Hendry Focusing On Nick Johnson; Won’t Spend Big


If you were one of the few fans that were looking forward to seeing Adam Dunn belt out home runs for the Chicago Cubs next season, be prepared to be heavily disappointed. As Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times reports what we should all know by now, and that is that Jim Hendry will not be spending big money in Free Agency. What this means is that you can scratch Adam Dunn, and Cliff Lee of your list of free agent hopefuls.

Instead of focusing on Adam Dunn, Wittenmyer reports that Hendry’s “focus” appears to be on a first baseman who is looking to bounce back from an injury riddled season.

"With a payroll budget that figures to leave little room for big-shot free agents, indications are that general manager Jim Hendry is focusing more on the likes of lefty-hitting Nick Johnson — if the medicals look good enough — for first base and is keeping an eye on former Cub Kerry Wood’s status for a possible bullpen job. CHICAGO SUN TIMES"

So, Nick Johnson is going to be the “big name” acquisition by the Chicago Cubs, if in fact these reports are true. The 32 year old Johnson signed a one year contract with the Yankees last off-season, but he wound up playing only 24 games before a wrist injury ended his season.

Throughout his carer, Johnson has never been considered to be much of a power hitter. His highest home run total of his career came in 2006 when he hit 23 big flies for the Washington Nationals. However, while he is not a power hitter, he has been a productive hitter when he has been healthy. When he has stayed healthy, Johnson has typically been a .290 hitter, with around 70 RBI’s per season.

However, as the Sun Times report said, the Cubs first have to make sure his medical reports look good. Johnson had surgery on his right wrist in may, and was originally scheduled to come back to the Yankees at some point in August. But, during the month of July, Johnson suffered a setback and was consequently shelved for the rest of the season. There is a strong chance though, that Johnson should be ready to go and completely recovered by the time Spring Training rolls around.

To be honest, I thing adding Nick Johnson, if healthy, is a smart move by the Chicago Cubs. Because, considering that he was injured this past season, he is going to come at a reduced rate than many of the other free agent first basemen. While he may not be the stereotypical power hitter that many associate first base with, he is a solid veteran leader, and usually hits for a high average when healthy. Plus, it is likely that the Cubs are looking at Johnson for only one year, giving themselves the flexibility to go after potential free agents like Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, and Prince Fielder in 2012.

The Sun Times report also mentioned that the Cubs are keeping an eye on Kerry Wood, and figure to add a Starting Pitcher this winter.

What do you think about the news out of Sun Times? Are you glad the Cubs are not going to waste a bunch of money on Adam Dunn, or did you want them to keep spending like they have in the past. Remember, Free Agency begins Sunday Morning at 12:00 AM.