Friday, December 18, 2009

The Nick Johnson Trade Tree

With the Yankees on the verge of re-signing former top prospect Nick Johnson, I've been thinking about the trade that initially sent Johnson from The Bronx. It's the start of a very interesting trade tree.

On December 16, 2003, the Yankees sent Johnson, Juan Rivera, and Randy Choate to Montreal for Javier Vazquez.

Just over a year later, the Yankees flipped Vazquez, along with Brad Halsey and Dioner Navarro, to Arizona for Randy Johnson.

Two days short of two years later, the Yankees sent Johnson back to the desert for Luis Vizcaino, Steven Jackson, Alberto Gonzalez, and Ross Ohlendorf.

Vizcaino departed the Yankees as a free agent after the 2007 season. Jackson was DFA'd in 2009 and picked up by Pittsburgh for the waiver fee.

Alberto Gonzalez was sent to Washington at the 2008 deadline for Jhonny Nunez. Nunez was part of the package sent to the White Sox for Nick Swisher last November. Exploring the lineage of that trade is really interesting and lengthy and may be a post for another time. For now, let's just say it includes such luminaries as Kevin Brown, Jeff Weaver, Hideki Irabu, and Xavier Hernandez before finally concluding at Steve Sax.

Ross Ohlendorf was part of a package with Daniel McCutchen, Jeff Karstens, and Jose Tabata that was sent to Pittsburgh for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte.

So over the past six years, the Yankees surrendered Nick Johnson, Randy Choate, Juan Rivera, Brad Halsey, Dioner Navarro, Daniel McCutchen, Jeff Karstens, and Jose Tabata. All they have left to show for it is Damaso Marte, the waiver money from losing Steven Jackson, and a portion of the Nick Swisher trade.

They further received three years of mediocre pitching between Vazquez and Johnson, one year of relief from Luis Vizcaino during which he was abused into ineffectiveness by Joe Torre, and 276 plate appearances from Xavier Nady.

At least Nick's back now.


  1. Haha, well that's one way to look at it, Matt! I wouldn't mind having Daniel McCutchen in the outfield now.... and every time i hear Randy Johnson's name, I shudder how we chose him over Carlos Beltran. Grrrrrrr

  2. I think there's more to it than just who wound up where, but on this one at least it's pretty interesting to see how one trade begot another.

    Daniel McCutchen is a pitcher; but I'm with you. I wouldn't mind seeing Andrew McCutchen in the outfield.

  3. I'd say the Yankees overall have been dealing smartly then. Nick Johnson, Randy Choate, Juan Rivera, Brad Halsey, Dioner Navarro, Daniel McCutchen, Jeff Karstens, and Jose Tabata haven't exactly had Hall of Fame careers. In the meantime they got one pretty good year out of Randy Johnson, a great half a season out of Vazquez, and a World Series. I mean, just imagine if Phil Coke had to face Ryan Howard in all of those situations where Marte made him look silly.

  4. lets hope marte does this all season in2010

  5. Rob A:

    While Nick Johnson, Juan Rivera and Dioner Navarro aren't going to be in the hall of fame, they have all had good, productive careers so far (well, not yet for Navarro. too young). The whole trade breakdown showed how bad, knee-jerk trades and free agent signings to cover the bad trades can simply KILL a farm system.

    Juan Rivera is pretty much the same as Nick Swisher in terms of offensive production. The thing is...the yankees had him all along! They didn't have to trade for him like they did for Swisher!

    Dioner Navarro? He took a huge step back this year from his all-star year, but I'd say he's a better overall catcher than Molina, who is pretty much a black hole at the bottom of the lineup, not to mention slower than my great aunt on the bases when he does get a hit.

    Hindsight is 20/20, but it often times kills me to see prospects from the Yankees system play on other teams while the Yankees have to trade prospects or sign a free agent to fill a hole.

  6. Randy Johnson....skidder.

  7. I will say this---

    The Yankees got a great year out of Randy Johnson and Marte ultimately helped us in defeating a very strong group of Philly lefties in 2009.

    That's worth something, I guess.