Cubs Sign Reed Johnson

Bruce Levine on ESPN1000 is reporting that the Cubs have come to terms with recently released Blue Jay Reed Johnson. Johnson was a 17th round pick of the Blue Jays in 1999, back when Tim Wilkin was running things over there and I'm sure the connection helped his cause with the Cubs. He's mostly played the corner outfield spots in his career, but has played 64 games in center in the majors. He had a great 2006, hitting 319/390/479, but has a career line of 281/342/410 with little ability to steal a base. He's also coming off a back injury that derailed his 2007 season. His scouting report on TSN.ca says:

Hustle is his strongest suit. He makes consistent contact and hits well
with runners in scoring position--especially against lefties.

Hustle? Mix that with a little grit and you've got yourself a ballpayer.

BP projected him at 262/324/387 this year which certainly isn't encouraging. On the other hand, he's hit 308/371/462 versus lefties over his career, and that'll likely be his primary role with the Cubs. It's a low-risk, high reward deal for the Cubs to fill out the need for a right-handed hitting center field option. If he stinks up the joint, he'll be easy to cut, and if he hits and plays "good enough" center field defense, it'll be a wise, low-cost move that didn't cost us any trade chips.

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it'll be interesting to see what this does for the Cubs bench...

Epat got sent down today, but will this cost Murton his job?

Blanco, Ward, Johnson seem set

Two spots for

Murton, Fontenot, Cedeno and Cintron 

Cedeno is out of options, so he seems like a no-brainer and that means one spot for Murton, Fontenot or Cintron. It'll depend if they want an extra infielder or outfielder. 

Gotta think that Murton and Cedeno are the two there, unless Cedeno gets shipped out for Roberts. In that case, of course, the bench gets much better. Murton's of no value in the minors and the Cubs probably want him up in case Fuku has trouble with lefties. Cintron's had a few injuries - might he start the year on the DL?

Murton might have more value in trade if we kept him in the minors to "save" his Free Agent clock, so I could see them keeping Cintron, especially because Dero can be used in the OF.

Murton should see plenty of PT with KFuk's struggles against LHP and Soriano's gimpy legs. No reason you cannot get 200-225 at bats out of him at this point. He has more value on the roster than he does in a trade at this point, IMHO.

A Very Cubby comment -- but, right now, this is a fun team to root for. From an outsider's perspective (and having briefly met the players/coaches with my 10-year old son at a "meet the team" function at Wrigley last year):

- Ward, Theriot, DeRosa and Dempster seem like very good guys who you enjoy rooting for
- Kerry Wood represents everything Chicagoans want to see in themselves - talented, tough and resilient
- It will be fun to watch Pie and Fukudome play the OF and gun down runners
- Zambrano could be great
- Lee and Ramirez bring stability to the lineup and have been fixtures for a while
- Marmol coming into a game is an electric event
- Rich Hill's curve can be a thing of beauty

Never sure about the "chemistry" thing, but this would be a fun bunch to get behind.

Oh come on, it has to be Murton & Cedeno. What kind of team would send those two down to the minors when they'll obviously need them mid-season?

....oh wait

I like it. Low risk, decent reward.

Also, quote of the day, which I saw on Yahoo.

"Apparently, J.D. Drew is in midseason form."

Brilliant.

While I mocked the idea of Johnson losing his spot to Eckstein in the previous thread, I do like this deal.

It does seem like a very low risk, moderate reward deal.

And if he can just be decent against LHP, he will be able to fill his needed role.

but I kinda hope we don't just run Johnson out there to start the year. It's time that we give Pie a decent shot, and hurting his confidence by platooning him is not the way to go. Hopefully Johnson is a bench player that can become a platoon (or, ugh, regular) player if needed.

That won't be an issue, at least right off the bat.

Pie will be starting in CF, Johnson will be a bench player.

Unless Pie does some really bad playing in the next couple of games or gets hurt, I think he will be playing the majority of the games

Hey..until Pie can hit at leat .670 in ST, he has no business in the majors...
After all, the Cubs have soured on him.....I bet we can get Juan Pierre for Pie, Murton, and Gallagher?

(please note sarcasm)

Throw in Pat Burrell and you have a deal.

