The theme of the Chicago Cubs off-season would be that of a family re-union. In a year in which fan interest was declining, the Cubs had to make moves to re-ignite the interest level of Cubs fans. First fan favorite Kerry Wood returned to the Cubs, and now Reed Johnson is taking the same path. The Chicago Cubs signed Johnson today to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.
Johnson played with the Cubs during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. In 2008, Johnson hit .303/.358//.420 in 333 plate appearances. Johnson’s production teetered off in 2009 as he hit .255/.330/.412 in 165 plate appearances. After the 2009 season, Johnson moved to the Los Angeles Dodgers where he hit .262/.291/..366 in 202 plate appearances.
A lot of times a team will make a signing like this, and have an understanding with the player that they will call him up by a certain date, and if they don’t, the player would be granted his release. I’d imagine that is the case for Johnson, who in all likelihood will start the year with the Iowa Cubs. One thing that may benefit Johnson is the fact that he his a strong hitter against lefties, last season he hit .301/.324/.466 against left handed pitchers. To simply put it, he is the center field version of Jeff Baker.