Cubs Sign Reed Johnson

The Cubs and outfielder Reed Johnson have agreed to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, according to a team press release.  This marks a return to Wrigley for Johnson, who spent the 2008 and '09 seasons with the Cubs before hooking on with the Dodgers last season. 

Johnson was less-than-impressive in Dodger blue, turning in a slash line of .262/.291/.366 in 215 plate appearances.  The 34-year-old has a career .748 OPS and a solid 4.6 UZR/150 in the outfield.  Johnson is represented by WMG.


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127 Comments on "Cubs Sign Reed Johnson"


4 years 7 months ago

With Reed we can succeed! :)

4 years 7 months ago

Give Reed 1,100 dollars.

4 years 7 months ago

Should’ve signed Matt Murton.

4 years 7 months ago

should have kept Matt Murton in ’08 instead of signing Kosuke

whitesoxfan424
4 years 7 months ago

I don’t know about a solid bat, but his defense if fun to watch and I’ve heard he’s a great clubhouse guy. A bunch of my Cubs friends jumped for joy seeing this.

jb226
4 years 7 months ago

Reed Johnson is hardly a “jump for joy” kind of guy, but yeah, I’d certainly like him to make the team.

That said, I’m not sure why he signed the deal. “Minor league deal” translates roughly into “easy decision not to make the team if there is any doubt” since you can stash him away in the minors, and even if he does make the team it would be as no better than a fifth outfielder behind Soriano, Byrd, Colvin, and Fukudome, and his primary competition in that scenario for any playing time would be another very strong defensive outfielder (at least in RF). That doesn’t sound like a situation that can’t be matched or beat by another organization.

jayrig5
4 years 7 months ago

True. But, I will say that Soriano isn’t exactly a beacon of health. Nor is he above a lot of late-inning defensive removals.

It’s not like the Cubs thought Johnson would play a ton when the first acquired him, and he turned into an important player on the 2008 team. (1.7 WAR as a reserve.) And then Lou didn’t play him at all in the NLDS. That was smart. Johnson and Lilly were easily two of the top 12 players on that team, and they didn’t see the field. Nice call.

He can play all 3 OF spots as well, with plus defense at all 3, if healthy. This is a solid signing, good risk/reward balance.

4 years 7 months ago

WOOHOO!! Now all we need to complete the ’08 team is to trade for Marquis and convince Blanco and Edmonds to unretire!

4 years 7 months ago

Blanco ain’t retired. He’s sleeping.

4 years 7 months ago

My bad. I thought for sure he had a month or so ago. Apparently he signed with the D’Backs around then. Is there a difference, anyway?

4 years 7 months ago

Not at all. Not at all, mate.

Jntg4
4 years 7 months ago

You forgot about Lee, Theriot, DeRosa, and Fontenot

4 years 7 months ago

Good for Reed. I sure hope he makes it back onto the team. He was fun to watch

4 years 7 months ago

I hope he’s bringing his unicorns with him.

4 years 7 months ago

Does this mark the end, and point to a trade, of Fukodome?

4 years 7 months ago

If the Cubs are planning on replacing Fukudome with Reed Johnson, they are a lot stupider than they look… which is pretty stupid. Go Cubs!

4 years 7 months ago

I think they plan to replace ‘Dome with Colvin, equal (maybe slightly less) defense, better with the stick.

4 years 7 months ago

that’s what she said.

Bob George
4 years 7 months ago

Carlos!

4 years 7 months ago

Hello, good friend!

Bob George
4 years 7 months ago

Carlos!

baseball52
4 years 7 months ago

His replacement is Tyler Colvin.

BlueCatuli
4 years 7 months ago

I have a feeling that might be part of a deal for one of the surplus of starting pitchers. Say Gorzellany or Wells Fukudome for a low level pitching prospect and cash considerations.

