Print and Go Back ESPN.com: SweetSpot [Print without images]

Monday, December 21, 2009
The meaning of Nick Johnson


The Giants didn't get Nick Johnson, and the Oakland Tribune's Gary Peterson knows why:
But it's not just the A's and the Twins, right? The Brewers were in the playoffs last year ago. The Rockies -- with a $75 million payroll -- were in the playoffs this year, and they were in the World Series just a couple of years ago.

This is just stale soup. We know it's easier to win with money. We also know that with a bit of luck and intelligence, you can win without a lot of money. The Giants, as Peterson notes, can afford a middle-of-the-road payroll. Further, if Nick Johnson's really what they need to get over the top, then overpaying by a million bucks shouldn't be all that hard to justify.

Not that I'm telling the Giants how to spend their money. But I'm not sure that first base should be one of their top priorities. At least Travis Ishikawa might be good enough, eventually (particularly if he's got a decent platoon partner). The last time I checked, the Giants don't have even one outfielder who's going to put up National League-average numbers. I know there aren't many outfielders available this winter. But there aren't many first basemen, either. I would rather have Johnny Damon than Adam LaRoche.