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Let's Make A Deal: Reed Johnson

Reed Johnson.  He's a 30 year-old outfielder who can play all three positions.  He posted a .391 OBP as the Jays' leadoff hitter last year.  He doesn't need to be platooned.  He makes $3.075MM this year and has two years of service time left before free agency.

If there's one team that can afford to compromise a little outfield defense, it's the Jays.  They've got two excellent athletes in Vernon Wells and Alex Rios.  The DH spot is blocked with Frank Thomas, leaving no spot for young Adam Lind.  Lind appears Major League ready - his PECOTA is .289/.349/.493 and he projects to be more valuable than Johnson in 2007.  Lind's defense is lacking, but the Jays can stomach that.

So which teams could use Reed Johnson?   The Twins, Braves, Cardinals, and Marlins are possibilities.  I think he could be a decent center fielder for the Fish, but they'd hesitate to take on his salary.  The Braves seem content with their left field platoon, though I think Johnson would fit.  The Cards also have some outfield questions, though Ricciardi hasn't traded with John Schuerholz or Walt Jocketty before.  The Dodgers had interest in Johnson in the past but the Brady Clark acquisition removes their need.

That leaves the Twins as my choice.  They're relying on the health of Rondell White and/or Jason Kubel in left, and they may want to trade Torii Hunter midseason.  Alexi Casilla is ready to replace Luis Castillo as well, and Johnson could be used at leadoff while Casilla gets acclimated. 

In return, the Twins could send one of their young starters to the Jays.  Asking for Glen Perkins or Kevin Slowey seems like too much, but Scott Baker is buried on their starting pitching depth chart.  He seems to have fallen out of favor after a half-season of 6.37 ball last year.  While his home run tendencies are a poor fit for Rogers Centre, Baker did have a promising 3.9 K/BB last year.  He's 25 years old and seems like an appropriate bounty for Johnson.  Thoughts?

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Comments

It would be an interesting move to see him going to Minnesota specially since there is a good chance both teams will be fighting together for that wild card (does anyone honestly see toronto beating NYY and Bos for the division?).

I agree that florida would be a poor choice because of money, age, time till FA. Now Rios I would love to see down here but with Josh Johnson laid up for another month. I dont know if we have the movable parts in teh majors that they would want.

Also this DeAza kid has been hitting pretty well and plays a good defense in CF.

given everything above, Jays are better off waiting. Let Lind stay at AAA without accumulating service time, and see where you are in a couple of months. Injuries or ineffectiveness elsewhere may create more openings and more bidders. Plus, who is to say that the Jays will stay healthy themselves.

Roto,
Didn't you really like Scott Baker last pre-season?
What happened to him?

I did. I think I underestimated how hittable he was and how lucky he was in 50-odd '05 innings to not give up more hits. Honestly he probably belongs in the NL but I still see a solid MLB career.

I think Jays'll try to trade him for servicable arms this year unless Jays's out of race. not for prospects..

Doesn't Johnson seem a bit overrated? Before last year he'd never posted better than a .353 OBP - it's questionable whether he's likely to reach .390 again. He almost never walks, and the OBP surge was due to a sharp increase in hits, which he also might not duplicate. Plus, he's a leadoff hitter who's not particularly fast, and can't be expected to steal bases.

I suppose he'd be a decent addition for a team like the Twins, whose outfield is definitely shaky.

Reed would be great for the Twins especially if they don't plan on keeping Torii Hunter. He would fit right into their pesky style of offense plus without Torii they'll need defensive help.

I haven't read the comments yet. But I was thinking before this year started that Reed to the White Sox would be a perfect fit because he can play centre field and they weren't sure about keeping Podsednik. He's the type of player, gritty, that they seem to like who can lead off and what not...and he's a decent hitter.

The Jays 2008 outfield features Lind, Rios, and Wells, so it was astute of you to notice that Reed is the most likely to be traded this year or at the end (unless its Rios, that's quite tenuous though). The Twins sound like a good fit. I just wish some teams saw how good his value is, he's such an underrated player and fan favourite. Good defence at any position, okay speed, hopefully a solid OBP this year after getting HBP so much, and mediocre but not subpar power.

Scott Baker sounds like a perfect fit. I just don't have any confidence in JP Riccardi to actually do something right for a change, especially when it comes to trades because it seems like he doesn't know how to negotiate, like he'll get ripped off.

The next player you could profile is Orlando Cabrera. I see him in a Jays uniform at some point before the end of his contract. The Jays need a SS so bad, with no one on the market, and Angels will not need him possibly by the allstar break with Wood and Aybar. They should eat some of his 8 million a year, but what would the Jays give back?

I think if the Marlins were willing to pay a bit, and not be extremely cheap, he could be a good CF for you guys and if you actually fill your holes well, with all those rookies, you could be a playoff team again.

Also, he walks about 32 times per year on average, but gets hit by a pitch 21 times per year on average. That amounts to a standard walk per 10 at bat rate. He steals 8 bases a year. Nothing special there. But he had a good spring so I'm hoping he can repeat his year as a valuable player.

Me, being a Canadian and following the Jays closely, could not see the Jays dealing him at this moment. He seems to be getting better and better every year as a player, and thats probably why the Jays let Cattalanatto walk. With the 2 years of service time before he hits FA, I would personally rather see Reed playing for the Jays than against them.

Lind will most likely be the first bat called up from AAA once Thomas gets hurt, or when one of Rios, Wells, Reed go down.

Regardless, unless we can package Reed with a spec for a #2/3 SP, I can't envision the Jays moving Reed. But who knows, its Riccardi, He'll probably get ripped off in the end, like GuitarHero said.

What about the Jays requesting Luis Castillo in return? His contract is expiring and he fills in a need in that weak middle infield.

I agree the braves could use johnson, but we would have to move either wilson, langerhans, or diaz first, and as for our leadoff spot, we already have kelly johnson in that slot, who i think is a left handed clone to what reed is as a leadoff hitter. I could very easily warm up to the idea of moving kelly johnson to eighth and batting reed johnson at leadoff. However, if we were to trade for him, i think the jays would want villereal at the very least, and i imagine they would start higher, asking for kyle davies or the like. I just cannot see a match unless we were to move one of our other leftfielders in the deal, which i would deem unlikely

being a twins fan, i can see this going down as a good trade on the twins part. But i also think that the Twins should give rondell white some more time to see if he can prove himself in left field. i do agree that the twins could trade hunter and put johnson in center but i think denard span is a better fit there.

Johnson is not a particularly good defender, and his career before last year was certainly undistinguished. Trading for him now makes no sense. He had one good year and I think you can expect from him in the future a bunch of sub-.800 OPS years.

Reed Johnson is a great defender, since when does not being gold glove calibar mean your not a good defender? Reed johnson is well above average with his defence.

I really don't see the jays going for a young starter if they trade reed. Reason being they actualy have an overload of starters right now that are equal or better then Baker.

My guess is a solid Pen arm the jays have a very young bullpen and if its a close race for the division or wildcard I can see the pen potentialy being the weak spot.

Reed Johnson is a good defensive left fielder but he's not good in right and he's a liability in center.

No team with any sense would trade a young starter for Johnson so a pen arm would probably be what they have to settle for.

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