4 years 7 months ago

I’d be thrilled with Wells & Fukudome for a few decent prospects and a salary dump.

jb226
4 years 7 months ago

Randy Wells, as bad as he looked a lot of times last year, was a 3.3 WAR (~$13MM) pitcher. Gorzellany was a 2.3 WAR (~$9MM) pitcher. Both are extremely cheap. Hell, even Fukudome was a 1.5 WAR player (worth about $5.5MM).

Even acknowledging that Fukudome is grossly overpaid for that production and it would drag down any potential deal somewhat, if we can’t do better than a low-level prospect for either one of those guys then I think it’s time for a change in the front office.

BlueCatuli
4 years 7 months ago

The cash considerations would be the star of that trade. Fukudome is due 13.5 MM. Getting a team to take all that off the books is like getting a decent prospect in return. That 13.5 could be put to use later in the season if all of the Cubs’ “ifs” pan out and they are competing at the trade deadline.

4 years 7 months ago

BlueCatuli can you tell me when that logo being used in your avatar is from decade wise ? I recently saw a throwback style cubs jersey with that logo and it was a sandberg jersey…..insert joke here……just curious since id never seen it before.

4 years 7 months ago

A Colvin/Johnson platoon would actually be a pretty nice upgrade on Fukudome, to these eyes.

jwsox
4 years 7 months ago

i would rather see colvin get a full season not platoon kid has too much upside with the stick to platoon….fukudome+wells(possibly even fukudome+big Z if they can get the right team, yankees maybe) for mid level guys….

BlueCatuli
4 years 7 months ago

Zambrano isn’t going anywhere.

4 years 7 months ago

fukudome for swisher straight up. swisher platoons all over OF and some first base for pena. switch hitter good for clubhouse. thoughts ? pipe dream

jwsox
4 years 7 months ago

huge pipe dream. simply because fukudome is proven he is nothing more than a part time/ 4th OF in the MLB. Yes his swing would be very nice at yankee stadium but i will say this unless zambrano or another pitcher was included or maybe colvin was included cashman would hang up faster than he took the phone call. Swisher has put up career years at yankee stadium and for once everyone fans, teammates, coaches, and mgmt all love him

thebigdog
4 years 7 months ago

More than likely this means that the Cubs will look to trade Byrd at the deadline if:

A. He is having another good season
and
B. The team is more than 7 or 8 games out

BlueCatuli
4 years 7 months ago

Say what!?!?!?!?

4 years 7 months ago

I do like the guy, he provides good energy, but it’s beyond me why am 5’10” tall 180lb guy can’t provide more base stealing speed on the basepaths. Or, take a pitch, since he is not a homerun hitter.

4 years 7 months ago

Well, he is neither a good baserunner nor a patient hitter. Mystery solved. It’s not like the guy doesn’t *want* to be a better player. He is a past-his-prime journeyman who struggles against RHP. If anything, they picked him up to platoon with Fukudome/Colvin.

4 years 7 months ago

Why? Really–can anyone come up with a good reason? Soriano, Byrd, Fukudome, Colvin, Perez, and now Johnson, with Brett Jackson in the minors… that is a hell of a crowd of mediocre to bad OFs! This team is rudderless, the franchise should be demoted to the International League, and the entire front office should be banned from baseball by Bud Selig for the good of the game.

I curse my father for indoctrinating me with an irrational love of this stupid, stupid team.

4 years 7 months ago

while I agree with questioning it from a numbers point of view, if we really can find a way to get rid of fukudome (at this point I would be all for plain releasing) then you’ve got perez and johnson to back up the other three and PH…not that bad of an scenerio if you ask me, and that keeps Jackson in the minors one more year to polish off..
I would def not declare them international league material for signing a quality bench guy on a minor league deal…

Bob George
4 years 7 months ago

I agree, this isn’t a bad move. Johnson isn’t a star but he is a better bench player than Koyie Hill, and right now the only real competition for the 5th OF job is Fernando Perez, who is recovering from an injury and only hit .220 something at AAA last year.

