Posted on 13 January 2011 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs have signed Reed Johnson to a minor league contract – he will be a 2011 Spring Training Invitee. Johnson played in 102 for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010. Johnson had a .262 batting average with 2 home runs. Johnson played a pivotal role in the Cubs winning the NL Central Division in both 2007 and 2008. It is uncertain if Johnson will be healthy and productive enough to secure an opening day roster position. But Johnson certainly has a great attitude and is always a productive veteran to have in the clubhouse. We’ll keep you posted with any updates on Johnson’s health and his chances of making the team at the end of March…
Posted on 21 January 2010 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs still need to find their 4th outfielder for the 2010 MLB schedule – Jermaine Dye, Xavier Nady and Reed Johnson are all on the list. Three starters are already locked in – Left Fielder Alfonso Soriano, Center Fielder Marlon Byrd & Right Fielder Kosuke Fukudome.
Dye has played for the cross-town rival White Sox the last few seasons. In 2009, however, Dye’s average dipped down to .251 well below his career .274 batting average. Dye had 27 HR’s, 18 doubles and 81 RBI’s during the course of the 2009 MLB schedule.
Nady played only 7 games during the 2009 MLB season. In July, Nady had season-ending elbow ligament replacement surgery. He is a career .280 hitter and he has played for the San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates and both New York baseball teams – the Mets and Yankees.
Reed Johnson could also find himself back on the Cubs roster in 2010. Johnson played only 65 games for the Cubs in 2009 because of injury issues. He fractured his foot on a foul ball in July and never fully recovered. The Cubs told Johnson that he should at least test the free agency market to see if he could find a team that would guarantee him more playing time or a longer-term deal. If he doesn’t find something he likes, the Cubs could always bring him back under a 1-year club-friendly deal. Johnson was a fan favorite at the friendly Confines of Wrigley Field, so it would not be horrible to have him back – as long as the 33-year old is healthy.
The only other Cubs outfielder on the roster is Sam Fuld. Fuld is a scrappy player who excels at defense. He can play all 3 outfield positions. In 65 major league games for the Cubs in 2009, Fuld batted .299. Fuld also hit .284 at Triple-A Iowa during the season (84 games).
I like either Dye or Johnson. Dye is a good veteran presence and a good teammate in the locker room. Not having to play everyday could also prolong his strength during the long MLB season (he will be 36 when the season starts). Johnson seems like a good fit too. Nady seems like more of a long-shot given the surgery – not sure he’ll even be ready by Spring Training…
Come on Jim (Hendry) let’s get something done here…
Posted on 23 December 2009 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs want to move Kosuke Fukudome back to right field in 2010. That is his natural position and they feel like he will be a better hitter not having to worry about manning the center field position at Wrigley. So, the Cubs must find a center fielder.
The Boston Red Sox signed Mike Cameron. Juan Pierre signed with the Chicago White Sox.
Reed Johnson is still out there, but injuries have been a concern over the last couple of years with Johnson and they don’t want to get into a similar situation again by depending on Johnson.
The same could be said for Scott Podsednik who did a great job for the White Sox in 2009 but who is always an injury away from missing significant time.
Tops on the list right now is Marlon Byrd, but he has several suitors and the Cubs might not have what it takes to land Byrd. Plus, with the late signings before the 2009 for minimal dollar amounts (see Bobby Abreu, Adam Dunn, etc.) maybe GM Jim Hendry is counting on the fact that he might be able to wait it out and sign someone at the end of January/early February for minimal money and years. A player who could hold the position for a year or 2 until Tyler Colvin is ready to play at the major league level each and every day. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything on the transaction front.
Posted on 01 December 2009 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs decided not to offer arbitration to Rich Harden, Kevin Gregg, Reed Johnson & Chad Fox before today’s deadline. The move is not surprising for Harden, Gregg and Fox, but I thought that the Cubs might offer arbitration to Johnson. Looks like the Cubs are really going to try to land a center fielder this off-season so that they can move Kosuke Fukudome back to his regular (and more comfortable) right field position.
While Rich Harden made 26 starts for the Cubs in 2009, his history of arm trouble and his high pitch counts made the starter expendable. The Cubs already have Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly and Randy Wells penciled in as 2010 starters and they will pick a 5th starter from within – either Tom Gorzelanny, Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall or others.
