Marlins acquire Nick Johnson

According to FOX Sports.com, the Marlins have acquired first baseman Nick Johnson from the Nationals in exchange for Double-A left-hander Aaron Thompson. Washington will also pay the remainder of Johnson’s salary.

This is a nice trade for both clubs. For the Marlins, they get a solid bat in Johnson (when healthy of course) to help Hanley Ramirez at the top of the lineup. Florida now has a nice 1-2-3 punch in the middle of their order with Johnson, Ramirez and Jorge Cantu.

Not only that, but the Nationals reportedly wanted Ryan Tucker in a deal for Johnson, who is a much better prospect than Thompson. So for the Marlins to not only acquire Johnson and get the Nats to pay the remainder of his salary, but also not have to give up a prospect like Tucker was a win-win-win.

In the end, this was a nice move for Washington as well. Johnson becomes a free agent at the end of the season and while he’s a solid hitter, he’s been injury-prone for most of his career and the Nats still got a decent prospect (Thompson) in return. They essentially got something for nothing seeing as how Johnson wasn’t going to be a part of the club next year anyway.

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The five most (potentially) intriguing names on the MLB trade market

With the All-Star break quickly approaching, many MLB teams are trying to figure out whether or not they’ll be buyers or sellers later this month. It’s a tricky game front offices must play, because they don’t want to alienate their fans by suggesting that their club is already out of contention with half the season left to go, but teams also don’t want to miss out on adding a piece for the future because they’re hanging onto a veteran that won’t play a significant role down the line.

That said, I’ve compiled a ranking of the five most intriguing names that either are on the trade market, or could be. Granted, every player outside of guys named Pujols, Jeter and Howard could potentially be on the trade market, but I tried to keep the list to only those names that continue to pop up in the weekly rumor mill, whether their teams have officially those names as available or not.

Two names you won’t find on the list are Dan Haren and Jake Peavy, even though they have been brought up in various trade rumors. The Diamondbacks aren’t going to trade Haren unless some team offers a ridiculous package (as in multiple top prospects) and Peavy’s injury situation has all but killed his trade value. I would be shocked if either player gets dealt this season.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Beltre, DeRosa and Washburn

According to SI.com, the Mariners have yet to receive any interest for third baseman Adrian Beltre, who Seattle would love to move because he’s in the last year of his $64 million contract.

– One name that continues to be involved almost daily on the rumor mill is Indians utility man Mark DeRosa. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Cardinals and Yankees have expressed interest in DeRosa, but neither are willing to give up young pitching like Cleveland covets.

– The Mets are rumored to be interested in DeRosa, Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson and Orioles one-bagger Aubrey Huff, but Newsday’s Ken Davidoff writes that the club shouldn’t make any stupid trades just to fill a spot while Carlos Beltran is on the DL.

MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks could become sellers soon and that pitchers Doug Davis and Jon Garland, as well as second baseman Felipe Lopez could all be on the trade block.

– The Phillies want to add an arm, but the pitchers they’re looking at (Erik Bedard, Jake Peavy, Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo and Jason Marquis) are either hurt or playing for contending teams.

– The Dodgers have interest in Seattle pitcher Jarrod Washburn according to MLB Fanhouse and Juan Pierre’s name has come up as a potential trade piece.

2009 MLB Preview: #29 Washington Nationals

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Offseason Movement: Perhaps the Nats’ biggest addition was 1B/OF Adam Dunn, who will add some pop to the lineup, as well as a fair amount of strikeouts. Washington also acquired OF Josh Willingham and LHP Scott Olsen in a trade with the Marlins and signed free agents Daniel Cabrera, Alex Cintron and Javier Valentin. In the deal to land Willingham and Olsen, the Nationals agreed to send 2B Emilio Bonifaci, INF Jake Smolinski and RHP P.J. Dean to Florida.

Top Prospect: Jordan Zimmerman, RHP
Zimmermann is a serious Rookie of the Year candidate and is turning in a fantastic spring. As of this writing, he has allowed only six hits, two walks and has struck out 16 batters over 12 1/3 scoreless innings. He seems to be over shadowed on a national level, but that’s mostly because the Nationals have yet to officially hand him a spot in the starting rotation. But that should change soon and as long as he doesn’t let the bright lights of the Big Leagues eat him alive, the 22-year old could be a future star.

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