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40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full), plus one player is on the 60-DAY IL 

26 players on MLB RESERVE LIST are ACTIVE, nine players are on OPTIONAL ASSIGNMENT to minors, three players are on the 15-DAY IL, and two players are on the 10-DAY IL

Last updated 4-15-2024
* bats or throws left
# bats both

Yency Almonte
Adbert Alzolay 
Javier Assad
Ben Brown
Kyle Hendricks
* Shota Imanaga
Mark Leiter Jr
* Luke Little
Hector Neris 
Daniel Palencia
* Drew Smyly
Keegan Thompson
* Jordan Wicks

Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

* Michael Busch 
Garrett Cooper
Nico Hoerner
Nick Madrigal
* Miles Mastrobuoni
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson

* Cody Bellinger 
# Ian Happ
Seiya Suzuki
* Mike Tauchman 

Kevin Alcantara, OF 
Michael Arias, P 
Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF 
Jose Cuas, P 
Brennen Davis, OF 
Porter Hodge, P 
* Matt Mervis, 1B 
Luis Vazquez, INF 
Hayden Wesneski, P 

10-DAY IL: 2 
Seiya Suzuki, OF
Patrick Wisdom, INF 

15-DAY IL: 3
Julian Merryweather, P
* Justin Steele, P  
Jameson Taillon, P 

60-DAY IL: 1 
Caleb Kilian, P 

Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents

Cubs Potential Offseason Targets: Kelly Johnson

I'm in the midst of one of my hell projects at work, this one just happens to be a little more hellish and is gonna last until December. In order to keep the fun going around here, I thought I'd present some reasonable trade and free agent targets over the next weeks - some of the low-hanging fruit that will probably be more in line with Hendry's budget for 2010.  I'm not really going to make a case one way or another, rather just try and open up the discussion. Today's guest is Atlanta Braves second basemen Kelly Johnson....

Braves GM Frank Wren came out today and said Martin Prado will pretty much go into 2010 as the their starting second basemen which leaves Kelly Johnson as prime trade bait. It doesn't mean the Braves have to move him, but he's certainly going to be available for the right price, which can't be a whole lot for a guy with a .692 OPS last year. He's also arbitration eligible and coming off a 2.85M payday in 2009, so it's very possible - let's go ahead and call it likely - that he'll just end up being non-tendered if he's not traded before December 12th.

2005 23 87 334 290 46 70 12 3 9 40 2 1 40 75 .241 .334 .397 .731 91 11 1
2007 25 147 608 521 91 144 26 10 16 68 9 5 79 117 .276 .375 .457 .831 117 8 4
2008 26 150 614 547 86 157 39 6 12 69 11 6 52 113 .287 .349 .446 .795 108 3 2
2009 27 106 346 303 47 68 20 3 8 29 7 2 32 54 .224 .303 .389 .692 82 4 3
4 Seasons 490 1902 1661 270 439 97 22 45 206 29 14 203 359 .264 .346 .430 .777 103 26 10
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/22/2009.

Kelly Johnson.A tough year for Johnson in 2009 and honestly in 2008 he didn't look to great either until he just went nuts in September with a 1.071 OPS to bring his season OPS to a respectable .795 for a second basemen. And he did battle through a knee injury for most of 2008 as well. Defensively, BP has his Rate2 numbers as above average at 108 for his career while UZR over at Fangraphs doesn't think highly of him at all. The Fan's Scouting Report compiled by TangoTiger seems to think of him as average to below average at second base.

On the upside, 2010 will be his age 28 season compared to it being Mike Fontenot's age 30 season and the Cubs could definitely use an infusion of talent under the age of 30.  His minor league numbers cumulated to a .832 OPS, but he broke out in 2005 with an OPS of 1.018 in Triple A at age 23 and looked well on his way in 2006 before an elbow injury and Tommy John surgery prematurely ended his season. Actually, Johnson started out as a left fielder(make that shortstop, then 3b, then left field) in the Braves system and that injury forced him to second base, but enough time has passed that there's the very small possibility that he could fill a utility role of some kind. If there's one thing that really makes me think it would be a good idea to go after Johnson, is that he had a BABIP of .249 last year, compared to his .313 career mark. He's either forgotten how to hit a baseball or last year was more about bad luck than anything else. He has a career walk rate of 10.9% which is on the high end and sees 3.94 pitches per plate appearance although both numbers have taken a hit over the last two seasons. Either he's losing his patient approach at the plate or pitchers have been more willing to go after him as his power numbers have dropped off.

