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Nick Johnson a good fit for Sox

Posted by Tony Massarotti, Globe Staff  December 9, 2009 01:51 PM

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The Red Sox, like many teams, are dealing with a number of moving parts this offseason, but here’s a name that should be on your radar if it is not already: Nick Johnson.

With the need for both offense and a corner infielder, the 31-year-old Johnson could be a perfect fit for the Red Sox in an array of scenarios. Depending on how the team perceives Mike Lowell and David Ortiz -- be them platoon partners at designated hitter or something else -- the Sox could put Johnson at first base and move Kevin Youkilis to third.

Nagged by injuries throughout his career, Johnson has a career on-base percentage of .402 and is regarded as a very good defender, a skill set that makes him a perfect fit for the Sox. He also would improve the lineup from the left side, an area in which the Sox had some difficulty last year given the struggles of David Ortiz and a mid-season dip by J.D. Drew.

Any Sox interest in Johnson could depend on their ability to move Lowell by trade or, perhaps, on the length of contract being pursued by the player. Johnson made $5.5 million this year in the final year of a three-year, $16.5 million contract, but his injury history could affect his ability to secure a long-term deal on the open market.

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