Saturday, January 23, 2010

LF Option: Reed Johnson

The only major "hole" for the Yankees for 2010 is left field. Brett Gardner is asked to be the everyday left fielder for the Yankees due to the departure of Johnny Damon. This doesn't mean I think Damon isn't coming back however the Yankees have a couple options if Damon is too expensive. Personally I think him on a 2008 Abreu like contract splitting game time with Garnder would be ideal. However I also love the idea of the Yankees signing Reed Johnson.

Why would he be a fit for the Yankees you might ask. At first glance his stats are below average. .255/.330/.412 career batting line with a 86 OPS+. Also Reed Johnson has been plagued with injuries similar to another player with a last name of Johnson. Unlike Nick Johnson, Reed Johnson's injuries aren't freak things and are a concern. But we aren't signing him to be the starting left fielder. We want him to be a platoon player.

Reed Johnson THRIVES on lefties. His career triple slash line against lefties is pretty good. .313/.378/.463 for a .841 OPS. And the past couple years, Johnson has been able to post .900 OPS marks against lefties. Gardner on the other hand is destroyed by lefty pitching. His career triple slash mark is .241/.310/.316 for a .627 OPS against southpaws. Having Reed Johnson to platoon him with Gardner and to occasionally start against tough lefties would help the Yanks a lot. He might even sometimes platoon with Granderson if it's a top tier lefty like Jon Lester.

Johnson's defense is ideal for left field. His UZR/150 for his career is a positive 23.3! If we stick him out there that would boost the defense of the Yankees giving them roughly about 4 more wins out of left field since Damon has been atrocious out there.

Reed Johnson would be the best option for left field if the Yankees choose to not sign Johnny Damon. He can field well, and can hit lefties well making him an invaluable bench player. He's had talks with the Yanks earlier offseason so we might just yet see Reed Johnson in pinstripes.