There's no way the Cubs would pull off a trade for Johnson and just hand him a job, the only reasonable scenarios are make a trade or sign him after he's non-tendered and then let him compete with Jeff Baker...that is unless the Cubs end up signing Chone Figgins to play second base which I have my doubts will happen.  Also any reasonable scenario of bringing Johnson in would mean the end of the Godenot era, but I personally have no problems with that as Johnson is younger, higher upside and has had major league success as a regular.

So how say you TCR readers, should the Cubs make a run at Johnson?

*UPDATE* I should note that Mike Fontenot does have one option year left and at 2 year and 139 service days (according to Arizona Phil) it appears he's going to miss Super Two status by two days meaning the Cubs could bring him back on an auto-renew and send him to the minors if there's no spot for him after spring training.

Photo courtesy of PicApp (AiWire Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom Content © 2009 Newscom All rights reserved.)


This may or may not have something to do with my lifelong man-crush on Sandberg, but I've always liked the idea of, well, a starting 2B, something this team hasn't had in a long time (although we had 2 in 2003, go figure). I did the same math you did, Rob, when I saw the Prado comments this morning. Didn't realize how far Johnson's bat had fallen, but this guy could be a perfect new project for..... JARAMILLO-MAN!!! (along with everything else he's got to fix) And one more thing just occurred to me, LF, 2B, Braves..... this guy could be the next DeRosa!! And Jaramillo changed DeRo's life, ergo....

"That whole situation couldn't have been handled better by Kelly. He handled it so gracefully, and it gave all of us who are his best friends permission to root for Prado." When the Braves removed Johnson from his regular role and then asked him to regain his swing during this Minor League rehab assignment, they were impressed with the dignity he displayed. He never publicly criticized the organization or the decision, which was based on the fact that he'd hit .191 with a .257 on-base percentage in his previous 39 games. "Kelly has handled all of this like a true professional," Wren said.… I love the guy already...

Another Braves 2B worth considering is their utility guy, Omar Infante. He's an enigmatic player who's shown signs of breaking out in the past, has hit well in limited exposure the last couple years and gets to balls up the middle pretty well. At 27, he's right on the verge of that magic year Hendry likes to cash in on. He's got a reasonable contract @ 2.5 million.

I don't see the point, in all honesty, unless it's a free agent pickup. Even then, I'm still not sure I see a point. Btw, I think Kelly started his career as a shortstop, or was drafted as one, was shifted to the OF, then moved back to 2nd when they started developing some guys. Short of it is ... why spend assets, money and/or talent to add a guy who, while I agree he is better than Fontenot and more of a regular possibility than Fontenot, would be, in all likelihood, a platoon option here, and Fontenot is passable as a platoon option if the team wanted. If he's free and comes really cheap, sure, I'd take a look. I do expect Kelly Johnson to bounce back, but right now, with the payroll as such, I'd rather focus on more significant upgrades, is possible.

[ ]

In reply to by toonsterwu

Fontenot was anything but passable this year and I'm not at all sure about him bouncing back and we all know Jeff Baker is going to fade back into oblivion.

But if you are expecting Johnson to bounce back to an .800 OPS with doubles power and a good patient approach, then that would likely be a steal, whether it be a few C prospects or $2M after he's non-tendered.

and yes, drafted as a shortstop, played 3b in the minors as well, then left field and then 2b after surgery and most likely to fill an organizational hole.

anyway, major upgrades are most likely not happening unless Hendry can pull off trading the bulk of  Bradley's contract and one of the starting pitchers contracts (Dempster or Lilly). It's gonna be about finding guys off down years and at low prices and hoping the Cubs scouts can get lucky discovering a few players.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

I probably wasn't clear in the original post, but I was suggesting that I think Fontenot would be passable as a platoon option, not as a regular. I think Fontenot is a better hitter than he was this year, although not as good as folks thought he was last year. I'm also not sure why Jeff Baker is going to fade back into oblivion. I'm not expecting Jeff to be as good as he was down the stretch for us, but I think it's certainly possible that Jeff is finally starting to show some of the immense potential that people expected when he was drafted. I'm not expecting major changes either, although I expect the Cubs to make a push for one FA acquisition. Heck, I've made the case before that, while Sam Fuld isn't a long term starter, that he fits the Cubs needs enough that I'm not so sure that a Fuld/Baker combination wouldn't be better than what we could likely do at CF/2nd (along with upgrading CF defense) when all factors are considered. Not that I am expecting Fuld to get that chance (and have heard it several times that he's only a backburner option). Short of it is, for all the talk about a middle of the order bat addition, I think the Cubs best chances to help the middle of the order will come from Jaramillo helping Soto/Soriano get back to form.

