More On The Newest Cub, Reed Johnson
So the Cubs' Extra Righthanded-Hitting Outfielder spinner stopped and it landed on...former Toronto Blue Jay, Reed Johnson. The Cubs signed the 31-year-old Johnson to a one-year contract on Tuesday, in time for Johnson to make his Cactus League debut this afternoon against the Giants. (He went 2-for-5.)
Johnson was a 17th-round pick of the the Jays in the 1999 amateur draft and spent his entire professional career in the Toronto system. The Riverside, California native has five Major League seasons under his belt, the best of which was 2006, when he appeared in 134 games, hitting .319 with 12 homers and an OPS+ of 124. He missed more than three months last season recovering from back surgery.
Defensively, Johnson started 410 games in the Jays outfield, half of them in left, about 40% in right, and the remaining handful in center. His Defensive Zone Ratings have been solid if not spectacular.
Cathal Kelly, writing Sunday for the Toronto Star:
Reed Johnson's nine years in the Blue Jay organization ended this morning. The club released him.
One minute he was there in his civvies saying goodbye, and then he was gone. He will receive a $546,000 (U.S.) cheque as a parting gift - one-sixth of his planned $3.275 million salary.
The winner in the left-field battle, Shannon Stewart, wasn't doing any crowing. He referred to Johnson as a "close" friend and seemed shocked that he'd been cut.
Even GM J.P. Ricciardi seemed rattled by the decision. "Today wasn't a fun day for me, telling that to somebody I personally like and professionally like," Ricciardi said.
But Johnson will find work quickly, most likely as a fourth outfielder on a National League club... Here's wishing him all the best. He was one of the good ones and will be missed.