The Yankees still has a hole in left field and their options is getting thinner as the days passes by. Free agent slugger Jason Bay is off to the Mets, while utility man Mark DeRosa signed with the Giants. The Yankees are still playing cat and mouse with free agent Johnny Damon and they are not sure if Damon will give in to their offer.
So until now the Yankees still have an open slot in left field. Who will be that man?
Is Reed Johnson the answer in left? Could be. Johnson is not as good as Bay, Holliday or even Damon but he still can contribute. GM Brian Cashman declared that they have only few million dollars left to sign a left fielder ($ 4 million to be exact) and Johnson fits in that salary range.
Last year Johnson has a salary of $ 3 million with the Cubs.
Reed Johnson has no history of any serious injury during his 7 year career in the big leagues and is still on his prime (just turned 33).
Johnson is the right guy for the Yankees budget season in 2010. The plan is to sign Johnson for one year worth $ 2-3 million and let him go next year. Then they can go after Type-A free agent outfielders like steal base king Carl Crawford.
If the Yankees signed him, Johnson can platoon with speedy Gardner in left field and can start against lefties. Hitting against lefties is his specialty. He makes consistent contact and hits well with runners in scoring position. Johnson is an average .282 hitter with some pop.
With a lot of weapons in the Yankees line-up, Johnson just need to hit consistently.... not homers but singles will do to keep the ball rolling. He can be inserted in the 9th hole and give the top of the order guys like Jeter to score an RBI if he is on base.
Defensively, Johnson can play all outfield positions. But he is more suited playing in left and right field. He has range and speed to cover his designated field.
What the Yankees like about Reed Johnson is the way he hustles. His tenacity is exactly what the Yankees need to compliment their stars. Both Johnson and Gardner are hustle type of guys which will bring a new dimension in the Yankees left field position.
Last year the Yankees have Damon in left and his weak arm is a liability in their defense. This year things will be different.
The Yankees have a deep roster and they just need utility guys and 9 hole guys that are able to give "just enough" support to be competitive. Reed Johnson is the type of guy that the Yankees should look on to.
Posted On Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at at 5:45 AM by Francis Isberto