[ ]

In reply to by toonsterwu

Fontenot has had his chance and failed. Not only with the bat, but idiotic baseball sense last season. He just needs to go, period. And as Rob says, Fontenot will be 30 next season. How much more improvement can one expect? I would non-tender him. Unless they're thinking Miles is going to actually do something here, I would think they have to bring in more competition at 2b for Baker. I see Baker as more of the utility guy who starts 1/3rd of the games at 2b unless he proves he's better than that. He has the upside to hit 15-20 hr's, but despite his nice run so far as a Cub, he's still very unproven as a big league starter in my book. Miles' shot with the Cubs might hinge in part on how much of Bradley's contract they have to eat. We just heard Ricketts has laid down the law with Hendry on how much of a contract we can eat, so maybe the best shot we have to dump Miles is to trade him for another contract.

why get kelly johnson when you already have fontenot/baker? ugg. fontenot/baker makes more sense to me than kelly johnson. johnson's upside is matched by the 2 guys he'd be replacing at a similar price to the 2 combined. the word "upgrade" doesn't come into the equation with johnson involved, imo. he's got a very unpolished/ordinary swing (constantly changing last season, very long through the zone for a chunk of it...ever-changing foot work at the plate). i dunno where/how he can squeeze much more out of it. hell, him and jeff baker are very similar players, imo.

says Castro #1, Jackson #2 and Vitters #3 right now Vitters for Granderson would be reasonable for him...(not an actual rumor, but Tigers likely looking to dump some salary) thinks it's not far-fetched that Bryce Harper could drop out of first round

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

No way Bryce Harper falls out of the 1st round. The new rules takes away most of the leverage for guys like Harper. Washington can draft him #1. Then get the #2 pick if they cannot sign him. I really wish Baseball would go with a worldwide draft, that players would have to sign up for. Just like every other professional sports league in America.

[ ]

In reply to by Dr. aaron b

i doubt it either, but the theory by Callis is that Harper's demands will be so high and at age 17, he can re-enter the draft for a good 2-3 years until he gets what he wants. So whatever his pre-draft demands are, it's highly unlikely he's going to back off of them....

[ ]

In reply to by Dr. aaron b

see Hochevar, Luke

and Harper not being a pitcher probably has a lot less to worry about career-ending injury than a pitcher....

considering he's entering the draft a year sooner than he should be, I'm guessing he's going to hold out for exactly what he wants...

that being said, no way the Red Sox or Yanks don't pay him and there's no way the Cubs should let him get past their pick.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

Doubt he is "toolsy" enough or looks impressive enough in a uniform for the Cubs to reach on. If Golden Tate is still there though. He should probably get over slot for his athleticism.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

Keith Law also noted that he thought Castro, in a few years, could post a slugging percentage above .440, which would be awfully sweet. That said, that's a few year's down the road. Compared Castro's bat to Soriano's, but with much better contact ability.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

I'm glad to see Vitters move down on somebody's list. Vitters is fine long-term (maybe his hand will heal some day) but there are at least four position players who seem to be on a very fast track right now--Castro, LeMahieu, Lee and B. Jackson--and they can all use their gloves, which Vitters hasn't shown. Speaking of guys who are still dining out on their reputation as of the day they were drafted: Cashner had another so-so outing today.

[ ]

In reply to by VirginiaPhil

vitters is doing everything people expect him to do so far, but his obvious lack of being able to play 3rd is killing his "prospect value." i'd like to know if he's RF-capable, myself. when he was drafted his arm was just raved over...which is pretty much why it was assumed he could just have his glove-work corrected to match up to the arm. his range has always been suspect, but his arm was rubber-stamped as a no-doubter. i doubt the cubs will move him any time soon, but he's doing nothing to let people think he's going to play 3rd for a living. everyone likes his bat, but a lot of people are working on the assumption his next (and eventual) stop is 1st.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

The fact that he walks at Colvin-esque rates lead me to believe he will bust. Best case is probably Shea Hillenbrand 2.0 Maybe we can trade him while his value is high? How about Vitters for Weiters?

