FOXSports.com reports that the Florida Marlins are making a ‘strong push,’ for the Nationals’ first basemen Nick Johnson.
The Marlins reportedly have offered the Nationals a deal of one pitching prospect in return for Johnson. The two names being discussed are AA left-hander Aaron Thompson and AAA right-hander Ryan Tucker.
Tucker was a first round pick for the Marlins in 2005 out of high school. The 22-year-old righty was ranked as the Marlins fifth best prospect by Baseball America this offseason, and was said to have the organizations best fastball. Tucker however has had some injury problems this year, which has hampered his development. Despite his knee injuries he is back on the mound and pitching in AAA.
Aaron Thompson is another former first round pick for the Marlins, and another high school talent. The lefty has been extremely successful through high A ball but in the last two years he has been stuck in AA. This isn’t too uncalled for as a high school talent, but it is a slight sign of concern. So far in 20 starts in AA this season, Thompson is 5-9 with a 4.11 ERA. He has struck out 75 in 114 innings and has walked 43.
The Marlins are targeting Johnson for an unexpected playoff run. The Fish are a surprising 53-48 and are only 2 games out of the Wild Card with 61 contests remaining. After a rough start the Marlins went 17-9 in June and 12-9 in July.
The Marlins current first basemen is Jorge Cantu, their clean up hitter. The Marlins must be planning on moving Cantu across the diamond to third for the rest of the year, as Johnson can play pretty much one position, and on position only.
As Johnson is a free agent at the end of this year, he will essentially be a rent-a-play for the club. They will get the slugging first baseman for two months for just under two million dollars.