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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.

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    Sweet. I <3 RJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stuart Williams

    Good WAR p/u…just kidding. Seems like filler to me.

  • Who knows

    I like this move instead of coco crispies reed hustles and can play ball

  • DowntownLBrown

    I am glad for this. I will never forget his diving catch in Washington on the warning track. Partly because I was there sitting in CF and it happened right below me, but also because it was the greatest catch I have ever seen.

    • Chris84

      I was having dinner with my wife at the Candlelite in Rogers Park when that catch happened and I’m pretty sure I was the only person who noticed it, letting out a “holy shit!” Everyone else at the restaurant and bar caught it on the replay and let out a collectively rousing “holy shit!”

      Glad to see Reed back as he’s my wife’s favorite Cub (because of that catch!)

  • Toosh

    Good re-sign.

  • Kyle

    Yeah, he’s terrible.

    But he’s white and makes diving catches (on balls that a normal CF would get under on a light jog), so of course he’s beloved.

    At least if we’re going into full rebuild mode, we’re not going to waste service time on good young players. If we have to trot out a hack like this in order to let Brett Jackson have some AAA time and delay his free agency by a year, so be it.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      “But he’s white and makes diving catches” Whoa dude way out of line.

      What does race have anything to do with it?

      • Kyle

        Everything.

        It’s a long-established pattern with baseball fans. Bad players who are white and nice to the media become “scrappy gamers” who are beloved.

        • Cheryl

          Leave race out of this. It doesn’t belong in any baseball player discussion.

        • TWC

          Well, FWIW, I always considered Kenny Lofton a pretty “scrappy gamer”.

          • Kyle

            Who said anything about hatred?

            Like I said: He’s bad, but if we’re going to be punting on 2012, I’d rather fill out the roster with guys like him than start the service time clock on prospects who could still improve in the minors.

            DIsliking the unintentionally racially-tinged opinions of fans isn’t the same as disliking the player.

            Except in Theriot’s case, because he really *is* a douchenozzle.

            • Yeold17

              Pssssss………….. The PC’s have come out this morning….

            • TWC

              I didn’t say anything remotely resembling hatred, Kyle.  In fact, I don’t really find fault with your premise.  I was just noting that Kenny Lofton always sticks out in my mind as a “scrappy” guy, as do a legion of white guys.

              • Kyle

                Yeah, that was a misclick. That reply went to a post that was (at the time) directly adjacent to yours.

                • TWC

                  Gotcha.  Thanks for clarifying.

              • Dougy D

                I think that Kenny Lofton is a similar type of player when compared to Reed Johnson. Both are hustle players that give you their all. I am pleased as punch that they resigned Reed. He is not only a good player, but like it or not, the kind of guy we should want in the clubhouse. He certainly seems to be a hard worker that doesn’t cry about not getting in the lineup enough. I think that the “white” comment was unnecessary, as well. I don’t give a flying fuck what color a guys skin is, and I don’t think that the guys that signed him do either. They signed him because he is a solid team player that can help the club. Hopefully this means that we won’t be seeing Soriano in a Cubs uniform ever again.

                • Kansas Cubs Fan

                  Hit the nail on the head.

                • Kyle

                  Reed Johnson: .341 career OBP, 39 stolen bases

                  Kenny Lofton: .372 career OBP, 622 stolen bases

                  I don’t know what Kenny Lofton did wrong to you guys that he keeps getting compared to a severely inferior ballplayer.

                  • Kansas Cubs Fan

                    Hold on what did Reed Johnson do to you to make you hate him so much?

                  • Dougy D

                    “Well, that’s just like, your opinion, man.”

                    I would take Kenny Lofton right alongside Reed. While Kenny was a faster baserunner, I still think Reed is a better outfielder. Sure, he isn’t a CF,  but a very decent corner outfielder. The comparison was made to compare a similar style of play between 2 players with different colored skin. Would you rather compare Kenny Lofton to Tony Campana? Campana has Lofton-speed, but not the glove. That is a rhetorical question, but I am sure you will gladly answer anyway.

                    SInce I can’t comment on your last one Kyle, I will say this here. Reed Johnson was not as good as Kenny Lofton was. The 2 players played balls out. The 2 players are of different races. This is the comparison of the two players. They played 100% all the time. They hustled their butts off and both players were and are respected for that. I am not trying to argue that Kenny Lofton at one time could cover more ground. Is he better because he was black, NO. Is Reed better because he is white, NO. Both of the players played hard. Got it?

