So… How About That Kelly Johnson?
By Chris Hannum
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.