Jays/Johnson

The Toronto Blue Jays are getting a good look this weekend at a player who would fit really well in their own lineup: Nick Johnson.

Whether J.P. Ricciardi & Co. are taking this opportunity to discuss a possible deal with the Nationals is unknown, but this blogger says it would be a good idea for the Jays to throw their hat into the sweepstakes to land Johnson, who is almost surely going to be moved before the trade deadline.

Nick-JohnsonAs ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark pointed out in a recent article, Nick Johnson is at the top of a long list of Washington players likely available to be acquired by other teams. The primary reason? He’s a free agent after the ’09 season. And the Nationals would be wise to move the slugger for pieces that may help the club down the road (they’re certainly not going anywhere this year with a 20-46 record through Saturday).

From Toronto’s viewpoint, Johnson would be a great fit in their lineup. He’s a solid left-handed bat with a track record of getting on base at a great clip. Entering action Saturday night, he had a .399 career OBP and a .424 mark in 65 games this season (good for seventh in the NL). He was also batting .315 (74-for-235) with five home runs and 32 RBIs.

Johnson could assume full-time designated hitter duties with the Blue Jays, who are in need of one since Adam Lind is now playing left field on a regular basis (which will continue into the foreseen future since Travis Snider is nowhere close to returning to the majors with a back injury). Johnson would be an upgrade over Kevin Millar, who has seen the majority of time in the DH slot for the Jays recently. In June, Millar has gone just 4-for-31 (.129) with one home run in nine games as the DH.

If the Jays needed any more evidence of Johnson’s abilities, they received it during the first two games of their current series against the Nationals. The 30-year-old went 3-for-3 with three walks during a 2-1 Washington win Friday night, and went 2-for-2 with a walk in his first three plate appearances on Saturday before grounding out in the eighth inning. In other words, he reached safely in each of his first nine plate appearances during the series.

Notes: Jays third baseman Scott Rolen extended his season-high hit streak to 10 games Saturday night (a 5-3, 12-inning Toronto loss), going 2-for-5 with an RBI. During the streak, Rolen is batting .455 (20-for-44) … Vernon Wells finally put an end to the longest homerless streak of his career. His sixth inning solo shot off Ross Detwiler was his first long ball in 161 at bats … Marco Scutaro has cooled off a bit at the plate recently. Over his last seven games, the Jays’ shortstop has gone 6-for-29 (.207). Still, he’s recorded more walks (7) than strikeouts (3) during that span.

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