Murton's OBP, nice average (even though ST), and the fact that he gets his uniform soiled often, should be the guy getting the gig.

Fonty is...well, Fonty. With Ward, Dome, and Pie, its probably gonna be enough.

DeRosa and Dumb-ass Ronny should be sufficient to cover IF replacement needs, I'd think.

Kinda shows why most other fans think Cub fans are not too bright-

http://deadspin.com/371030/baseball-season-preview...

pretty sure the writer was leaning heavy on the sarcasm there....


that being said, it was obviously turned in a few days or weeks ago and they could have bothered to try and update it before they printed it.

I know, but he had the Cubs beating the Pirates for their last World Series victory in Wrigley Field.

Cmon.

yeah, that was quite an oversight....



That wasn't the only oversight.

There was this:

Add Fuko to the mix, and the Cubs now have four .300 hitters capable of 40-45 home runs and 100-125 RBIs.

I will tell you this... if the Cubs have 4 guys who hit 40+ homeruns, they will be in the World Series.

And although Soriano will probably insist on leading off, with Barrett finally gone, this year he should get more chances to knock in hitters from the bottom of the order.

Umm... what? I have no idea how Barrett being gone will have anything to do with Soriano have more to knock in.

Oh yea... and they are going to "sign" Roberts?

the Cubs now have four .300 hitters capable of 40-45 home runs and 100-125 RBIs.

I would be willing to bet we don't have one guy who hits 40 HR's, let alone bats .300 AND gets 100 RBI's.

But we do have 3 that are capable (Alf, ARam and Lee), but there is no way in the world K-Fuk puts up those kind of numbers, not even close.

I'm going to consider that it being a column for Deadspin, known for its sarcasm, and give the writer the benefit of the doubt and assume he was kidding around on the projections and the Barrett bashing.


But, the sarcasm is funnier if you get your facts straight...

Clearly it was Michael Barrett who confused the facts for this poor writer. MB just can't leave people alone.

$1.3 MM? I mean, who were they bidding against? It's not a ton of money, but it looks like he's already getting 750K from the Jays. They couldn't have offered him league min or 500K?

Roster has really shaken itself out.

Soto
Lee
DeRosa
Theriot
Ramirez
Sori
Pie
KFuk
Blanco
Ward
Reed Johnson
Murton
Cedeno

With Fontenot in Iowa if an infielder goes down and Fuld/EPatt there if an outfielder goes down.

Fwiw, Johnson is still 2 years from free agency, so the Cubs have his rights for next year if they want them. He'll be arbitration eligible of course, but relatively cheap.

I have a question...Johnson had a relatively large contract with the Blue Jays, no? And since he was released, they're on the hook for most of it, correct? So if the Cubs go to arbitration, are they responsible for offering him 80% of his Blue Jays salary at minimum? If so, then he wouldn't be that cheap. Or am I missing something?

He signed a 1 year, 3.275M contract.

I believe that since it was a one year deal, it is not guaranteed. Toronto still has to pay him $750,000, but the actual contract is void, I believe.

you could be right on that one djchi, but I'll defer to AZ Phil if he wants to answer it. Not exactly sure what the rules are in this situation. He signed for $3.275 MM in January, $750K was guaranteed. But only signed for $1.3MM with the Cubs. It would seem a bit unfair to use the $3.275MM as a barometer for next year since the most he'll make is $2.05MM this year.

Plus he kind of looks like the Drowning Pool guitarist. So that's a good thing I suppose.

... just sayin'.

Like this pickup.

And did anybody catch Mariotti's column today? Mindless snarkiness for snarkiness' sake.

I mentioned it in the previous thread along with a link to the TLFC response which was amusing...

While I am not expecting much out of Johnson until he can prove he is healthy, this move is fine IMO. Now paying him $1.3 million is a little much, but fairly low risk. Murton might be the odd man out, which should anger many Cubs fans but oh well, if things go well that spot should get like 200-250 AB's all year. Now Reed has barely played CF the past few years, so that along with his bat could be a problem, but shouldn't be a disaster.

and that's what you need if you want to get off to a fast start.

Career before the All-Star break:

.298 .365 .444 .809

Of course... that number is a bit distorted by his huge '06 outlier.

