Instead of signing a third baseman, the Red Sox could also move Kevin Youkilis across the diamond to third and sign a first baseman. One free agent that stands out is Nick Johnson, a left-handed hitter who had an .831 OPS last season for the Nationals and Marlins.
Johnson's agent, Rex Gary, acknowledged Tuesday morning that he has spoken to the Red Sox. Boston's level of interest, however, is still unknown.
Johnson fits "the mold" of what the Red Sox are looking for in a player. He gets on base at a great clip (lifetime 16.1 BB%) and ... well, that's pretty much it. He's a power threat though (lifetime .849 OPS) which is kind of nice for this lineup. Defensively, he had a down year in 2009, racking up a combined -6.6 UZR/150 between the Nationals and Marlins. But prior that he was above average.
Johnson's biggest knock is the simple fact he can't stay healthy. He may be an OBP machine, but he's only played more than 130 games a season three times in his eight-year career. Bill James predicts 124 games out of Johnson next year.
Word is that Johnson is seeking a two-year deal.