So… How About That Kelly Johnson?


I’m sure this is going to get me a lot of negative feedback: Diamondbacks second sacker Kelly Johnson went hitless in the Tigers shocking (from my perspective, and probably Phil Coke’s as well) 7-6 loss last night and is having possibly the worst season of his career – and that’s the guy I want to see wearing the Old English D, if not at the deadline (since the D’Backs are, after all, in first place in the NL West) then as a free agent this fall.

I’m not particularly thrilled with the candidates that the Tigers have in-house at second, nor I’m guessing, are most of you. The 2012 free agent class does not look deep, any more than it did in 2011. Clint Barmes may, of course, be a free agent. As will Willie Bloomquist and Orlando Cabrera. If that was all that could be had, I’d rather trust the position to the players we have like Rhymes or Worth… or even Raburn.

Kelly Johnson, on the other hand, could make the team noticeably better, with a median expected value at least as good as the best-case scenario for Danny Worth. Tigers second basemen have a combined .625 OPS this year, which (amazingly) is only 10th worst in the major leagues. Second base is not a position of extraordinary depth all ’round at the moment, but even in his worst season Johnson’s OPS is still .698. Last year’s mark was .866 and over his career he’s at .789. He’s only 29 and no worse than average in the field, and what’s more – he hits left-handed. Perhaps we can even see the silver lining in Johnson’s bad 2011 campaign, there’s a chance he’ll wind up a Type-B instead of a Type-A in addition to attracting fewer suitors with smaller wallets.

Tags: Kelly Johnson

  • Bob

    “or even Raburn” – Really Chris? He did his usual superior job last night, 0 – 3 and a big error. Ryan must have compromising pictures of both DD & Leyland which he hangs over their respective heads. For no other reason can I surmise his remaining on the roster.

    • Chris Hannum

      I stand by what I wrote originally: I would rather have Raburn at second than Clint Barmes, Orlando Cabrera OR Willie Bloomquist. This should in no way be taken as praise of Raburn.

  • Bob

    With Santiago available to play 2nd, Raburn ought to be picking splinters out of his ass while permanently entrenched on the bench. They trade Sizemore after only 75 at bats and keep this bumbling fool. I’m at a loss to explain it. It can’t be simply $$$$. He isn’t making that much and Ilitch can easily afford to eat his contract. Why is he still on the team? I’d really like to know.

    • Chris Hannum

      In 2009, he hit. Last year, he hit. This year… at least he hasn’t been as bad as Magglio. On the whole, though, it isn’t really bad personnel management to hold on to guys in deep slumps and hope they snap out of it. Most of the time, they do.

  • Bob

    Raburn only hit the last couple of months in 2010. The previous 5 months he was below average, which is his wont. Based on those last 2 months, they enshrine him as the new left fielder in the false hope that he has turned some corner and has become a bona fide player. He hasn’t. These are the same guys who told us Gerald Lard would hit better after his disastrous offensive season a few years ago. He didn’t. Raburn’s problem isn’t a slump, he just isn’t very good and never has been despite some occasional flashes of good productivity. IMO, keeping Raburn (and Inge for that matter) is completely unjustified and is indeed poor personnel management.