                    • Kyle

                      Wow. You really have no idea how to tell the difference between a good baseball player and a bad one, do you?

                      I’ll help you out: Kenny Lofton was good at baseball. Reed Johnson is bad now but used to be okay enough to be a backup. Tony Campana is terrible.

                      There’s really no good reason to compare any of the three, unlees it’s to say “Well, Reed Johnson isn’t good, but at least he’s no Tony Campana.”

    • Martin

      Over the top hatred for white scrappy players is a silly and stupid as over the top love.

    • http://www.twitter.com/MrRobbins MrRobbins

      By “normal” center fielder, you mean a black, athletic one, right?

      • Kyle

        I mean one whose range doesn’t suck.

    • JulioZuleta

      Very assinine comment. When my parents were young, everyone’s favorite players were Ernie Banks and Billy Williams. My favorite player ever would have been Sammy Sosa if he didn’t turn in to such a cheating douche. Completely off base comment.

  • http://justinjabs.com/blog Justin Jabs

    With Reed we will succeed! You heard Lilly back in the day.

    This is awesome, Reed’s one of my favorites. Welcome back!

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    Now we have Byrd campana dejesus reed baker Dewitt and probably more number 4 outfielders. We are stockpiling number fours!

  • Katie

    Um, WTF does his race have to do with it?

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      Thank you, I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed it. What a tool.

      • EQ76

        I guess that cracker can play some D!

        • Kyle

          Unfortunately, he can’t. But if he runs five feet and makes a diving catch on a routine fly ball, a lot of people can’t tell the difference.

          • Dougy D

            Go eat your whaaa-burger somewhere else Kyle. I think we all know that you don’t like Johnson.

            • MightyBear

              You can always count on Katie to cut throught the bullshit and get straight to the point. You go girl!

              • Katie

                Thanks MB!

              • Kyle

                If I post under a girl’s name, will you be my white knight too?

                • Katie

                  Oh blow it out your ass Kyle.

                • Dooglass

                  You do post under a girls name.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Not to make this a racial discussion but unfortunately the history of the “scrappy” player is riddled with white 4/5th outfielders.  We can pretend its not there but there is still a lot of racism that goes on in the world and I have had the unfortunate experience of hearing racial slurs screamed from the bleachers at Wrigley (and I’m sure at countless other parks).

      • Kyle

        I consider those to be separate though.

        Yelling slurs from the ballpark is racism as in “I hate people who are of a different race, and/or believe them to be inferior.”

        This is about subtle, unintentional stereotyping, not out and out racism. Latin players are fiery, white players are scrappy and work hard, black players are natural athletes.

        • CubFan Paul

          agree 100% kyle

        • jab

          This is an argument that will lead nowhere but for what it’s worth I don’t believe Kyle is trying to be racist. Stereotyping yes, but I found nothing racially offensive about his comment. It’s a little too sensitive to be calling anything he said racist.

  • NL_Cubs

    Reed Johnson = A blue collar gamer. Nice signing! I really enjoy watching him play.

    • jandersonjr81

      True, but he also = a wasted roster spot.

      • NL_Cubs

        I’m resigned to the very real possibility of a lackluster Cubs season in 2012 as the new front office develops their plan. I can tolerate watching Reed in a relief role for another season.

        • jandersonjr81

          Not when that spot could be used to develop a young player.

          • jab

            janderson, agree 100%. If the Cubs are resigned to having a craptastic team this year why block a younger prospect from playing time. The only thing I can think of is that they want Brett Jackson to get as many AB’s as possible in the minors before having him be a utility outfielder behind Byrd and Soriano. Trading Byrd mid-season and then bringing Jackson up for playing time makes sense to me though.

          • Kyle

            The only player he might be blocking is Brett Jackson, who could probably use the AAA development time.

            If we’re going to be bad in 2012, might as well field a team of bad veterans and not waste Brett Jackson’s service time.

          • Mick

            You don’t develop players in the majors, you do that in the minors. Why start the clock on a potential future starter when you can delay his pending free agency and salary AND develop him in AA or AAA?

