According to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter, the Cubs have agreed to a one-year deal with fan favorite outfielder, Reed Johnson. The deal is pending a physical.

Johnson was an acceptable 4th/5th outfielder last year, and he’ll likely return to that role for the Cubs in 2012. Tony Campana, right now, could be the Cubs’ other reserve outfielder.

Johnson, 35, came to the Cubs last year on a minor league deal (having spent 2010 with the Dodgers after two years with the Cubs), and was hugely important in Marlon Byrd’s absence after taking a pitch to the face. There was a protracted stretch where Johnson was actually the best hitter on the team.

Statistical flukes like that fade, however, and Johnson finished the year down from his ungodly midseason numbers, with a still-very-good .309/.348/.467 line in 266 plate appearances. I would expect some regression this year, though he can still hit lefties quite well (even though he actually hit righties (.829 OPS) better than lefties (.797) last year). For his career, he goes .311/.369/.464 against lefties.

Johnson can play all over the outfield, which is a tremendous asset, even if his defense has declined in recent years – a few sparkling catches notwithstanding. He runs the bases well, plays hard, and is a positive influence in the clubhouse.

In other words, as a 4th/5th outfielder on a cheap-o one-year deal, the move is fine with me, regardless of how the rest of the roster shakes out.

  • RoughRiider

    Reed Johnson is a really good addition if you are a contending team. The Cubs aren’t. He rarely walks. He can’t steal a base. He has a bad back. He can’t play full time. At best he is a good guy on the bench would plays the game the right way and maybe some of that will rub off on the younger players. He will be a good coach someday if he wants to be.

  • Warrior

    Root for another team so you won’t have to waste your time bitching here then. If you’re a Cubs fan then support them and see wait the plan is for this team. Epstein is just getting started here and people are already asking for his head because he’s not going out wasting money to strap the team again in the future when it doesn’t pan out in the present. I trust the approach Epstein and his staff are taking than the thoughts of armchair GM’s here.

    • RoughRiider

      You can support a team and a front office and even a player without blindly following and agreeing or liking everything they do. Lashing out at people because they don’t agree is a less than mature.
      For the record I have been a Cub fan for longer than most have been alive and I do support Epstein and his staff until they prove that they aren’t capable. Which I don’t believe and hope will never happen.

  • 2much2say

    Key to success? Need core players to replace with up and comers. Trade your strengths and buy your weaknesses.

  • BetterNews

    I am glad the Cubs re-signed Reed Johnson! Great player. But by the same token, I feel bad. Why? Because I see him as a difference maker in a WS game, a WS game he will never see with the Cubs. Example: Bases loaded with 2 outs, bottom of the 9th. Johnson rips a line drive to center to win the game and the series! I always felt he was/is that calibur of a player.