Diamondbacks Acquire Chris Johnson

The Diamondbacks have acquired third baseman Chris Johnson from the Astros for minor league outfielders Marc Krauss and Bobby Borchering, the teams announced. Borchering, 21, was Arizona's first round pick in the 2009 draft while Krauss, 24, was taken in the second round of the same draft.

Johnson, 27, has a slash line of .279/.329/.428 with eight homers in 368 plate appearances this season. The right-handed hitter, who also played a handful of games at first base for Houston this year, won't be arbitration eligible until after the 2013 season unless he qualifies for super two status this coming offseason.

The Diamondbacks dealt from an area from strength in this trade as they are rather deep in the outfield. While Krauss and Borchering were standouts at the Double-A level, they also have prospects Adam Eaton and A.J. Pollock in Triple-A Reno. 

GM Jeff Luhnow continues to sell off Major League pieces as a part of the club's rebuilding effort. In the last ten days, the Astros have traded Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates, Brett Myers to the White Sox, and J.A. Happ to the Blue Jays.

Zach Links contributed to this post.


95 Responses to Diamondbacks Acquire Chris Johnson Leave a Reply

  1. Tyler Sekula 3 years ago

    Fire sale!

    • Bob Hulsey 3 years ago

      The Astros are beyond fire sale. Now they are selling the embers.

  2. grant77 3 years ago

    Impressive haul for Houston, Johnson isn’t that good.

  3. Brandon Stubbs Calvert 3 years ago

    Does this make Stephen Drew more expendable??

    • James Attwood 3 years ago

      Yes it does. Bloomquist can slide back over to SS and be backed up by McDonald. Wheeler and CJ can platoon 3B or Wheeler can go back down and Bloomquist can give CJ days off as needed.

  4. It’s almost like the Astros are playing a video game

  5. This is a pretty solid return for Johnson, who is solid with the bat but terribad on defense.

  6. DerekJeterDan 3 years ago

    Johnson became somewhat expendable when the Astros made the move to acquire Matt Dominguez. Johnson became a need for the Diamondbacks for the Dbacks following Ryan Roberts DFA. I like the package Houston received here, especially Bobby Borchering. He isn’t Chris Johnson from the Titans but he is posting a 1.2 OWar and should fit in in Arizona just fine. Hopefully we see some more under the radar deals.

    • I agree. I figured this was coming as soon as we picked up Dominguez. When the Padres listed Headley as crazy expensive i saw Johnson getting traded soon. If he ever stops K’ing so hard on the outside breaking ball he could be productive. He is a terrible defender though. Astros got a great return from a guy who is just now putting in his first full season in the MLB

    • Catztradamus 3 years ago

      Borchering and Johnson went to the same high school.

    • Hal_Jordan77 3 years ago

      Also, Luhnow moved Brett Wallace back to 3B. Wallace lost 30 lbs during the offseason and has not only been playing 3B but has made some spot starts at SS.

  7. mgsports 3 years ago

    This means Diamondbacks are going for it and think that Johnson is better then keeping Roberts.

  8. coachofall 3 years ago

    ……and the D Backs are still looking for a third basemen

    • qudjy1 3 years ago

      Johnson is a 1.1 WAR guy for 2012. I think AZ will be happy with that, given the people they gave up to get him.

  9. I like this deal for Houston, they somehow keep getting good returns on their MLB players. First Miami, then Toronto, now Arizona…

  10. richardb21 3 years ago

    Luhnow does it again. Arizona you’ll have fun with CJ…and that’s all I’ll say about that… Love what we got though.

    • James Attwood 3 years ago

      Dbacks clearly overpaid, but they had the extra capital to do it with. And quite frankly, the trade allows them to unload the cancer that is Stephen Drew while not sacrificing any performance at 3B.
      As average at 3B as CJ might be, he’s as good as anything the Dbacks are running out there right now.

      • davbee 3 years ago

        Not sure how much AZ really overpaid. Johnson has a career WAR of 3.0 in a little over three seasons. I doubt Krauss and Borchering end up with a career WAR of 3.0 combined.

        • davbee 3 years ago

          Borchering is really struggling at Double A–.390 OPS and K-ing at a 33% rate. For his career Borchering K’s at about a 26% rate. If he could get it to 25% he could have a chance to make it as an mlb player, but he’s trending the wrong direction. AZ was smart to deal him now before he gets more widely exposed.

  11. notsureifsrs 3 years ago

    starting to like the astros

  12. Chuck Norris 3 years ago

    The mother of all “Fire Sales” is ON!

