 

He not only provides a good on-base percentage, but he also provides a veteran presence in the club house. He has encyclopedic knowledge on almost every pitcher in the game.

His presence and knowledge molded young players like Chris Coghlan into true professionals—and that is something that not every player can give.

He fit in perfectly with the Marlins lineup, and was proof that the Marlins were gonna stay alive until the last week of the season. 

His arrival to the Marlins was a successful one...only when he played.

See, Nick is a fantastic player, but he comes with a downside. He gets injured A LOT.

He missed all of the '07 season with a broken leg, only played 38 games for the Nats in '08, and was placed on the DL this season with the Marlins—due to a tight hamstring.

See, Nick is probably looking for a two-year 16 million dollar deal, which may be out of the price range for the Marlins. But if they are serious about going to the playoffs, they should at least try and give him the best offer available.

He has also shown interest in continuing to play in Florida, which I guess is a bonus for the Marlins.

But I don't think that offering him a contract is that simple. The Marlins are looking at signing Josh Johnson to a multi-year deal and Ricky Nolasco is looking to get a pretty hefty raise. 

The Marlins also have prospect Logan Morrison coming up, and don't forget Gaby Sanchez, who could probably get a spot in the opening day starting lineup in the '10 season.

The last thing the Marlins want to do is block these great prospects to some playing time.

Other teams have shown interest in him that fit in his price range include SF Giants and Texas Rangers.

Both of these teams could use a consistent player like  Johnson to add some consistency to their shaky lineups, but it is a tough decision because both of them already have decent first basemen. 

Nick is possibly one of the best veteran players out there and any team should want him, especially a young team. He has provided a lot to many teams throughout his career, including knowledge and patience to this young Marlins lineup. 

If you're wondering about the possibility of Johnson coming back to the Marlins, I'd say it is very slim. But there is no reason to be sad about it.

As I mentioned, the Marlins have a bright future in the first base position and his departure may even provide an opening for Logan Morrison—one of the most regarded prospects in the majors to take a spot in opening day.