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.
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