    • sourbob 3 years ago

      This is certainly an aggressive fire sale, but I’m not sure if I’d call it “The Mother of All Fire Sales,” if for no reason than they’re already nearly out of stuff anyone would want.

      • Ian Masterson 3 years ago

        Yeah, I’d check back in a day or two. The Phillies should be starting the “Mother of All Fire Sales” before too long.

  13. Randyh55 3 years ago

    A decent return for an average bat and a below average defender.

  14. Jerry Mandering 3 years ago

    I guess they don’t like Wheeler that much after all. Weird.

    • James Attwood 3 years ago

      They still like Wheeler. But he was called up earlier than projected and is learning the bigs the hard way. Getting CJ just means that Wheeler doesn’t have to produce to full expectations right now, today.
      CJ is not the Dbacks long-term solution for 3B. But he is no worse than what has been on the field for the Dbacks the majority of the year. It’s likely that the off season brings another 3B to the team, or Wheeler finally figures it out.

  15. stroh 3 years ago

    As an Astros fan, sad to see Johnson go as he was a pretty good player, but really he profiles mostly as a long-term utility type – can play both third and first. The return they got from him – Borchering and Krauss is very impressive…..unbelievable, really.

    • qudjy1 3 years ago

      You looking at the same Borchering/Krauss i am?

      • Two guys with a little upside for a guy with none? Odds are at least one of those guys will end up a good bench bat. Johnson hasn’t hit a home run outside of Houston since last season.

        • qudjy1 3 years ago

          Id bet that Borchering adn Krauss combined dont add up to the 3.0 War of Johnsons career.

          • Kev 3 years ago

            CJ’s defense has wiped out more than half of the WAR he has put up with the bat. D-Back fans need to realize that he is probably one of the three worst defenders at 3B among players who are full timers there.

          • davbee 3 years ago

            At least Johnson is a bad defender on a major league roster. Borchering and Krauss–it would be hard to envision either on a major league team. Borchering, in particular. If he keeps K-ing at the 33% rate that he is now, he has no future in the bigs.

          • Kev 3 years ago

            Sure, it’s hard to imagine most minor leaguers doing much of anything, because there’s such a high attrition rate, but if either one of these two does make it, he’ll be more valuable than Johnson.

            I’ve watched CJ for his entire career. I have no idea why a team would give guys with upside for him. He’s barely replacement level for his career, and it wouldn’t shock me if his defense eventually zeros out his WAR. He’s shown above average hitting ability only when he has above average luck. He’s on a hot streak though, and I guess Towers is hoping he’ll keep it up. Seeing as his batting lines are dreadful outside of MMP, I have my doubts.

            Borchering and Krauss may not amount to anything – it’s probable really – but they would still barely be less valuable than CJ at that point.

          • qudjy1 3 years ago

            The 1.2 WAR for this year (glove included) is probably 1.2 more war than you will get out of Krauss, Borchering. I agree CJ isnt that good, but you are overvaluing the 2 prospects.

          • Kev 3 years ago

            Not really. I don’t expect either prospect to make it, but that’s not the point. If GMs just factored WAR into every possible trade, then every post-trade analysis would break down into “the team who gets the MLB player wins, because those prospects probably won’t make it.” Well duh, most don’t.

            Saying that the trade is a good one for ARZ because CJ will put up more WAR than the Borchering/Krauss is lazy though. A prospect’s value is not tied to a WAR number, but what the market says his value is. Borchering/Krauss have known flaws, but the former still has significant upside. The point is not whether they will be better than CJ, but whether the market says they are worth more than CJ. I believe they are, because we know what CJ is at this point, and it’s a guy who has been worth one extra win over 300 games.

            Are you telling me there wasn’t a replacement-level option available for the D-Backs anywhere? Cody Ransom has put up nearly the exact same WAR over the exact same number of games. Would you trade two prospects, any two prospects, for Cody freaking Ransom?

  16. WUNNINE 3 years ago

    How ironic.. both played for Bishop Verot in Ft Myers, Fl and one is traded for the other.. don’t think they played together though

    • Definition of irony: The expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.

    • Catztradamus 3 years ago

      Bobby was a freshman when Chris was a freshman in college, but they know each other very well and played on the same summer league teams, etc… Bobby was really advanced for his age.

  17. qudjy1 3 years ago

    Krauss cant field – may be OK DH for cheap, Borchering is very young, stil 21, cant control K zone, and is really struggling in AA outside of hitters environment. Both guys are long shots for MLB in my opinion. Not sure i see the upgrade at 3B for AZ though.

