Pirates interested in Kelly Johnson as outfielder

Leave a comment

Non-tendered by the Braves last week, Kelly Johnson is said to be drawing serious interest from the Pirates, but Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that they view him as a corner outfielder rather than a second baseman.
Pittsburgh has previously been linked to free agents like Rick Ankiel and Hank Blalock, so clearly the Pirates are targeting left-handed hitters coming off down years with the idea of slotting them into either first base or right field with Garrett Jones manning the other spot. Johnson has been the Braves’ starting second baseman for the past three seasons, but has never graded out particularly well there defensively and did play left field as a rookie in 2005.
If he’s healthy and bounces back offensively Johnson would be a good low-cost option at second base for a lot of teams, but even his best years at the plate would be merely average production for a corner outfielder. Johnson hit .282/.362/.451 over 1,222 plate appearances in 2007-2008, but fell to .224/.303/.389 in 2009. He’s a career .264/.346/.430 hitter, whereas the average MLB corner outfielder batted .270/.345/.443 in 2009.
Average hitting and above average fielding certainly isn’t a bad combination in right field, but that likely represents Johnson’s upside coming off a career-worst, injury-wrecked season. As a second baseman who potentially hits like a corner outfielder Johnson makes plenty of sense on a one-year deal, but the Pirates can probably do better in their search for a left-handed outfield bat.

The Yankees and Red Sox will both be wearing home whites for the London Series

Getty Images
8 Comments

This summer’s series between the Yankees and Red Sox in London is, technically, a home series for the Red Sox, with the Yankees serving as the visitors. Pete Abraham reports that Major League Baseball is dispensing with the usual sartorial formalities, however, and will have both teams wearing their home livery: the Red Sox will wear white and the Yankees will wear pinstripes.

It’s marketing more than anything, as you can’t really put your league’s marquee franchise on an international stage and not have it wearing its iconic duds, right?

It’s also pretty harmless if you ask me. Baseball is not like football or basketball in which you have to have contrasting uniforms in order to keep one side from accidentally throwing the ball to the opposition or what have you. And with so many teams wearing solid color alternates now — sometimes both the home and road team are in blue or red jerseys in the same game — it’s not like there hasn’t already been a breakdown in home white/road gray orthodoxy. I prefer the classics, but I lost that battle a long time ago.

So: I say let a thousand colors fly. Heck, let the Yankees wear their pinstripes on the road all the time. Who’ll stop ’em?