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

Reading around in BA, I find this October 1 item in which Callis suggests that Castro may not be the only position player ahead of Vitters:
Navin (NorthSideBaseBall): So if I read your Brett Jackson response correctly ("no lower than 3"), you'd rate Jackson as a better prospect in the MWL than Josh Vitters? I'm surprised by that. Jim Callis: I would have been to before I started working on the list. But everyone loved Jackson, and he's going to have more value if they both develop as hoped and he's playing center field while Vitters is playing first base. Not sure which way I'll go after delving into this further for our eventual Cubs Top 30.

[ ]

In reply to by The Joe

Oh, I probably shouldn't take the bait, but what the hell--it's a Friday. Of course it's okay to mock Jim Callis or any other English-speaking journalist/publisher for English gaffes. They're professional, public communicators in America. I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that 90% have college degrees. Clearly they should know better. Mocking foreign baseball players for not speaking English well, however, is just lame. Communicating to the media in a second, and sometimes third language can be no easy feat. And while I'm not saying most ballplayers are dumb, I am saying that many are uneducated. I don't think it's cool to make fun of someone's language skills because they make a lot of money. Someone intimated earlier with the "give me 20 years and I'll nail Spanish" that Ozzie should speak better English. And yes, it's fine to expect a manger to communicate clearly with the media. But he does speak English, however goofy it may sound to you. That doesn't make it cool to make fun of his accent. Mocking foreign speech on a blog isn't exactly the same, but it's the little sister to the nonsense that went on when Clemente was in Pittsburgh in the 60s and the papers quoted him phonetically to call out his accent. Just bad form.

ROB G: If the "Super Two" cut-off is indeed 2+141, here are the "Super Twos"...

Joey Devine, RHP - A's 2.+171
Brian Wilson, RHP - Giants 2+169
Rajai Davis, OF - A's 2+167
Alex Gordon, 3B - Royals 2+162
Mike Adams, RHP - Padres 2+161
Tom Gorzelanny, LHP - Cubs 2+161
Omar Quintanilla, INF - Rockies 2+159
Jesus Flores, C - Nationals 2+158
Hunter Pence, OF - Astros 2+156
Jason Hammel, RHP - Rockies 2+153
Matt Garza, RHP - Rays 2+149
Tim Lincecum, RHP - Giants 2+148
Nick Masset, RHP - Reds 2+146
Jeff Karstens, RHP - Pirates 2+144
Matt Albers, RHP - Orioles 2+141
Carlos Gomez, OF - Twins 2+141

Dustin Nippert, RHP - Rangers 2+140
Adam Jones, OF - Orioles 2+139
Mike Fontenot, 2B - Cubs 2+139
Brandon Morrow, RHP - Mariners 2+139
Micah Owings, RHP - Reds 2+139
Mark Reynolds, 3B - Diamondbacks 2+138
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C - Rangers 2+137
Allberto Callaspo, INF - Royals 2+135
Glen Perkins, RHP - Twins 2+133 - see NOTE
Anibal Sanchez, RHP - Marlins 2+133
Ben Zobrist, INF - Rays 2+133
Joe Smith, RHP - Indians 2+132
Fred Lewis, OF - Giants 2+129
Jeremy Sowers, P - Indians 2+128
Mike Pelfrey, RHP - Mets 2+122
NOTE: The Twins optioned Glen Perkins to AAA after he was reactivated from the DL in September, thus keeping Perkins from being a "Super Two" post-2009. So Perkins will likely file a grievance and he could win, but that won't change the cut-off once it's set. That's because a "Super Two" can be a FA if outrighted to the minors prior to signing a contract for the following season, and it could cause a problem if a player is designated "Super Two" and then has it removed, because a club could claim it would have outrighted the player if the player had not been a "Super Two."

Also, while it appears that Gorzelanny easily qualified as a "Super Two" by virtue of MLB ST, he actually just barely qualified because he accrued only 87 days of MLB ST in 2009, and a "Super Two" must accrue at least 86 days of MLB ST in that season in order to qualify as a "Super Two."

One other thing. Note that Rajai Davis is a "Super Two," and so he might be available in a trade in case the Cubs choose not to bring Reed Johnson back but are looking for a speedy OF who can platoon with Fukudome and hit lead-off. .

Submitted by Rob G. on Fri, 10/23/2009 - 11:17am.
not that I care, but shouldn't that read 2+171 and so on down the line? I only ask because I was about to put it the TCR Friday notes.


ROB G: Thanks for catching that. I'll fix it.