            • JasonB

              One of the advantages of having a big market team is that service time is less of an issue because we can afford to buy out arb years and FA years at an attractive price.  We’re not the Royals or the Rays in that regard, so if Jackson were ready, we could bring him up.

              Brett Jackson simply needs more time in AAA.  His K% at that level was awful (~30%) and his success was fueled by an unsustainable BABIP.  When he gets that number down to the 20-25% range that he showed in A and AA ball, then he’s ready to move.

  • Matt

    How many OFs do we need on the roster?

    While I love Reed, he’s a 4th OF and we have plenty of those. Unless we’ve got trades about to go down I don’t understand this at all.

  • jandersonjr81

    I guess the point he was making is whites guy who underacheive but are nice are considered hustlers and become beloved. Whereas black as considered overrated and people want to get rid of them. I could agree. I don’t like or dislike Johnson. Could have lived without him being back however. Wasted roster spot that could be used for Jackson, Lehair, Campana, Vitters or others.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      I guess whether a player is black white hispanic whatever doesn’t really bother me, pretty sad that people still think like that.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I’m fairly certain what Kyle is saying is that, according to some, white players who “hustle” tend to get a bit more love than players from other races. I can’t say one way or another, but it’s not inconceivable.

        We should probably just leave it at that.

        • Bails17

          One…I don’t see him as a wasted roster spot.  I love watching him and Byrd play the game the right way.  But…Byrd is overpaid considering the type of number each of them put up last year.  Trade Byrd…let Jackson play…use Reed as a 4th or 5th guy.  It frees up money and allows Jackson to come up and learn from a guy like Johnson.

          • jandersonjr81

            As far as race, I could care less. I’m black and grew up playing baseball as the only black guy on my team, until I got to high school. I never experienced racism. In fact I think they treated me better cause I was black. LMAO. All I care about is can he hit, run, throw, play defense. As far as Johnson, seems like a nice guy who plays the game to his best abilities, which is limited. And if we are not going to win “NOW”, then we don’t need him.

      • Cheryl

        You are so right!!!!

  • NyN

    Maybe we are gonna have one less outfielder shortly.

    • MoneyBoy

      this !!!    I’ve thought the same since Byrd being traded began to be floated.

  • Bluball

    Just speculation at this point, but RJ could have been brought back to fill the roster hole left behind when the deal for Byrd gets done?

  • EtotheR

    Love him…glad he’s back.

    Have to wonder if this means one of our other outfielders is as good as gone?

    • jab

      EthothR, did you say glad he’s black? Oh wait, you said glad he’s back. Sorry, thought you were being racist.

  • Ashley

    I love the signing. Always loved Reed’s hustle and he would be the perfect guy for the Cubs off the bench!

  • Bluball

    Just speculation at this point, but RJ could have been brought back to fill the roster hole left behind when the deal for Byrd gets done?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Certainly – though I think the Cubs may have wanted him back anyway.

      • Mike Foster

        Box office appeal Brett?

    • CubFan Paul

      or $50million saved from not signing darvish could be used to release soriano

      i prefer that route

      • jab

        Paul, I too am sick of Soriano but buying him out really does nothing but hurt this team even more for next season. He does bring some value to the team as far as his bat. If the Cubs can buy out a big portion and get some team to trade for him along with a prospect or two then I say by all means do it. Why would you buy him out just to buy him out though?

        • CubFan Paul

          you buy him out to Improve the outfield defense ..maybe if the cubs land cespedes you’ll get on board

          • CubFan Paul

            and im not sick of soriano, he’s one of my favorite cubs on the team now but for the good of the team i’d like to see him replaced/released/traded

            • jab

              Traded is the only way to go though or you’re throwing away money. It’s still a business as much as it’s an entertainment. No businessman in his right mind is going to just throw away 50 mil. The Cubs have to get something in return for their investment even if it minimal.

              • CubFan Paul

                sunk cost

                • Mick

                  Sunk cost can describe every single player in MLB because of guranteed contracts. The opportunity cost of releasing Soriano now would be his 20-30 HRs/year and prospects we could potentially recieve in return. If we’re not built to compete in the next couple of years what’s the harm in trying to get something in return?

                  • jab

                    Good point Mick

          • Dougy D

            You buy him out to get him off of the club, plain and simple. They have probably done their damnedest to get someone to take him, but why would anyone want him on their club. Talk about a wasted roster spot.

