If Nick Johnson does, in fact, sign a contract with the Yankees — and if he does, in fact, pass his subsequent physical — it will likely spell the end of Johnny Damon in pinstripes. The thinking was that if Damon returned, he would have shared time in the outfield with Melky Cabrera and Nick Swisher, and would have split time at DH with Jorge Posada. But with Johnson in the mix, that’s no longer really an option.
Johnson’s on-base numbers are impressive, so it’s easy to see why the Yankees would like to slot him in between Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira. But it does raise this question: If they’re willing to sign a full-time DH (Johnson won’t start at first, obviously, and they didn’t really need a backup there either), why wouldn’t they just keep Hideki Matsui for another year? It’s almost as if the Yankees are counting on the injury-prone Johnson to get hurt often enough to open up a spot for another DH (i.e., Posada) from time to time. Of course, they could just choose not to play Johnson every day. Or perhaps he’s been hurt so often that he can control which days of the week he’s unavailable. Now that would really be something.