There are a few things to point out about Johnson's season that rarely gets mentioned. In June when he lost his job to Prado he was playing through a wrist injury. He spent almost a month on the DL and rehabbing in AAA. He returned after the break to post a .851 OPS (although in decreasing playing time once Infante returned even though he was pretty bad), but he looked really good and his patience at the plate returned. I would guess that he will return to being a slightly above average second baseman next season. Beware of his streakiness, but at the end of the day you will look up and he will post solid numbers. Defensively, he can either be average or below average. He is really atheletic and can make great plays. His errors come in bunches and since he is not a natural, long layoffs in playing time and rust will show. He is a smart player though; never seen a bad relay throw and probably one of the best baserunners in baseball.

Recent comments

  • crunch (view)

    okay, officially done with hendricks as a starter.

    dunno if counsell is there, but i'm there.

  • Bill (view)

    That pretty well sums up the situation.  Epstein, the media and the fans became obsessed with the concept of a "window of opportunity" that had to be taken advantage of before it closed.  Thus the trade for Quintana, and the trade of Soler for crap.

    The way to deal with a "window of opportunity" is not to sacrifice everything to win, but to extend that window.  Epstein knew that he was having his best players, Rizzo, Baez and Bryant in the same year, with Contreras the following year, at the same time that the pitching staff was growing elderly and on the verge of declining.  A responsible administration would have moved one of the ""core" two years earlier, and a second one the next year, in order to prevent the otherwise necessity of "tanking" when they left at the same time.  they had to know that there was no way they could have all been extended, and still leave room for growth.

    Other than the Dodgers and the Yankees, no team can maintain a consistent level of production without a consistent flow of high ceiling, low cost controlled young players coming up from the farm.  We have lived through the errors of the past, and hopefully have learned enough from them to prevent a reoccurance of it in a few years.

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    I think it was pretty clear that practically all of “the core” was going to be gone after the 2021 season and that utterly gutting the farm system to chase a championship with the same guys year after year until they all departed wasn’t going to end well. That was talked about as early as 2017.

    I don’t think it’s hindsight to say they would have been better off from a sustainability standpoint trading some of those pieces for the best prospect packages available and introducing some of the kids. For example, I was hoping real time they would trade Schwarber during the 2016 offseason to an AL team as a DH when the DH was AL only. Fresh off being a WS hero he could have fetched quite a haul. But, alas, he was a member of the vaunted, untouchable “core”.

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    What would have surprised me is the Dodgers, who have traditionally been outstanding in evaluating and developing talent, giving away Busch for nothing. They obviously saw something in both of the guys. Perhaps one or both will be future superstars.

    That said, the old cliche is that the level of competition increases ten fold for every level moved up. Ferris and Hope both have a long way to go. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    For now, I’m watching Busch put the team on his shoulders while the presumed offensive star of the team flails and doesn’t seem to have a plan beyond “waiting for the numbers to even out”. 

    I thought it was a good and fair trade at the time - a talented but surplus guy for the Dodgers that filled an immediate need for the Cubs in exchange for potential pieces of the Dodgers future - and I’m awfully glad Busch is a Cub.

  • First.Pitch.120 (view)

    Mostly agree, but I don’t think it was as much “unshakeable faith” as it was a series of unclear choices in the moment that have become obvious with hindsight.  

    The upside outcome for the coming year for any player was always much higher than the return on selling. It was like Texas Hold’em purgatory of having 4 to an A-K led flush…  impossible to get away from. 


  • Dolorous Jon Lester (view)

    He works quickly too so all that happened in probably like 4 minutes 

  • crunch (view)

    as of now, zyhir hope is the dodgers #20 prospect on (ferris #7).  he made 0 national "top 100" overall lists.  that may be a different story soon enough.

    if hope is not in the team top-10 by year's end i would be shocked.

    i don't know what happened between draft day and a couple months in arizona, but he got the attention of many organizations outside of the cubs when he showed up.

  • crunch (view)

    ...and he takes a comebacker off the knee on pitch 7.  out made, run scored.

    pitch 9 is a 3 run homer.  amazing.

  • crunch (view)

    wade miley (MIL) loads the bases on 5 pitches in the 1st.  that's a special kind of talent.

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    While the Chapman trade helped to cement a championship I honestly think that trade was made in a different era. Nobody trades their best prospects for rentals anymore.

    The Quintana trade was a stinker from day one. It seemed to be a product of Theo’s unshakable faith in his 2016 “core” and the consistent and mistaken idea that they were always just one guy away from a return to WS glory. The mistake was repeated several times and I think that realization along with a general evolution in baseball thinking has helped to shape Jed and the way he operates today.