Yanks could face some competition for Reed Johnson

Most of iYankees’ readers believe that Reed Johnson, a career .313/.378/.463 hitter against southpaws, is the best right-handed outfield bat the Yankees can add this winter to bolster their current bench (especially with Jerry Hairston Jr. bound for San Diego). And, while I agree in that Johnson seems like the best platoon fit, unfortunately for the Yankees, Johnson’s defensive and offensive skills have attracted other suitors as well, and the Bombers may actually face some legitimate competition for the outfielder’s services.

According to two recent sources – one by Chicago Tribune writer Paul Sullivan and another by Chicago Sun-Times scribe Gordon Wittenmeyer – the Chicago Cubs are currently in search of a right-handed bat to compliment Japanese import Kosuke Fukudome, and the club could look to bring Johnson back to Wrigley in order to serve in that capacity. “Reed is in the mix,” said Chicago’s assistant GM, Randy Bush, when asked about the outfielder. “We love Reed. We’d love to have him back.… Click here to read the rest

Gomes a platoon option?

Picture 7With regards to the Yankees’ left field situation this season, while the somewhat fragile Reed Johnson seems to lead the list of right-handed candidates that could potentially platoon with the left-handed Brett Gardner come opening day (assuming the Yankees choose to go that route), one name that has recently picked up steam among Yankee fans is former Tampa Bay Ray and current free agent outfielder, Jonny Gomes.

Gomes, a career .241/.330/.471 hitter, has an affinity for cheap shots and power. For instance, he knocked 20 home runs in just 98 games with the Reds this past season (he benefited from an unsustainable home run to fly ball ratio, however, which is notable). As with any glorified right-handed platoon candidate, his numbers against right-handers have been particularly poor as he has posted a .224/.311/.448 line against them throughout his career. However, his productive stats against southpaws — a .274/.369/.517 line over 515 at-bats — have lured Yankee fans to the 29-year old from California.… Click here to read the rest

What Do Derosa And Bay Mean For Damon And Left Field

In the last two days, we’ve seen both Mark DeRosa and Jason Bay agree to terms with the Giants and Mets respectively. While the Giants will play DeRosa at third, they could still use him in left field and other places. Bay will obviously play left field for the Mets, earning at least $66MM over at least four years. That leaves two fewer landing spots for Damon than there were this time last week.

What does this mean for the “former” Yankee outfielder? The meaning is a likely return to Pinstripes for Johnny. His options are dwindling rapidly, and the Yankees do not appear to be major players for the other remaining big-ticket position-playing free-agent, Matt Holliday. I’ve already discusssed the option of Jermaine Dye (ugh) and since then, that “rumor” has been thankfully debunked.

This basically leaves three choices: try and bring back Damon at the right price, go get a small-time outfielder to be part of a left-field platoon with Brett Gardner, or just stand pat with Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann as the outfielders.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks interested in Reed Johnson for LF?

As the Yankees attempt to patch together their outfield after their most recent acquisition, in Tyler Kepner’s latest, we learn of the team’s left field plan going forward. The NY Times scribe writes that the Yankees are “not interested at all in the free agents Jason Bay and Matt Holliday,” two outfielders that simply do not fit the Yankees’ current payroll. Instead, given their decision to employ financial restraint this winter, the Yankees are interested in “several lower-tier free agents,” notes Kepner, including the “veteran Reed Johnson,” who is a career .282/.344/.411 hitter.

Johnson, at 33, is a right-hander with a knack for knocking southpaws (career .841 OPS against, versus a .707 OPS against righties). He established himself as a mediocre hitter and an excellent corner outfielder while manning left field (his career UZR/150 in left is 23.3) with the Blue Jays from 2003 to 2006. In 2007, however, lower back issues — a herniated disc and surgery to correct the issue — hurt both his offensive and defensive contributions.… Click here to read the rest