As the offseason progresses, I’ll periodically give updates on free agents of note, under the category Free Agent Watch. Most of the time these will be free agents the Chicago Cubs or Milwaukee Brewers have been connected to or that I think would fit. Occasionally, they’ll just be old players I really like. This first piece is one of those occasions.
Reed Johnson, personal favorite, and current recipient of Baseblog’s sponsorship dollars on Baseball-Reference, is a free agent after finishing up an ultimately unsuccessful playoff run with the Atlanta Braves. The fearless, hustling, diving outfield was traded from the Cubs to the Braves at the 2012 trade deadline for Arodys Vizcaino. (Yeah, yeah, there was something else of value leaving the Cubs, but I like to tell myself Reed mostly netted the team that stellar prospect.)
- Ken Rosenthal said last month that Reed, “a bench player extraordinaire”, is drawing interest from multiple teams. It’s an older report, but still probably relevant today as Reed remains unsigned.
- You can count out the Chicago Cubs as one of his suitors. The two haven’t been connected at all this season, but Jed Hoyer just signed Nate Schierholtz. Seeing as Dave Sappelt is still in the outfield mix and fairly competent, it seems unlikely that the Cubs would go for another outfielder who is probably more suited as a bench guy like Schierholtz.
- Braves beat reporter Mark Bowman tweeted this just yesterday: “[General Manager Frank] Wren says the Braves are still attempting to bring Reed Johnson back to Atlanta.” It looks like the Braves front office wants a Reed return.
- The Braves want to add a righty and a lefty to their bench, writes David O’Brien. There are some nice quotes from the Braves GM in the article:
“I think he’d like to come back, but I think he’s also at a point where he wants to just explore and see what opportunities are out there … We’ve expressed an interest in bringing him back. He’s expressed an interest in coming back. But we’re just not there yet … As a right-handed [hitter], I think we would probably go with Reed, if we can get Reed back … That would probably be our first choice, and then go from there.”
- Another tweet from a Braves reporter, O’Brien says the club is “believed to have [an] offer out to bring back OF Reed Johnson.”
- Will Frampton of CBS Atlanta thinks Reed’s playing time could increase if signed for 2013. For the first time in ages, Reed avoided the disabled list in 2012.
- The only other real speculation I’ve read about Reed Johnson involves the Detroit Tigers. James Schmehl made a list of right-handed outfielders whom could draw interest from the Tigers. Reed joins Cody Ross, Ben Francisco, Nick Swisher, Ryan Ludwick, Mark DeRosa, and Scott Hairston on Schmehl’s list. He says Reed is “seemingly the Tigers’ most realistic option,” citing the price and desired contract length of all the candidates.