It’s a minor league deal, I don’t see why people are getting worked up. Brett Jackson isn’t ready for the majors yet, and if he somehow hits 15 hr’s in spring training and makes the team then they just let Johnson go or send him to the minors.

Bob George
4 years 7 months ago

I agree, this isn’t a bad move. Johnson isn’t a star but he is a better bench player than Koyie Hill, and right now the only real competition for the 5th OF job is Fernando Perez, who is recovering from an injury and only hit .220 something at AAA last year.

It’s a minor league deal, I don’t see why people are getting worked up. Brett Jackson isn’t ready for the majors yet, and if he somehow hits 15 hr’s in spring training and makes the team then they just let Johnson go or send him to the minors.

jwsox
4 years 7 months ago

i would ban bud before i bad the cubs…remmebr it was not too long ago they were consistent favorites to win the central(and i mean real favorites not just favorites because cubs fans say they are)…and it was not too long ago that they won the worl….oh wait yeah it was…

4 years 7 months ago

Obviously, I was using hyperbole.

The reason this is a pointless move is that the Cubs are the fourth-best team in the NL Central and should be looking at moves that help the team in 2012-13. I agree that trading Fukudome would be great, but that move just allows them to play Colvin every day. The real guy they should trade is Marlon Byrd, as they might actually get a decent prospect or two for him (maybe a haul like the DeRosa trade).

I would like to see a Soriano-Jackson-Colvin OF on opening day, but that’s about as likely as…

BlueCatuli
4 years 7 months ago

You’re that work up about a minor league signing and an invite to sprain training for a back up outfielder?

4 years 7 months ago

My god, what is the average reading comprehension level on this site? I was using hyperbole to draw attention to the point that this move just doesn’t make much sense for a club in the Cubs’ position (not contending, crying poor, etc.).

It’s not that big a deal, but the Cubs have been making some odd decisions lately and posturing that they’re going to contend. If this is the first step in a Johnson/Fukudome platoon–and who knows whether it is–it is a bad move for the team because it means Colvin won’t play.

burtonbball88
4 years 7 months ago

Colvin should beat out Fukudome…. Plus he got stabbed by a freaking bat last season. Who knows what will happen to him this season. If I were Hendry, I would put a lot of depth in our outfield seeing that 2 are injury prone, and the other is just unlucky. I have no problem with this move as long as Quade doesn’t fall in love with Fukudome because of his spring bat.

cubtex
4 years 7 months ago

Do you think the Cubs might look to trade Marlon Byrd now and keep Fukodome since his contract is too high? Platoon Reed and Fukodome in CF for a year until Brett Jackson is ready and have Fernando Perez as a defensive replacement for Soriano. Any thoughts?

4 years 7 months ago

A team would have to take on 2 years of Byrd, making the contracts a lot closer. But, if a team had some budgetary squeezing to do, like some contracts coming off at the end of 2011, it might make more sense. I would much rather see Byrd go than Fukudome, but many probably won’t agree with me.

BlueCatuli
4 years 7 months ago

Why would you prefer that?

4 years 7 months ago

Because Fukudome has a higher OBP and it could open up a spot for someone (hopefully) with more speed in the outfield. And, if they move Fukudome, they will probably have to eat a lot of money, where they probably won’t have to do so with Byrd. I imagine they would go with Colvin in center if they moved Byrd, but I would love to see one of the younger speedy guys have a Colvinesque Spring Training and break onto the team as the CF. (or trade for an outfield or 2B speedster if one could be had, though they are slim)

BlueCatuli
4 years 7 months ago

Colvin would be awful in CF. Other than that, I appreciate your reasoning. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but you state your case well.

4 years 7 months ago

Colvin came up as a CF, so I think “awful” may be a bit of… hyperbole. But, yes, his future is probably in a corner or, more likely, as a fourth OF.