    • stroh 3 years ago

      Interesting that you call two guys who were taking in 2009 as their #1 and #2 picks and have been tearing it up in the minors as “long shots”……ok, if that’s what you want to call them, fine. We’ll just call it a fair deal, but in my opinion if I was a GM I would not want to deal with Luhnow as he seems to be out there picking pockets.

      • qudjy1 3 years ago

        Tearing it up in the minors? Borchering has a 300 something OPS in AA. He is still young – i agree. Krauss can hit – cant field. Could be good DH as i said above.

        • stroh 3 years ago

          Yes, tearing it up. Borchering’s AA numbers are only based on 77 ABs. He was killing it at high class A (18 HRs, 60 RBIs) and he will eventually kill it at AA and much beyond. I’ll take Krauss even if he can’t field – he had 15 HRs in AA and the ‘stros are moving to the AL and we will need a DH for the future. Good luck with CJ — he’s a good player, just not worth anyone’s #1 and #2 picks.

          • He was repeating A Ball and it was the hitter friendly CAL League. Borchering still has a ton of raw talent, but he’s looking like a Brandon Wood/Joe Borchard type. I think he is worth the risk for Houston, but I believe you’re pumping up his value higher than it actually is.

          • qudjy1 3 years ago

            Cal league dude. If you count where they are picked as important, ive got a Matt Bush to sell you.

          • stroh 3 years ago

            Ok then Baseball America rated Borchering as Arizona’s best power hitting prospect at the beginning of this season, and he’s smacked 20 HRs so far….so they must not know this guy’s talent either. Sorry but I would have taken just one of the two guys for CJ……don’t get me wrong I like CJ, but I know his talent — seen him play for three years now.

          • qudjy1 3 years ago

            Cal League. Homers are fine, but in A ball, in the Cal League, its not all that impressive.

          • stroh 3 years ago

            What’s even more un-impressive? CJ’s 8 HRs this year, all at Minute Maid Park, pretty much all over the short left field porch. Enjoy.

  18. I love this deal. Johnson hits, but man that guy is a terrible defender.

    • Brandon Stubbs Calvert 3 years ago

      It might seem like a overpay but with how deep arizona is in OF who knows if or when they would be called up

  19. bigpat 3 years ago

    Houston didn’t really get any stud prospects after wiping their roster clean, but when you bring in so much depth, I’m sure guys will pan out and become useful players. It’s going to be a very rough season or two, but they will have more depth and freedom do build the roster their way. Things are looking good for them in a few years.

    Also, it’s not like they traded away studs for crappy returns, all the guys they traded were either overpaid vets or simply average players. I feel like Lowrie would have been dealt of he were healthy, they could have received a good haul for him.

    • Karkat 3 years ago

      It’s going to be really, really rough next year in the AL West. But they just need to stock up. Look at Oakland.

      • Andy Repinski 3 years ago

        when you have 100 high upside prospects, a few of them usually turn out. lol. Glad the Astro’s are moving out of the NL central because in a few years they’re going to be scary.

    • 304 3 years ago

      No they didnt get any studs but they sure have some young talent already in the organization. Id say that they just freed some space for their youngsters to shine and i agree
      they are gonna be a tough team in about 2 – 3 years. Singleton Villar Cosart Correa etc. are all gonna be studs in the bigs

  20. padresfuture 3 years ago

    Seems like an overpay on dbacks part. Shows you what the 3b market really is…. limited.

  21. Nice return for Houston, don’t know if Krauss will ever amount to much, but Borchering has nice potential.

    • qudjy1 3 years ago

      Borchering cant control the K zone. He is still young, though.

    • James Attwood 3 years ago

      Krauss is Mark Reynolds version 2.0. He has light tower power but because he only swings for the fences, he strikes out a ton. So far, that has hurt him less than people in his position normally get bitten. But as the pitching and the scouting get better, expect Krauss to plateau. Borchering on the othr hand has the potential to be something pretty impressive if given another 1-2 years to develop.
      The Dbacks overpaid with that combination, but they needed to clear up some of the OF log jam that they had developed and this addresses a concern for the big league team. It also once again frees up Drew to be moved before the deadline. So the tangentials make up for the overpay.

  22. 3runhomer 3 years ago

    This opens the door again for AZ to deal Stephen Drew. Oakland, Pirates and now Cardinals all looking for SS help.

    • davbee 3 years ago

      More likely the door is open for Arizona to keep Drew and make a push for the playoffs.

      • James Attwood 3 years ago

        Except the Dbacks are a better team with Drew on the bench. Since he is gone at the end of the season anyway, might as well get something for him.