            • jab

              He still has value to the team. Whether it be a reserve or pinch hitter even. To say he brings nothing to the team and they should flat out buy him out and eat 50 some mil. is short sighted and bad business.

            • jandersonjr81

              Why do you want him off the team. What has he done to warrant “being off the team”. Only thing he might be guilty of doing is taking a contract he wasn’t worth. I’m guessing if it were you, you would have turned the money down. Yeah right. From what I hear, he a good teammates and has become a club house leader. Yeah hes overpaid, but he is not a bad guy. Cutting him would be idiotic. As would be trading him, paying 30-40 mil, and getting no return.

              • Dougy D

                I don’t want him on the team because he can’t catch the ball and his bat doesn’t make up for that. I am sure he is a nice guy. I don’ t see how this ball club can work it’s way toward contention with someone that can’t catch the ball. Maybe if he was batting .300, hitting 35 HR, and stealing 25 bases, it might be worth him being a liability in the field. But a .260 avg, a crap-ton of strike outs, and less than ten SB’s? How does that make him worth keeping in LF?

                • jab

                  If he was doing all that he’d make more than 18 mil per season. He’s not worth his contract but cutting him makes him worth even less of his contract.

                  • Dougy D

                    When he was signed 5 years ago, or how ever many it was, that is why he got such a huge contract. He was one of the highest payed players in the league. Our front office saw the numbers he had just put up and got overexcited, to say the least. They really got burned on the deal. What hurts most, is the longevity of the contract. For his lack of value to other teams, the best we could do is get him over to the AL so he can become a DH. The problem is that his bat isn’t that good. If the front office wants change, and to see how good the youngsters are, he has to go, IMO. You may disagree with eating the majority of the contract, but if you were another team, how much would you pay him?

                    • CubFan Paul

                      not much ..no other team wants soriano in a trade because he has 3yrs left on his deal. no GM in his right mind will want soriano in 3yrs no matter what the cost ($2-$6million)

                    • jandersonjr81

                      That why I wouldn’t trade him. I willing to bet Theo is not even seriously considering it or pushing. If he is, he’s stupid. Soriano is not a bad players, and for all his bad play, he has a lot of clutch hits.

            • Mick

              I don’t get your argument here, what benefit would it be to the Cubs to simply release Soriano?

              • Dougy D

                The club would benefit form having a decent glove in left field, someone that could run the bases, and not strike out near as much. I’m not a business man, but sometimes you have to cut your losses. Has this team been getting better with him in LF? I sure don’t think so. I think he hampers the team more than he helps it. I would be pleased as punch with getting a prospect in return for him, and hopefully that will happen. But he clearly must not put in the work to become a better outfielder, because he is still bad.

    • King Jeff

      I was just thinking the same thing. There was almost no talk of re-signing him, it was kind of out of nowhere. Either this was already a foregone conclusion or they have other plans working that requires another outfielder. This almost certainly removes them from the Coco Crisp discussion until they make a trade.

  • Kyle

    Okay, all the other stuff aside, Reed Johnson is a bad baseball player.

    His slash line looks superficially good, but his .394 BABIP shows what an amazing fluke it was. Basically, everything he slapped at fell into a gap, and nobody can keep that up long-term.

    Meanwhile, he’s 35. His defense is slipping (and was only ever average at best to begin with), and his peripherals show an impending batting collapse. He’s striking out a lot more and walking less the last two years. The skills have begun to degrade and there’s no turning back.

    We could have done a *lot* better for a 4th outfielder without much effort. But since we’re giving up on 2012 anyway, I guess it doesn’t matter.

    • jab

      Kyle, I believe the Cubs are kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place right now. They have Soriano who they can’t unload and are waiting for maximum return on Byrd(most likely at the trade deadline). Until they can get Brett Jackson in to the lineup full time they won’t bring him up as he can continue to ripen in AAA. They will not bring him up and have him sit behind guys that make 10 and 18 Mil. respectively. Bringing him up to sit and not get ab’s is a mistake. I’m not saying it’s right to sit him behind those guys but that’s the way these Major League teams operate.