BlueCatuli
4 years 7 months ago

Colvin would be awful in CF. Other than that, I appreciate your reasoning. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but you state your case well.

4 years 7 months ago

The contracts aren’t even close if you think about it like this: you get TWO years of Byrd for the same price as one year of Fukudome, and they are both average-ish players. I’d like for both of them to go, but Byrd might actually get something back in return.

4 years 7 months ago

The contracts aren’t even close if you think about it like this: you get TWO years of Byrd for the same price as one year of Fukudome, and they are both average-ish players. I’d like for both of them to go, but Byrd might actually get something back in return.

jwsox
4 years 7 months ago

anyone who watched fukudome in center before byrd got there would for sure say no to that…byrd is cheap while he might be the easier player to move it just wont make sense to improve the team….fukudome would be easy if the cubs took on some money to get better talent or simply packaged him with a pitcher he could easily be moved

goredsgo
4 years 7 months ago

I can’t believe he would accept a minor league deal when he could a major league job easily

HerbertAnchovy
4 years 7 months ago

Hit like accidentally. I doubt Johnson would’ve accepted a minor league deal if there were suitors to sign him to a major league deal.

goredsgo
4 years 7 months ago

I can’t believe he would accept a minor league deal when he could a major league job easily

Jntg4
4 years 7 months ago

Love ReJo! Should beat out Perez for the 5th OF spot. Bad news: When Brett Jackson comes up, he will be sent down. Unless they trade Fuku by then, or Jackson gets injured.

4 years 7 months ago

Fukudome will be a free agent after 2011 and Byrd after 2012. If Brett Jackson’s ready, he’ll have a chance to prove himself in a year.

4 years 7 months ago

ReJo should never be mentioned again….thats all Im saying.haha

4 years 7 months ago

You’re saying that Reed Johnson losing playing time to Brett Jackson would be a *bad* thing? What?

Jntg4
4 years 7 months ago

lol, you misunderstood. Bad news for HIM, I should have said. I love Brett Jackson.

4 years 7 months ago

You’re saying that Reed Johnson losing playing time to Brett Jackson would be a *bad* thing? What?

Jntg4
4 years 7 months ago

Love ReJo! Should beat out Perez for the 5th OF spot. Bad news: When Brett Jackson comes up, he will be sent down. Unless they trade Fuku by then, or Jackson gets injured.

Gumby65
4 years 7 months ago

Other than his time injured, he was adequate in LA for his job description. More reliable than Repko was, and as a bonus, Reed Johnson did not put any Dodger shortstops on the disabled list.

WrigleyTerror37
4 years 7 months ago

With Reed we succeed!!!!!!! IM SO HAPPY HES BACK!!!!!(anyone know were to get the shirt ted lilly had???)
He is one of my favorite player in baseball I hope he stays this time and is there a chance of SORE-KNEE -ano, or Fukodome being traded so he can stay. Yankees were ready for a trade (now that we got garza and reed) Big Z and SORE-KNEE -ano you want/need for money or prospects!

Guest
4 years 7 months ago

So will they trade Fukudome and Gorzo to Philly for Blanton???

WrigleyTerror37
4 years 7 months ago

UMM probly not the rich cant always get richer. and cubs have alot of potental sp

Guest
4 years 7 months ago

Why not the Phils take on Fukudome contract this year which allows us to pick up Blanton’s (who is cheaper contract-wise) and then we’re responsible thru 2012 for the remainder of Blanton’s deal. Problem is…we have to many sp. And one of our potential sp could always be put into the 5th starter role. Plus we would give a sp in the deal, maybe Gorzo, Coleman, or do I dare say, Grabow.

cubtex
4 years 7 months ago

Phillies are way too lefthanded as it is! There is no way they want to add another lefthanded bat!