03: .313 .365 .475 .840 (198 PAs)
04: .277 .332 .397 .729 (357 PAs)
05: .267 .339 .443 .782 (233 PAs)
06: .365 .451 .507 .958 (235 PAs)
07: .244 .320 .378 .698 (51 PAs)

Of course... also had a .409 BABIP in the first half of 06. So in other words... he was really lucky.

Don't get me wrong - he has been in first half than the second half, but his numbers appear to be pretty distorted because of one very good half of a season.

Again... I don't hate the signing, and believe he will be a solid RH bench player who will see playing time against RHP. But that is about it.

Again... I don't hate the signing, and believe he will be a solid RH bench player who will see playing time against RHP. But that is about it.



I assume you mean against LHP....

Doh. And I waited too long to edit it.

I wouldn't be so quick to punch Fontenot's ticket to Iowa. With Fukudome and Pie starting, the only LH bat on the bench is Ward. I'd be looking for a Cedeno waiver deal, or Murton goes to AAA instead of Fontenot.

Clearly your hatred of Matt Murton has made you delusional

I disagree....


Murton's obviously the better hitter, but the Cubs would go in with only one backup infielder and one lefty bench bat. DeRosa can platoon with Fuku if needed...

Murton will be Kfuk's Platoon mate and 25-30 game leg saver for Soriano. Surely you are not advocating Reed Johnson for that job are you Rob? Make the Cedeno/Lopez deal and you are covered all around.

First, Felipe Lopez sucks, both offensively and defensively. His splits don't even show any kind of platoon advantage...forget him.


Second, I'd rather keep Murton, but keeping Fontenot gives Lou more flexibility and it's ultimately his decision. Let's say, I would understand the logic, even though I wouldn't necessarily approve. As long as it's not Cintron making the team...

fair enough

Aaron B,

Once again, you're love for all things Murton cloud your baseball talent judgement. My point is that Ward is the only LH bat on the bench when Pie/Fukudome start. As already pointed out, DeRosa can play RF when a RH bat is needed there a helluva lot better than Murton (an absolute butcher in the OF). Fontenot and Ward give Lou 2 LH bats for PH duties.

Without another deal (which very likely will happen before Opening Day), the bench will likely be:

Blanco, c
Ward, 1b/LH PH
Fontenot, 2b/LH PH (SS in absolute emergency)
Cedeno, ss/2b
R. Johnson, CF/RF/LF

DeRosa is still the 'super-sub' for 3B and RF with capable options at 2B when he isn't playing there.

Submitted by djchi on Tue, 03/25/2008 - 5:14pm.

I have a question...Johnson had a relatively large contract with the Blue Jays, no? And since he was released, they're on the hook for most of it, correct?

So if the Cubs go to arbitration, are they responsible for offering him 80% of his Blue Jays salary at minimum? If so, then he wouldn't be that cheap. Or am I missing something?

 ================================

DJCHI: Because Reed Johnson's contract was not guaranteed and because the Blue Jays released him prior to March 28th, they only owed him 45 days pay (1/4 of his 2008 salary, or just a bit over $800K). So it's not surprising that Johnson wanted more than the MLB minumim to sign with the Cubs.

In fact, he PROBABLY thought he deserved $2.4M (the remainder left on the table from his $3.25M 2008 contract with TOR), but after considering his options, he apparently decided to settle for half a loaf.

As far as what the minimum the Cubs would have to offer Johnson after the season if they tender him a contract (with a salary arbitration option), it would be 80% of his Cubs salary from 2008. Once he was released by Toronto, that contract became incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial for salary arbitration purposes post '08. He was a free-agent when he signed with the Cubs, and the fact that the Blue Jays had to pay him a severance when they released him doesn't apply to post-2008 . 

And the Cubs could non-tender him on 12/12 and then try to sign him for less money where the 20% maximum cut rule would not apply. 

Thanks!

haven't seen it mentioned in here so someone might as well say it...

he's got a legit arm. he's not ichiro...he's definately not juan pierre...

then again even as a late-inning replacement he's not replacing any arm in the OF that's weak (unless there's murton/d.ward out there).

still...the cubs got their marlon byrd/jay payton/whatever and didn't have to give up anything anyone cares about except (maybe) a roster spot.

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