      • CubFan Paul

        the cubs Can unload soriano, ricketts has already given theo&co. the permission to do so ..& byrd only makes $6.5million respectively

        • jab

          I’m doubting that Ricketts gave the aopproval to eat all 58 mil left on his contract. Why wouldn’t you just keep him and have him be a reserve over eating all that money and getting nothing back including no salary relief? I do believe if they could get a team to eat 5-7 million of his salary the Cubs would jump on it. Is he a clubhouse cancer or a terrible person who is in trouble with the law constantly? I haven’t heard he is, but maybe you know something I don’t. If the Cubs eat his salary it’s a lose, lose for them. They lose the money and the production he does bring.

          • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

            Per Theo at his introductory presser he has the power to do what is necessary to fix the Cubs, even eating Soriano’s salary.

          • CubFan Paul

            clueless with opinions

    • Ralph

      I guess given all the crap contracts the Cubs have thrown out there in recent years, seeing Reed Johnson sign a ONE YEAR deal isn’t the end of the world.

  • Bluball

    I agree Jab. He may not be worth the 54 mil left on his contract, but to outright cut him wouldn’t make a lot of sense.

  • Cheryl

    Lets go on to something else. Anything more on Marshall?

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      People are saying the deal may not be as close to done as previously reported. That’s about all I’ve seen on Twitter.

      • polocubs

        mlb traderumors is now saying that the deal with marshall is not necessarily imminent now…and that the cubs have been talking to jeff francis to fill their back end of rotation

        the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round

  • Seth Majewski

    i think this sets up a trade for byrd and or soriano. DeJesus, Johnson, Campana, Jackson, could be the outfield.

  • KidCubbie

    This is a solid if not spectacular move. Still a good defensive 4th/5th outfielder. Good clubhouse guy. I was there for his amazing catch in Washington. Good with the glove and plenty of hustle left.

  • Kyle

    Remember, we are supposed to be “rebuilding” but we couldn’t spare a 40-man roster spot for Ryan Flaherty. But we could for this guy.

    • Dougy D

      Expect another spot to open up very shortly. I am sure that they aren’t looking at Reed as a fix all, just an injury replacement and bench player, like last year.

      • Kyle

        We still have quite a few spots left.

        I hope we sign Coco Crisp now too. We already have Byrd, DeJesus and now Reed Johnson. Fourth outfielders can be to Theo/Hoyer what second basemen was to Hendry.

    • Dooglass

      It’s a one year deal for a guy who plays the game the right way, plays solid defense, and will probably not cost much. Seems like a lot of disappointment over one small but solid move. I couldn’t have predicted that anyone would have been this upset about this.

  • Timmy

    Looks like this is our big signing for the offseason! And at this rate the biggest signing Epstein will make in his entire tenure in Chicago.

    • JasonB

      After two months during a time when no games are played, you’d think he could have turned a 70-win franchise devoid of any talent aside from one SS, one starter and one CF into a 100-win powerhouse.  This guy is a bum – let’s fire him now and bring back Jim Hendry.  Better yet, let’s hire Ned Colleti – he’s signing all kinds of players.

      Must. Win. Now.

      • Kyle

        They were closer to a 75-win team last year, and maybe even a bit better, with even a smidgen of injury luck.

        He could have turned them into an 85-90 win team without *that* much effort this offseason, but he chose not to. Remember, when you watch the 2012 World Series Champions celebrating, that there was a non-zero chance that could have been the Cubs but they passed.

        • KyleNovak

          Kyle. Seriously man, this whiny “woe-is-me” attitude is wearing thin.

          You’re making this a MUCH bigger deal out of this deal then is completely necessary. Remember, he is a backup outfielder, not a long-term starter.

          And FWIW, are you sure you’re looking at the right Reed Johnson here? You know, the one who played for Cubs in 2008, 2009, and 2011?

          Baseball-Reference has him worth 3.7 WAR (in 826 PA) in those three seasons with the Cubs for $5.2 million. His OPS+ with the Cubs during his tenure is 103. As Brett stated above, he filled in for injured players when needed and there were stretches were he was the most consistent bat in the lineup. As a platoon/bench player, he was a great value and EXACTLY what you want.

          Cheap. Experienced. Versatile.

          Yes, he had a high BABIP last year, but remember, as a platoon player, those numbers are much more likely to be skewed one way or the other. Heis a year older and his defense has regressed a bit (which seems to be your biggest argument), but that does absolutely nothing to warrant this label of “terrible player” you seem to be tossing around like used Kleenex.