  23. The_Porcupine 3 years ago

    Well, I’m not sure I’m going to recognize anyone on the roster after Luhnow is done. I like the fact that they are willing to get rid of anyone that won’t be in the future plans- young, old, cheap or expensive.

    I love the approach Luhnow is taking with rebuilding. I think GM’s sometimes rely too much on THE top prospect in a deal, instead of going for multiple players of value. For instance, I’m pretty sure Texas would have offered a better deal of prospects than Anaheim for Greinke, but instead Melvin insisted on that 1 “name value” prospect (Olt). Luhnow is stocking a farm system with prospects whose ceiling might not be as high, but none the less all have potential to turn into something useful and valuable.

    • davbee 3 years ago

      Quality is always better than quantity. Melvin was right to hold out for the best prospect he could get in a deal for his most marketable asset (Greinke). Olt would gave been a great get, but the truth is if he was off the table, then he had to deal with a team that was offering the best piece to build around. I doubt Texas’ offer, sans Olt, was greater than the Angels’. If it was, he would have taken it.

      The Astors did nice getting anything of value for Johnson, but they really didn’t end up with all that much. Krauss is 24 and repeating Double A for a second year, so his numbers are misleading. He’s also a buthcer in the field, so he’s pretty much locked into being a DH. Borchering is probably never going to make enough consistent contact to have any kind of impact at the major league level.

      • The_Porcupine 3 years ago

        I disagree about holding out for Olt. The pitching the Rangers could have dealt is superior to what the Angels sent.

        I agree that neither player the Astros got is likely to amount to much. But they at least have high upside IF they develop.

        • davbee 3 years ago

          We don’t know what player/players the Rangers offered up for Greinke. We do know that weren’t offering Olt. if they also weren’t offering Perez, than it’s likely it was no one who was higher rated as a player than Segura, who is the #55 ranked prospect.

          • Andy Repinski 3 years ago

            or in as much of a position of need. Segura is almost expected to play a major role in next year’s team, which they expect to contend.

        • Andy Repinski 3 years ago

          the Brewer’s have an abundance of pitching prospect’s and are not rebuilding for 2015, they want to win next year.

  24. Brian Stevenson 3 years ago

    Johnson is a terrible defender who never walks, strikes out too much and hits for an empty average occasionally. Two legitimate prospects for him? Luhnow has done it again. Diamondbacks overpaid.

    • Karkat 3 years ago

      Let’s recall that the DBacks have a wicked deep outfield, so those guys had less value to them than they did to other teams.

  25. Josh Conn 3 years ago

    Having watched Chris Johnson for a number of years as a Pirates fan, I can say 2 things here. One is that Johnson is a marginal player overall, so the Astros did quite well for themselves here. The other is that Chris Johnson has absolutely mashed against the Bucs (then again, before this year, who didn’t?) so I won’t shed a tear not seeing him in the Houston lineup today.

  26. Brandon Stubbs Calvert 3 years ago

    What is CJ’s contract situation? Is he here for just one year or will he be around next year?

    • tmengd 3 years ago

      He is still arbitration eligible. I think there is 2-3 more years control on him

      • Brandon Stubbs Calvert 3 years ago

        Definitely can’t hate this trade, especially considering he is going to be going into Chase. Plus he hasn’t had bad numbers this year with no one around him. Still 41 rbi’s.

  27. dbacknation 3 years ago

    Wow! Pretty terrible KT! I know we are deep in OF’s and Borchering has struggled, but at least get something DECENT in return… Last thing we need.is.Mark Reynolds – power.

    • James Attwood 3 years ago

      Krauss is nothing more than Mark Reynolds 2.0 and Borchering had absolutely no chance of ever making it to the bigs as an OFer in the Dbacks organization. They didn’t get much for the potential, but what they did get is the freedom to trade the cancer that is Drew and to allow Wheeler to finish developing on schedule instead of sticking him over at 3B in the bigs without a safety net.

    • Wouldn’t mind getting a Mark Reynolds type if it means we can later trade him for a David Hernandez.

  28. formerdraftpick 3 years ago

    I haven’t seen Benson in a while, but happy to see the Astros get Mrs. Krauss.

  29. Borchering has been exposed in AA. Still has a ton of power potential and has the potential to be the best player in this deal, but he’s looking more and more like a guy who won’t make enough contact to make it. Worth the risk for Houston though.

    I’m interested to hear from Houston fans what they think of Johnson.

    • Osiris3657 3 years ago

      Fringe major leaguer, reserve infielder. Strikes out a TON. Below average defender at 3B. This deal was not a loss on the Astros’ part.