Kevin Gregg lost his closer’s role to Carlos Marmol in the middle of August and the Cubs do not have confidence that Gregg can even be an effective middle reliever, especially given the salary that he would command in arbitration.
The Cubs still have to work out new deals with other arbitration-eligible players – Marmol, Ryan Theriot, Marshall, Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot. So it is a good move to shed some salary – roughly $15 million or more that would have gone to these 4 players. Tom Ricketts – the new Cubs Chairman – has indicated that the $134 payroll in 2009 will go up slightly for the 2010 MLB season…
Posted on 25 November 2009 by Lou
Unlikely, but Sam Fuld should get a decent look at the Cubs 2010 center fielder. Fuld is a scrappy player who gives 110% each and every day. After not appearing on the Cubs major league roster during the 2008 MLB schedule, Fuld played in 65 games in 2009. He only got 97 at-bats in a reserve role, but he batted .299 with a .409 on-base percentage. Fuld is a patient hitter (17 walks) who doesn’t strike out a lot (10 K’s). He doesn’t have a lot of pop in his bat or RBI production capabilities (1 HR, 2 RBI’s) which is something that Manager Lou Pinella desires, but he will get on base and isn’t a liability in the field at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs are also trying to work our a deal with Reed Johnson who is a free agent. To have Johnson as the starting center fielder with Fuld as the 4th outfielder would be an ideal situation for Pinella and the Cubs. It’s unclear if GM Jim Hendry will be able to work out a suitable deal with Johnson who is looking for a longer-term commitment.
There have been calls for minor league prospect Tyler Colvin to get a shot at the center field job in 2010, but he still has some minor league development that will take precedence in 2010.
So while I don’t think that Fuld will earn the starting center field job in Spring Training 2010, look for Fuld to get a lot of playing time in 2010.
Posted on 18 February 2009 by Lou
Spring Training is here, so we’re getting lots of updates about all of your favorite Cubs players. Obviously we’re all concerned about the health of our pitchers and the progress they made during the off-season, but here’s a story about one of our outfielders – Reed Johnson. Johnson watched what he ate more during the off-season and he dropped right around 14 pounds because of the new diet. Johnson says he feels a lot better both physically and mentally. It should also help him avoid certain back issues that he has had to deal with on and off during his major league career.
Johnson was a kinesiology major at Cal State Fullerton and he says he has retrained his body to eat better and eat less, and not feel hungry after the meal. He has also worked hard at being ready to play all 3 outfield positions. Johnson understands that Manger Lou Pinella will continue to give players more and more time off this season in the hopes of keeping everyone fresh throughout the long MLB season. Giving Pinella the option of putting Johnson in 3 positions as opposed to 1 or 2, will make life easier on Pinella and Johnson. He’ll get his days off for sure, but he’ll also be helping the team by allowing some of the other guys – Alfonso Soriano, Milton Bradley Kosuke Fukodome – an extra day off that they might not have otherwise received.
During the 2008 MLB season, the 32-year old Johnson played in 109 games and recorded 333 at-bats. He hit .303 with a .358 on-base percentage, while scoring 52 runs and driving in 50 runs. Great numbers for a guy they picked up at the end of Spring Training after he was released by the Toronto Blue Jays. The Cubs expect similar production from Johnson in 2009 and look forward to his relaxed laid-back style ensuring another good clubhouse during the upcoming campaign.
Posted on 07 February 2009 by Lou
Comcast SportsNet will host its 21st annual Sports Award dinner on Monday night here in Chicago. One honoree is our very own Chicago Cubs center fielder Reed Johnson. Congrats Reed!
Cubs GM Jim Hendry made one of his best moves of the 2008 MLB season when he signed Reed Johnson to a 1-year deal after he was released by the Toronto Blue Jays in March. With the Cubs still uncertain about how Felix Pie would respond to being the Cubs everyday center fielder, Johnson was a relatively cheap alternative with extensive major league experience. And when Pie did in fact struggle early on, Johnson stepped right in played in 109 games for the Cubs throughout the season. Johnson batted .303 and hit 6 home runs while driving in 50 RBI’s. Most importantly, Johnson played spectacular defense and was a great presence in the Cubs clubhouse.
Players for other Chicago Sports teams will be honored at the dinner: Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks; John Danks of the White Sox; Greg Olsen of the Bears; Drew Gooden of the Bulls; and Brian McBride of the Fire.