Kelly Johnson is returning to his roots once again.
According to a report from MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, the veteran utility player has agreed to return to the Braves on a one-year deal.
The Braves who originally drafted Johnson in the first-round of the 2000 first-year player draft, brought Johnson back on a one-year contract last season before trading him to the Mets on July 24.
He hit /250/.304/.414 with five home runs and 13 RBI with the Mets in 49 games following the deal, and went 1-for-9 in the postseason as well.
Johnson has played in ten big league seasons with the Braves, Mets, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Yankees, Yankees, Red Sox and Orioles.
The Mets have a need to create versatile depth on their roster, specifically on the infield as they have a third baseman with a chronic back condition, two shortstops who will be coming off broken bones in their legs, and a prospect as a second baseman, as things stand today.
One player who fits the profile for what the Mets are looking for – at least on a part-time basis – is Kelly Johnson, and Marc Carig of Newsday says it’s, “very possible” the Mets bring Johnson back in 2016.
Johnson, 33, hit .265/.314/.435 with 14 home runs and 47 RBI in 111 games with the Mets and Braves in 2015. He hit five home runs and 13 RBI with a .250/.304/.414 line in 49 games with the Mets after being acquired from the Braves in late July.
Re-signing Johnson would be a wise move by the Mets.
He’s a great clubhouse presence, he has good power and he had some very big hits for the Mets in 2015, specifically against the Nationals. He’s someone who shouldn’t play everyday, but he can provide value as a part time player at five different positions, although he can probably be considered a below-average defensive player.
But he would certainly be a good insurance policy to Dilson Herrera and David Wright, assuming the Mets opt to go with Herrera at second base.
He should not be considered a primary option anywhere on the field, but he’s a good player who always seems to be in demand, whether it’s during the off-season or at the trade deadline.
And for a team seeking to become more versatile, Johnson is an ideal depth piece for the Mets to retain.
Is it Ben Zobrist or bust for the Mets?
In a report for the New York Post, Ken Davidoff says if the Mets fail to sign the free agent super-utility player, the Mets don’t appear likely to sign a free agent of equal or greater caliber this winter to fill the need, such as Ian Desmond, Asdrubal Cabrera or Howie Kendrick.
Instead, the Mets would focus their efforts on finding a left-handed hitting outfielder to complement Juan Lagares, and explore re-signing Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe, as well as other lower-tiered free agents to compete with Wilmer Flores, Dilson Herrera and Matt Reynolds for the jobs on the middle infield. (more…)
–Originally posted November 8, 2015–
With what is the likely departure of Daniel Murphy, the Mets are faced with a choice on how to proceed at the position, either by filling their need internally or going to the markets and looking for a solution either in free agency or trade.
But the Mets might also need to consider bulking up at shortstop, especially if they decide to fill their need at second base internally.
Simply put, the Mets middle infield defense was utterly dreadful in 2015.
How bad was it? If the Mets had even league average defense at those two positions, it might have been enough to win the World Series.
Mets shortstops were tenth in the league with a 2.9 WAR, largely being carried by their offense as they were 26th in the league with a -9.0 ultimate zone rating (UZR) and dead last with -26 defensive runs saved (DRS).
That along with -10 DRS from Mets second basemen – fifth worst in the league – and a 2.9 UZR – 15th best – make for a dire need to upgrade their middle infield defense in general.
They could also stand to get a little more right-handed/versatile at the plate to limit a weakness late in games and force the opposing manager’s hand with their bullpen more often.
Here’s a look at how the Mets might choose to upgrade their middle infield… (more…)