          Carl Crawford was terrible last season. Adam Dunn was really terrible last season. There is no way that Reed Johnson, as a Cub, is terrible.

          It just sounds like you’re upset that the Cubs haven’t made any huge moves in the offseason, which is justified. Just don’t bring his whole “Reed totally sucks, people only like him because he dives and is a white guy OMG!!!11!!” when the stats I mentioned above clearly refute your argument.

          • Timmy

            word is they’re going to do a 3 way trade with garza and marshall, for carl crawford and vernon wells. oh, and we got reed johnson!

          • Kyle

            “Kyle. Seriously man, this whiny “woe-is-me” attitude is wearing thin.”

            Do you want to go back and count all the times I said “It doesn’t really hurt anything” or something to that effect? Or do I have to do that for you?

            The rest of this post was a decent effort, compared to a lot of posts, but still pretty weak.

            “You’re making this a MUCH bigger deal out of this deal then is completely necessary. Remember, he is a backup outfielder, not a long-term starter.”

            Okay. I don’t recall ever saying he was a long-term starter, but maybe I blacked out for a minute.

            He’s not a very good backup outfielder.

            “And FWIW, are you sure you’re looking at the right Reed Johnson here? You know, the one who played for Cubs in 2008, 2009, and 2011?

            Baseball-Reference has him worth 3.7 WAR (in 826 PA) in those three seasons with the Cubs for $5.2 million. His OPS+ with the Cubs during his tenure is 103. As Brett stated above, he filled in for injured players when needed and there were stretches were he was the most consistent bat in the lineup. As a platoon/bench player, he was a great value and EXACTLY what you want.”

            Baseball Reference’s WAR values are meant to be descriptive and not predictive.

            Cheap. Experienced. Versatile.

            Yes, he had a high BABIP last year, but remember, as a platoon player, those numbers are much more likely to be skewed one way or another. Heis a year older and his defense has regressed a bit (which seems to be your biggest argument), but that does absolutely nothing to warrant this label of “terrible player” you seem to be tossing around like used Kleenex.”

            Well, at least you acknowledged the BABIP issues, but you tried to brush them off because deep down you know that they skewer your attempted point.

            Baseball-Reference’s WAR values are descriptive and not predicitve. That’s especially friendly to Reed Johnson, because all of his predictive stats are blinking red warnings that he’s not really very good at all.

            He’s 35 years old. He was terrible in 2010 for the Dodgers.

            His slash line for the 2011 Cubs looks decent, but you know, deep down, that it was a BABIP fluke.

            He had a .394 BABIP and a .309/.348/467 slash line. He has a career .333 BABIP. Drop that .394 BABIP another 60 points, and what do you get? Another sub-.300 OBP, just like he had in 2010.

            That’s what is reasonable to predict from him in 2012.

            The peripherals clearly show a mid-30s guy who used to be mediocre but has lost his skills.

            His career strikeout rate is 17.7%. The last two seasons, that’s jumped up to 23.5%. His career walk rate is 4.8%, it has dropped to 2.1% the last two years.

            If you are smart enough to know what BABIP is, you are smart enough to see what this is: A guy who has lost enough bat speed to be terrible, but who had a .394 BABIP mask that last season.

            Couple that with his mediocre defensive abilities, and he’s not even a good fourth outfielder.

            “It just sounds like you’re upset that the Cubs haven’t made any huge moves in the offseason, which is justified. Just don’t bring his whole “Reed totally sucks, people only like him because he dives and is a white guy OMG!!!11!!” when the stats I mentioned above clearly refute your argument.”

            I’ve accepted that we’re rebuilding. Not thrilled with it, but let’s do it then. We lost two decent prospects in the Rule V draft because we wanted to save the roster spots. But we’re using one on a 35-year-old backup OF with no upside? How does that make sense?

            • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

              Kyle I think you’ve stated your case, now it’s time to move on. This is no longer a discussion it’s now an argument. It’s best now to just walk away and not continue the discussion.

              • Kyle

                As long as they don’t get mean-spirited, both can be fun.

          • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

            This is spot on, nicely done Mr Novak

            • Kyle

              His entire argument boils down to “If we pretend 2009 isn’t a long time ago for a 35-year-old player and also that BABIP doesn’t mean anything, Johnson is a decent fourth outfielder.”

