2009 Player Previews - Reed Johnson
Reed Johnson will be filling a vital role this season. His participation will be crucial cog for the ’09 Cubs. He...must...BLOG.
That’s right, my favorite Cubs SWP will be taking over as team blogger with the departure of Mark DeRosa. So far, he’s off to a solid start as he’s promised to insult Mike Fontenot at least once in every post he makes. Glorious.
As for that other stuff he does on the field, I guess that’s fairly important too.
Around this time last year, I was a bit puzzled and confused when Jim Hendry decided to reach down into his big sack of tricks and pull Johnson off the scrap heap. Bringing in a guy who recently recovered from back problems didn’t sound like a good idea as back injuries are the ones that tend to linger on and on.
But as with most things baseball-related, I was wrong. Johnson was a solid producer off the bench with the bat (.303/.358/.420, 50 RBI, 6 HR) and the glove (providing one of the most amazing catches I’ve ever seen...too bad MLB made everyone take it off the Interwebs).
The versatility and gritty whiteness that Johnson displayed in 2008 should serve the team well this season too. While Reed will technically be declared a “backup” to Fukudome in centerfield, his role as a platoon member, late-game defensive sub and right-handed pinch hitter will be invaluable. I’d apply my SWP formula to statistically show you how important Reed really is, but the numbers would overwhelm you to the point of pulling out your torches and pitchforks and marching to Wrigley Field demanding Reed Johnson be a full-time starter. Plus I'm too hungov-, err, lazy to look it up.
But on a serious note, White Slice (as his teammates call him apparently) might be the one of the most complete and important bench players in all of baseball based on what will be asked of him by his manager. He is to the Cubs what Toni Kukoc was to the Bulls, but less European and with much more blogging ability.
Maybe Johnson doesn’t get the recognition he deserves, but like Hank White, he’d be one of those guys who you wouldn’t missed until he was gone.