Guest
4 years 7 months ago

Don’t know if I totally believe in the L vs R matchup thing….but whatever. Well see how much they get out of Ibanez.

jb226
4 years 7 months ago

Gorzellany is a pretty much equal pitcher to Blanton for significantly less money. Moving Fukudome to take Blanton is pretty much a wash, and I doubt the Cubs are SO desperate to get rid of Fukudome that they pick up a player they don’t need or want and 2012 payroll obligation to do it. He’s grossly overpaid, but he does well as a defensive replacement and his contract is up after this year, in which the Cubs aren’t likely to be serious contenders anyway.

I’d love to see him traded, but this isn’t the way to go about it. And while I’m impartial to Gorzo staying or going, I think we can do better for him than Blanton and getting rid of Fukudome. Especially since, contractually-speaking, the Phillies are probably more desperate to get rid of Blanton’s salary than the Cubs are to get rid of Fukudome’s.

Guest
4 years 7 months ago

You’re correct on these points. Just don’t want to see Colvin not get his opportunity to play an entire season in RF. We need to evaluate him over the entire season to see if we need to sign a FA or trade for one in the OF in 2012. The only way we do this is trade Fukudome. Unfortunately, we almost have to give Fuku away to do this. Not for Blanton, but for someone.

4 years 7 months ago

On what planet are Gorzellany and Blanton equal? Blanton has essentially one more year in the bigs than Gorzellany, yet he has thrown almost 700 more innings, topping 190 every season except for last year while Gorzellany has done it exactly once, with a better ERA, better FIP, a far better xFIP, and a better WAR.

They are not equal. Blanton has been better, and it’s not close.

4 years 7 months ago

I think he was saying roughly equal in terms of 2011 outlook. And that’s certainly an argument one can make. Though obviously, as you pointed out, you can also argue Blanton’s track record makes that comparison unfair.

In any case, his larger points about how Blanton doesn’t fit into the Cubs’ plans this year, while they’re overstocked on starters, or next year, for which they seem to be prioritizing payroll flexibility, still hold up.

4 years 7 months ago

Probably not

Hoosierdaddy92
4 years 7 months ago

I appreciate the humor, but there is no way the Yanks or any team takes Soriano. EVER. Zambrano, only if the Cubs pitch in some major cash and get nothing back in return. In all honesty, Cubs are better off keeping Zambrano and seeing if they can compete with him, Dempster, and Garza at the helm.

WrigleyTerror37
4 years 7 months ago

First off thanks for reconizing the hummor. Second I totaly agree nobody in there right mind would want him now. (there was potental trade talks in the past) 3rd I just wish he didnt have a big contract . I like the guy hes great but Money wise horriable! I would rather keep big Z to be in the rotaion along with Garza, Dempster, Gorzo, and Silva/Wells (with the other in long relif) Also Thanks for not Calling me stupid, i was just happy we got Reed back!!!

4 years 7 months ago

And this is why the Cubs signed Reed Johnson.

WrigleyTerror37
4 years 7 months ago

Hey im all for reed but Please DO NOT say Jackson will get ingured or alot of Cubs fans will be very upset!

4 years 7 months ago

Depth move, similar to signing Max Ramierz after the Garza trade.

jayrig5
4 years 7 months ago

Yep. No risk, high reward. Reward being he’s a veteran, right-handed bench outfielder who can play all three positions, and play them fairly well. (Personally, I think his diving catch of the ball in Washington in 2008 is one of the best plays I’ve ever seen.) And he’s a good character guy, which the Cubs can’t get enough of, and it’s been an obvious focus of Hendry and the organization since the Milton Bradley fiasco. The Cubs needed to sign someone like this, and they did it with a minor-league deal. I was thinking Austin Kearns since Hendry has always loved him, but that didn’t happen, and I’m happy this did. Quade obviously knows him too. There’s no real downside to this. On the off chance the Cubs do manage to compete, Reed Johnson is a nice piece to have on the roster.

4 years 7 months ago

Depth move, similar to signing Max Ramierz after the Garza trade.