Christmas Eve rumors: Yanks talking to Reed Johnson

Link Dump: Cliff Lee, Mark DeRosa, Curtis Granderson
Christmas Eve Open Thread

The baseball world slows down a bit on Christmas Eve as executives, agents and players settle in for some quality time with their families. The Yankees though are still working on their holiday shopping. As Joel Sherman reported this afternoon, the Yankees are “talking regularly” with Reed Johnson and his representatives. Johnson, 33, would be a left field target for the Yanks, and he would give them some flexibility as he is a right-handed batter who can play all three outfield positions. He doesn’t, however, hit too well. He has a career line of .282/.344/.411 with a 95 OPS+ and has had an OPS+ above 100 just twice in seven years and not at all since 2006. He played just 65 games last year and has averaged 84 games per season over the last three years while hitting just .269/.333/.383. Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann can probably do that.

Link Dump: Cliff Lee, Mark DeRosa, Curtis Granderson
Christmas Eve Open Thread
  • chriskeo

    Ben, I believe he has a career BA of .282

  • Matt Imbrogno

    The .344 OBP is nice, because he wouldn’t be an automatic out, but I don’t think he’d be starting regularly. At best, IMO, he’d be a decent option to be the 4th/5th OF who could caddy Gardner against tough lefties.

  • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

    I think it’s worth mentioning that his career line vs LHP is

    .313/.378/.463/.841 with a tOPS+ of 123

    • Matt Imbrogno


      • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

        I think he may be able to make a decent-to-good caddy with Gardner (and my feelings are quite known regarding that whole thing). He plays a very good left field, can hit lefties very effectively, can play the rest of the OF in a pinch, and will probably be under $2 million bucks. Sure, there are concerns, but he’s a 4th/5th OF type—you’ll never find one of those without big concerns. On paper, this would look great to me.

        Seriously. I was on the Church wagon before, but having looked at his splits, I’m off it. I think I’d also rather have Johnson than Nady at this point, though I wouldn’t be heartbroken if we picked him up. There’s just seemingly a lot more risk with a guy like that.

        What do you think, Matty?

        • Matt Imbrogno

          Aww, you called me Matty. Only two other people do that, and one of them is dead.

          Anyway, strictly as a caddy for Gardner, Johnson’s a good option. He shouldn’t be handed any starter’s job. Church is “meh.” OBP/SLG are trending downward, though in ’09, he did suffer from playing in two bad hitter’s parks and put up a and .810 road OPS. If Gardner was right handed rather than left-handed–or Hoffmann was penciled in as the LF–then I’d like to go to Church as a platoon option for RHP.

          • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

            Right, strictly as a caddy. I haven’t seen many lobby for him to be given a starter’s job, but really, when you think of our direct needs (someone who’s versatile, good defender, hits lefties in case Granderson struggles tremendously, cheap) and the rest of the market being all too expensive (Holliday, Bay or Damon and to a lesser extent, DeRosa, Byrd), coming with serious injury concerns (Nady), really poor downward trends (Church, Winn, Ankiel) or not being able to effectively play the field (pretty much everyone else there).

            What are we left with from guys that can play a good LF, hit lefties and be under $5 million? Johnson, Tatis (?!), Marlon Byrd possibly.

            Johnson seems to fit the mold pretty well, although Tatis is a name that may drum up some interest. We’re near scraping the bottom here, but it’s better than doling out big money and losing flexibility. We’ll be just fine with an average-to-slightly-below average 9 hitter playing excellent defense and providing a speed threat.

            This isn’t a video game.

  • Dela G

    he hits .28???? holy jesus


    • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

      I know you’re being light-hearted, but you should really just send him a tip through email if the substance of what you write is based on a typo.


    • chriskeo

      Well technically a .28 = .280 just drop the decimal.

      • Mike R. – Retire 21

        Thank you. I was about to write that.

  • Ams223

    I know it’s a typo, but .28 doesn’t mean .028 it would mean .280.

  • KJC

    What’s Reed Johnson going to be? Gardner’s backup? Johnson has nothing on Gardner and would not be an improvement. For the same money, they could go get Byrd, who would be an improvement. However, I have a gut feeling this all of these statements about staying under budget, as well as talking with various and sundry 4th outfielders, is only posturing before going after Holliday. I cannot believe Johnson is the answer to left field.

    • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

      Who said he was the answer to left field? He’s potentially part of the equation. The money to get Holliday simply isn’t there. While it’s possible given the Yankees’ ambiguous budget, all indications point to there being around $4 million left this year. If that’s the case, no dice.

      I’m not going to re-hash the reasons against signing Holliday –it’s been argued many a time, and more effectively than what I’d probably formulate– but we don’t need an AS at every position, and he hampers future flexibility.

      I may completely loathe Brett Gardner, but pairing him with a Johnson-type (someone versatile who can hit lefties) does provide average value, more than enough when considering the rest of this lineup. We’re projected to have one of the better defensive outfields with that set-up and very good speed at a 9 spot (!).