    • richardb21 3 years ago

      CJ rarely walks, has below average defense and strikes out a lot. But his average has improved over last year and the power is somewhat there but it never really showed. All 8 of his HR were at Minute Maid. He can be streaky. He fits better on a team like ARI where he doesn’t have to lead the offense.

      • davengmusic 3 years ago

        I don’t think anyone expected Chris Johnson to lead the offense…except maybe Brad Mills. Have you seen our cleanup hitters? Bogusevic, JD, I think Scott Moore had a turn or two as the 4. The only person leading anything this year is Altuve. Everyone else is just happy to be able to log MLB time, since they wouldn’t have gotten it anywhere else.

        I’ve watched Chris Johnson since his days in Round Rock, and he was a punk. He walked around with a sense of self-entitlement, and would get rattled with people got on his case about his defense. No plate discipline, lousy work ethic, no defense, and not a lot of pop for a corner guy. The fact that Luhnow got anything for him is just short of a miracle.

        • Kyle Cotton 3 years ago

          thats being a little unfair to Jed Lowrie who i’m hoping Lunhow plans to keep seeing as a great fielding shortstop that can hit for power is a rare thing to come by.

          • davengmusic 3 years ago

            Oops…I forgot about him, being on the DL and all. Out of sight, out of mind! He could be a beast if he could just stay healthy. Sad thing is, the guy isn’t negligent at all. He just has really bad luck when it comes to injuries. If he could last a whole season without getting injured, just imagine what kind of gnarly haul Luhnow could bring in for him…

          • Kyle Cotton 3 years ago

            true but here’s the problem. you can trade him sure but in all honesty you would lose the trade regardless. even if you get the best prospects in the world find guys with Jed Lowrie’s talent to both hit and play defense at short is a rarity. you could go threw a decades worth of amatuer drafts and you will only probably find 2 with that kind of talent and even then your not garunteed to be able to draft them. If I’m lunhow I feel the astros are going to be good within the next 5 years and one managerial change (since millis killed the bullpen this season by having 3 different pitchers pitch to one batter each in an inning). Lowrie’s prime is in the next 5 years. I would sign him to extenstion and build the team around lowrie and altuve.

          • davengmusic 3 years ago

            Devil’s advocate here: As it is right now, he’s yet to play 90 games in a full season. He’s been around for 5 years now. No one ever denied his ability, but, whether it’s his fault or not, he can’t stay on the field and help out. How much money do you give a guy who’s going to miss at least 30 games a year, and possibly as much as half a season? It’s not a pressing matter right now, but you have to think at some point Luhnow is going to move him while he has some value. What SS’s do you know of got injured constantly during their 20’s and then figured it out in their 30’s?

  30. ARod's Ring 3 years ago

    I’m the only who think the D’backs are winning the west?

  31. alva9596 3 years ago

    Did the Yankees ever had interest in Chris Johnson seeing as he’s a 3rd Baseman or is he not very good defensively at the position? Honestly, When I heard that the Yankees were looking for 3rd Base options, all I hear is Chase Headley’s name being mentioned alot -_-.

  32. What are the chances of two mlb players named Adam Eaton?

    Johnson’s pretty underrated and should hit for solid gap power in the bigger ballpark.

    • davengmusic 3 years ago

      Remember when there were two Greg(g) Olsons? Or 3 Kevin Browns?

  33. Not only did the Astros not consider Johnson a long-term solution, he grades out as a below average 3B defensively, struggles with plate discipline (23 bb in 300+ ab’s) and perhaps most importantly, his primary position is one the Astros can easily replace. They called up Brett Wallace today (who has a much higher ceiling and was a 1st rounder just a few years ago), recently traded for Matt Dominguez and have Jimmy Paredes playing well in Corpus. Johnson’s career OPS is .735, far below the ML average for a 3B. Baseball economics say that it’s easier to rebuild from the bottom than the middle. The years of ignoring the farm system for short-term band-aids diluted the organization’s depth and set them back 5+ years. But you can’t repair those years by compounding the problem with more band-aids. This roster was going to lose 95+ games with or without the pricy veterans. I like the plan Luhnow has in place. It won’t be pretty during the process, but building through the minor league system is the only way to repair the former misdeeds and set a middle market franchise up for long term success.

    • Kyle Cotton 3 years ago

      you can’t seriously think that with both hunter Pence and and michael bourn that this team wouldn’t be significantly better. i mean I’ve been watching this team all year and honestly there biggest problem the last two months has been confidence. because the talent is there to at least be a middle of the row team.

  34. qudjy1 3 years ago

    With that HR swing, Johnson will probably provide more value to AZ in one game than Borchering and Krauss will in thier careers.

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