Jeff DaVanon Rumors

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Reed Johnson

On Sunday the Jays released Reed Johnson, but he will not remain unemployed long as several teams need help in the outfield or on the bench. Ken Rosenthal notes that the Cubs, Red Sox, Rays and Rangers have shown interest in Johnson, while Jim Baubach added the Mets to the equation. That is a lot of interest in a player that has 42 home runs, 28 steals and a career OPS+ of 95 in 4.5 seasons. Then again, with one week prior to the regular season, there are not a lot of options available. It’s not like a player that posted a 170 OPS+ in 2007 is available…Oh wait…Never mind…Let’s take a look at what is being written about Johnson in the Blogosphere.

  • Mets Geek believes that Johnson is exactly what the Mets need, noting that he would be the right-handed bat that the bottom of the Mets order desperately needs. They also like his defense and the fact that he comes without having to surrender players.
  • MetsBlog is not convinced that Johnson is much of an upgrade over Angel Pagan or Brady Clark and feels the Mets prefer Xavier Nady but are content with Pagan if Nady cannot be acquired.
  • MetsMerized was against trading for Johnson but doesn’t see how Omar Minaya can pass on signing him now.
  • Baseball Crank sees Johnson as a good fit for the Mets, noting that he has a solid career line against lefties, but concedes that what little power he has shown came at the hitter-friendly Skydome, or whatever they are calling it these days.
  • Cobra Brigade sees the Cubs signing either Johnson or Jeff DaVanon, whichever comes at the cheaper price.
  • Crawley’s Cub Kingdom feels the Cubs are going to make a deal and that a player like Johnson may fit better than a Coco Crisp or Marlon Byrd, both of whom may complain about playing time and impede the progress of Felix Pie.

Cork Gaines writes for Rays Index and can be reached here.

Who Wants Reed Johnson?

3:40pm: Ken Rosenthal says the Cubs are "showing the heaviest interest" in Johnson.  Johnson does make sense for the Cubs, playing center when the team faces a lefty.  It might hold Felix Pie back slightly, but it’s a win-now move.

Rosenthal says the Red Sox, Rays, and Rangers are the other teams in on Johnson.  It’s definitely surprising to see the Sox and Rangers in the mix as neither club is light on outfielders.

9:40am: If 31 year-old outfielder Reed Johnson clears release waivers, he’s going to be a hot commodity.  Already, the expected three teams have been named as possibilities in their respective newspapers.

  • On Sunday, Joel Sherman characterized the Mets’ interest as "mild at best."  Bart Hubbuch says the Mets are interested but quotes Omar Minaya as saying the Mets will go with internal options.
  • Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald says the Cubs have interest in Johnson, noting that Jim Hendry is likely to make an acquisition this week.  Jeff DaVanon is another (less likely) option. Gordon Wittenmyer says the Cubs would have interest in Johnson if he clears release waivers.
  • Joe Smith connects the Rays to Johnson and DaVanon, though only in speculation.
  • I asked ESPN’s Keith Law how Johnson handled center field.  He said: "I haven’t seen him since the injury, but he could play it every day when I was with Toronto, and he has a plus arm."

Odds and Ends: Roberts, Otsuka, Walker, DaVanon

A few minor moves to speak of…

  • The Cubs don’t appear to be concerned about Brian Roberts‘ steroid admission.
  • The Padres’ talks for Xavier Nady are "on hold," according to Bill Center.  Also, the Friars continue to eye Akinori Otsuka.
  • Aside from the aforementioned Michael Barrett, the Padres signed Robert Fick and Jeff DaVanon.  DaVanon, a switch-hitter, has had some decent years against righties.  Ken Rosenthal believes the Padres may consider their outfield situation settled now after missing out on Geoff Jenkins and signing DaVanon.
  • Todd Walker, remember him?  He was released by the Padres this year in Spring Training and hooked on with Oakland.  After a month and a half there, they designated him for assignment.  He wasn’t picked up, and enjoyed spending the time with his family.  Now, however, the Rockies have had preliminary conversations with him according to Tracy Ringolsby.  Walker played for the Rox in 2000, posting a .929 OPS in limited duty.  He had another half season in Colorado in ’01 before being traded to the Reds for Alex Ochoa.
  • Excellent team blogs are going corporate – Bucco Blog was purchased by Baseball Interactive Media, and MetsBlog partnered with SNY.  Both seem like positive developments for readers – Jake and Matthew maintain editorial control, but perhaps gain additional access and technology.

New Possible Zito Scenario

Just got a note from my Mets source on a possible Barry Zito trade scenario.  Here’s how this could play out:

The Orioles still have some interest in Kris Benson; VP Jim Duquette likes him.  Benson would be dealt to the O’s for young players of Billy Beane’s choice.

Victor Diaz would be shipped off by the Mets as well, but again for prospects coveted by Oakland.  The A’s don’t have room for Diaz given their glut of 1B/DH/OF types.  The prospects from both deals would then be packaged with Aaron Heilman and the Mets would receive Zito.

The Mets would likely sign Jeff DaVanon to platoon in right field with Xavier Nady to complement this trade.  The switch-hitting DaVanon didn’t do much with righties this year, but posted an .824 OPS against them in 2004.  Nady has a career line of .323/.400/.452 in 124 at-bats versus southpaws.   So keep an eye out for a DaVanon signing and Benson trade, because that could spell a Zito deal.