Diamondbacks Get Their Man at Second

As had been rumored for some time, the Arizona Diamondbacks have secured the services of second baseman Kelly Johnson. Johnson had been the starting second baseman for the Atlanta Braves but after a rocky 2009 campaign found himself a free agent as a result of the Braves not tendering him a contract.

For the past two years the Diamondbacks had attempted to make a trade with the Braves for Johnson at one time offering first baseman Conor Jackson as part of the deal. Now General Manager Josh Byrnes has finally gotten his man.

Johnson signed a one-year deal that will pay him $2.35 million for the 2010 season. The contract allows Johnson to attempt to rebound from a subpar season where he hit just .224 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs.

Many in baseball believe Johnson’s struggles were a result of a wrist injury. After a thorough physical by the Diamondbacks medical staff the team was satisfied the wrist was healed well enough for Johnson to play a full season.

The signing gives the Diamondbacks a starting second baseman and allows the team to bring Tony Abreu along more slowly. Adding Johnson gives the Diamondbacks an excess of infielders making everyone wonder if there will be another deal forthcoming.

From a defensive perspective, the Diamondbacks now have a second baseman with below average range. That could become an issue with pitchers such as Brandon Webb and Chad Qualls who both rely on good defense behind them when throwing their sinker.

If Johnson rebounds as the Diamondbacks expect this could be a great addition offensively. Whether this is a good deal or not will be dependent on whether his success at the plate can offset the number of hits and runs his defense allows.

Only time will be able to tell if this was a good signing or if it was a desperation move to fill a need at second base with the lowest cost option. At least this is only a one year commitment so if it doesn’t work they can take a mulligan and try again next off-season.


3 Comments

  1. Byrnes wanted to give him CoJack? Really? CoJack ain’t no gold glover but he isn’t subpar…and he hits better, too. And he has Valley Fever.
    And if he doesn’t get injured by September, he will be traded or released or something. I don’t think Byrnes is secure with a full-time second baseman for a whole year.

    • yeah there was talk of a trade with Atlanta that would have included Conor Jackson and Kelly Johnson. There would have been other players as well but those two were rumored to be included in the deal. Thankfully that didn’t occur and the Diamondbacks will now have both Johnson and Jackson in the line-up.

      Personally I am still scratching my head wondering why there was no discussions about bringing back Orlando Hudson. While his range is somewhat reduced he is still better offensively and defensively than Johnson. And he would have been a good clubhouse leader.

  2. shibum78

    If you look at all of the defensive metrics, Orlando Hudson’s defensive range is more than just reduced. Also, looking at what Hudson wants money wise, it doesn’t look like he would have been a viable option. I’ve been reading that other teams are VERY interested in Ojeda and many believe Roberts just had a magical season and won’t be able to duplicate his 2009 success to 2010. I think this was a very good move, look at Johnson’s horrid BABIP from last year and he is due for a big rebound.

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