Nationals had to trade Nick Johnson
Interim general manager Mike Rizzo didn’t have a choice but to trade Nick Johnson because the latter did not want to negotiate an extension with the Nationals. Johnson, by the way, is looking for a two-year deal.
If Johnson filed for free agency without being traded, there was a good possibility he could have been listed as a C-type player, which means the Nationals wouldn’t get a compensation pick if Johnson signed elsewhere.
As Rizzo found out before the Trade Deadline, there wasn’t much of a market for Johnson. Only the Giants, Marlins and Rangers had interest in Johnson.
The Rangers weren’t willing to give up anything significant for Johnson, so they were out of the picture immediately.
Johnson ranked third on the Giants’ wish list when it came to acquiring a first baseman. Ryan Garko was clearly San Francisco’s No. 1 choice.
The Marlins were the only team that showed any strong interest. The Nationals were not going to budge unless pitcher Aaron Thompson was in the deal. With 17 minutes left before the deadline, the two teams agreed to terms. The Nationals also gave the Marlins $1.5 million.