              Unfortunately, neither of those “ifs” are true.

              • KyleNovak

                Look, do you honestly think you can predict his BABIP for 2012? Just look at his BABIP numbers since 2006. We are talking 60-70 point swings in EITHER direction and a career average that ends up settling in the middle of pretty much all of those figures. It isn’t as easy as saying he’ll revert to a career number that is merely in the middle of that wide range. You are mentioning that IF his BABIP drops closer to his career average, than he’ll be around a .700 OPS hitter, which is true. But I could counter by mentioning that IF his BABIP was even if the .350-.360 range, he would still have value as a backup, which could also be true. Both of us could end up being right, since a new season means new BABIP figures around the league. My argument is that you’re failing to see my possibility, almost as if an errant “Lucky!!” will eliminate his 2008 and 2011 seasons from existence. You brushed aside my point about how platoon players can have widely fluctuating BABIP, despite the fact that anybody studying metrics will be the first to tell you that small samples are unpredictable. That is Reed Johnson in a nutshell, sometimes having very good value, sometimes not, due to him carving a CAREER as only a part-time player.

                As far as his age, the strikeout rate, the walk rate, the diminished skills in the field that you mention, you’re absolutely right. There are red flags that say he could very well drop off a cliff. If he does, he does. You release him and go from there. Every team takes those kind of risks, like San Diego paying for a steadily decling Jim Edmonds in 2008 (and losing) and the Cubs for picking him up. (WINNING) If Reed was going to be playing in 75% of the team’s full games, I’d be behind you 110%, but as a spot bench guy I’m okay with the move. Yours is similar reasoning that prompted me in expressing some concern in Carlos Pena getting a multi-year extension. But Carlos Pena wants north of $10 million/year as a starting 1B, while Reed is getting small fractions of that as a backup outfielder that will be shifted aside for future players when needed.

                My questions to you would be: Who else would you have signed, if anyone, taking into account the money spent and the number of years offered? Is there a minor leaguer that you have rather seen on the 40-man roster instead?

                Management decided that Reed Johnson, despite his declining skills, is a calculated, cheap gamble that fills a backup spot until Brett Jackson (and possibly others) and others are presumably ready? They bet on him with chump change last year, won and are letting it ride.

                Also. . . sometimes luck is involved. Just because a player benefitted from good luck doesn’t mean they don’t deserve some credit.

                Let’s leave it at that. You and I disagree (and your points are good ones), and I’m taking the gamble along with the Cubs that he’ll do his job (albeit a very limited one).

            • Caleb

              Agreed. Whether you go by a general “feel” of a guy, or by advanced numbers (which you can’t just pick and choose, btw), Reed has been valuable, cheap, and fun to watch as a cub. Resigning him is in no way a bad move, or a block for any upside kids. Glad to have him, both because he’s valuable and I like him! Gotta keep the cub cynical negativism to a minimum. If you still wanna get your hate on, I recommend Dave chappelles playa hatas ball.

  • Timmy

    Hear Hear!

  • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

    David Kaplan said something really interesting in a recent local interview.  He was standing in a group that included Epstein and Epstein had this to say (my quote is a best rememberance of what Kaplan said that Theo said):

    “There is going to be a lot of rumors, speculation, talk about what the Cubs are going to do.  When you hear any of that try and filter it through the lens of ‘What is best for the Cubs long term.’”

    Kiss 2012 goodbye unless we can get a bunch of young players who can catch lightning in a bottle.

  • Caleb

    Yes! Love reed. He always seems to get hits at the right time more often than average players. And while last year might have been a fluke year (or not, who knows) an OPS of .816 with OPS+ of 122 in 266 plate appearances… Not bad for a guy making under $1 million. Hear that, sori? Soto? Byrd? That’s bang for the buck right there! When you include his presence, hustle, and fan appeal, he’s a great choice for a backup outfielder. Who knows- maybe he can hang out with lance berkman this winter and, you know, work out a way to have a late-in-life super surge. Either way, glad to have him.

  • jim

    How is reed signing “best for team in long term?” looks like another long, boring, season ahead

    • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

      In the short term we will still need signings like Johnson, cheap, productive and a good role model for young players.

  • jim

    Prediction: aroldis chapman for marshall

  • Sam

    So truely how big of a deal is this new CBA ordeal?

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