A day after hearing that the Chicago Cubs were most likely to find their fourth outfielder via trade, rumors are circulating about two free agent outfielders. Of course, one of them doesn’t feel like a free agent, because he was just on the Cubs: indeed, the Cubs are hoping to re-sign Reed Johnson.
A fourth outfielder is the priority right now, and the Cubs are looking for a right-handed hitter to platoon with Kosuke Fukudome. Johnson and Xavier Nady both fit the bill, and both of their price tags figure to shrink as spring training nears.
“Reed is in the mix,” assistant general manager Randy Bush said Wednesday at the Cubs Caravan kickoff luncheon at Harry Caray’s restaurant. “Reed is doing what he should do and seeing what else is out there.
“Reed’s main thing is playing time. Reed wants to play. You can’t fault a guy for that. Reed wants to make sure he exhausts the possibilities that include significant playing time. We love Reed. We’d love to have him back. We’ll see how it plays out.” Chicago Breaking Sports.
Johnson’s asking price is right around $3 million per year, and obviously if he has his druthers, he’d like a multi-year deal.
Nady is a very intriguing option. Over the past five years, Nady has absolutely been a starting caliber outfielder, exceeding an .800 OPS in three of the last four years he’s played. Ah, but there’s the rub: he basically didn’t play last year. Nady’s elbow bothered him early in the year, and after failed rehab efforts, he underwent his second (eek!) Tommy John surgery. Obviously that’s not the same stop sign as it would be for a pitcher, but it’s a concern. Nady will make for a nice high risk/reward signing, but counting on him as the fourth outfielder could be risky.