      Chances are, there really is a hard budget and we’re pretty much at it. Johnson is a 4th/5th outfielder but his value actually fits in quite well with what the Yankees are looking for in the outfield.

      But if not, fuck it—let’s get Barry Bonds and his dead father to play. They’re free agents, right?

      • Matt Imbrogno

        Bonds in left > Dye in left.

        • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

          One-legged Pirate (Ron Santo?!) in left > Dye in left.

  • Mike R. – Retire 21

    I assume he would sign a minor league deal and patrol Scranton’s OF.

    • Jobamania


  • Old Goat

    Reed Johnson? If that’s the choice due to budget constraints, why bother? Why not just go with Gardner instead and save the money over spending just to fill a space?

    • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

      I don’t expect you to do the research, so I’ll be brief and try to keep this to monosyllabic terms.

      *We have a small bit of money (roughly $4 mil. according to most estimates), so we’re not looking to add Holliday, Bay, Damon due to their salary demands. DeRosa and Byrd are outside possibilities, again, due to the years and money.

      *We have a need for outfield depth (Gardner, Hoffman, Swisher, Granderson). So, in case of injury, that means we’d only have three outfielders. Not good; we need another guy.

      *It would be nice to have a guy that can play all three positions in the OF if need arises, and particularly an effective LF to spell Gardner.

      *It would also be nice to have a guy that can also hit LHP, as Granderson struggles with LHP and in a small sample size, Gardner has, too.

      For under $4 million, Reed Johnson plays an excellent LF, can play the other spots in a pinch, hits lefties very well. Salary is important; you can’t just run out there and grab a Bentley whenever you want. This move would make sense given the current budget constraints, roster construction, future flexibility (possible run at Crawford or someone else in the future) needed for the organization.

      • Mac1

        The Budget is a self inficted issue – the Yanks can spend a few million more if the “right” guy is avaialable for LF.

        A Budget for some organizations is incredibly important – it can be the difference between staying afloat or losing control of the team, for the Yanks its a financial strategy that isn’t that important at the end of the day (within reason, I’m not saying ramp payroll up to 250+ mil).

        Yanks don’t need a big ticket guy who can’t field, but Cashman is being a bit too cute with trying to save a couple of mil if that’s truly what he’s doing.

        Damon’s bat was a much better fit for the Yanks lineup, if NJ gets hurt and LF falls apart, Cashman will have created needless problems because he wanted to stay 10 mil or so lower in payroll (add 40% to that if you want in Luxury Tax).

        If things work out, Cashman comes out smelling like a rose, but it still doesn’t negate that he is taking a risk – and its probably solely driven by the desire to save money they have to spend.

    • Bill O

      We need depth and unless we’re confident in Hoffmann as our RH OF off the bench Johnson makes a lot of sense in a platoon with Gardner as he dominates LH pitching.

      I’d still sign another OF and try to make a deal with the Dodgers so that we can keep Hoffmann in AAA. I like Hinske as that extra OF. So start Gardner in LF with Reed Johnson starting against lefties. Hinske fills in against righties when someone else needs a day off. He also pinch hits for Gardner late in games. And if Gardner isn’t performing he could start in LF and give us league average offensive production and average-slightly below average defense.

  • Hughesus Cristo

    Have faith in GGBG. I think he can surprise with a full-time job.

    • Hughesus Cristo

      Speaking of GGBG, is there any way to get his minor league L/R splits? SSS, but he was better against lefties than righties last year.

  • Omar

    He’d pretty much just sign so he’d be Curtis Granderson’s caddy.

    • Bill O

      Granderson will have no caddy. He isn’t sitting much despite his splits. At the very least the Yankees need to have him try to work on improving his numbers against lefties because he can’t hit in the middle of our order if another team can simply neutralize him by bringing in a lefty reliever. Right now he’s probably our best option in the #5 spot in the lineup against RHP, but late in a game you’d be weary about having him there if a team can just walk ARod and bring in a lefty reliever to face Curtis.

      Plus with Granderson’s defense and overall ability you don’t take a guy like that out of the lineup very often.

      He’ll probably hit 8th against lefties but he’ll still be in the lineup the majority of the time.

      Reed Johnson would start in place of Gardner.

      • Omar

        Granderson will likely regress to the mean against LHP, yes, but still…Reed Johnson smokes LHP and against guys like Lester, Lee, and other elite left handed starters. As far as bringing in a lefty reliever goes? That situation rarely comes up, and if a manager wants to burn through a bullpen and remove him when Posada, Swisher, and Cano come up that’s fine with me. Given that Reed Johnson has other strengths as well, it’s not a bad idea to bring him in, especially that he alleviates Granderson’s (seemingly only) weakness.

  • Bob Stone

    Merry Christmas everyone. It sure has been a terrific holiday season for the Yankees and Yankee fans. Cashman can shop for me anytime (although I am still getting over losing Matsui, IPK and Damon).

    • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

      And to you as well, Bob. It’s always hard giving up veterans who’ve helped take you to the top, and promising prospects, too.

      But if you look at the overall big picture, you could make a cogent, effective argument that we got much younger, better and have more flexibility moving forward than we’d have had re-signing Damon or Matsui, plus getting a Sheets, Holliday or Bay.

      Our farm lost a fair amount of depth, which always hurts, and there’s a sentimental loss with Damon and Matsui, but man, we could be really, really, really good next year.

      -One of the top rotations in baseball, certainly among the top 5 (along with Sox, Giants, Mariners, Phillies?)

      -Arguably the best offense in baseball, at least in the top 3

      -Good bullpen, though who knows with the volatile nature of bullpens. We’ll see.

      • jsbrendog

        i predict monster things from dumbasso fartface.

        and even if drob doesnt progress i dont see him regressing enough to be a farsnworth type. so even just with those guys and MO that is solid. add in aceves (who will inevitably regress) who will still be solid unless his arm falls off and any other mix of melancon gaudin etc and I think the pen is solid volatile nature of the beast aside

  • CJ

    .292/.361/.406 in 397 AB v. LH
    .288/.398/.373 in 1099 AB v. RH

    • CJ

      Those are Brett Gardners career minor league splits, by the way

  • Bob Michaels

    He`s an excellent outfielder, can play all three positions, He`s a Johnson, can`t go wrong with another Johnson on the Yankees. We had some pretty good ones in the past.

  • dalelama

    Merry Xmas to all…so far I think we have hurt our offense and helped our pitching this off season so I consider it a wash so far. I think all the talk about sub par LF options, i.e. Gardner, Hoffman, Johnson, et al is just a ruse to get Johnny Damon to come down. I just can’t believe we are going into next season without 2 of our 3 most clutch post season performers. But we shall see….

    • spaceman.spiff

      Who’s our other most clutch postseason performer? A-rod?

      • dalelama


  • http://aol Rob

    Well, guess we can’t be greedy! I was hoping they’d see their huge investment made to Arod and spend a little $ for his protection for the next five years. I thought Holliday could have been that. I guess they think old man Posada and his heavy bat and propencity to hit into DP does it.
    Happy Holidays everyone!

  • Retiredpornstar

    Not another Johnson, Don’t we have enough already.

  • macxz

    im still wondering who is gon to protect Arod?

  • burnettscreamfilling

    trade Gaudin, that saves us 3 million add to the 4 mill we have left ..squeeze another 2 mil and we get ourselves Damon.

    i know the thought is that with such a great lineup we can afford to bat Gardner,reed or the other guy 9th..but if we do that and we lose one of our outfielders to the DL thats going to be one sad looking outfield..

    • ledavidisrael

      They want someone who can PLAY the OF (reed, gardner, hoffmann). Not someone to stand their and wait for balls to drop in. (damon)

      • Omar

        I think you’re oversimplifying things here. Damon was what? +11 in the field in 2008? It’s hard to believe he could go from being very good to utter shit in one year. That and Damon’s bat will most likely outweigh any negatives his glove brings.

    • KJC

      Can we add Igawa too? That’s another 4 million as I understand it. NOW go get Damon.

    • Omar

      I liked Gaudin, there’s a distinct non-zero chance that they’ll have to go to a seventh and eighth starter. The way I see the depth chart is like this:

      Hughes (due to the fact that Chamberlain is closer to handling a full season’s work load)
      Mitre (gross)

      While Gaudin is a noticeably better option than the final three members of the depth chart, and makes for a good reliever…he’s not exactly irreplaceable. If Giradi uses Hughes in a much more beneficial way, somewhat similar to the way Chamberlain was used in 2007, he’d be stretched out with little issue to start somewhat soon. Furthermore, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that Nova and McAllister are noticeably worse than Mitre. There’s plenty of teams that have players that can approximate Chad Gaudin that will be out of contention by late May, and would like to cut the salary of a Chad Gaudin-type. (Also, has Hot Carl signed anywhere?) So I’d agree with this move, furthermore I’d like to deal Mitre too…I hate that asshole so fucking much and only wish to see him again in the capacity of an opponent.

  • OF

    Reed Johnson makes a lot of sense at this point. Throw a low ball offer at him and see if it sticks……….

  • ledavidisrael

    Granderson can’t really hit lefties so maybe they wanna drop him in the order against lefties.
    With reed batting higher and playing LF.
    When righties are on the mound they will bank on PLUS DEFENSE in CF AND LF with Gardner in CF and Granderson in LF.

  • Joseph M

    OH No! This guy is a fouth outfielder they don’t have a third outfielder yet.

  • bebop

    His splits are big and there’s no reason for him to play except to sit Gardner or Granderson against lefties.

  • Joltin’ Joe

    “He has a career line of .282/.344/.411”

    As a backup/platoon guy that’s pretty good.

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  • KJC

    Here’s a link that will make all of you who really want Reed Johnson positively orgasmic:

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