Kathy Kmonicek/Associated Press
Less than a month after acquiring Kelly Johnson from the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington sent him and minor leaguer Michael Almanzar to the Baltimore Orioles. In exchange, he received Ivan De Jesus Jr. and Jemile Weeks, according to MLB.com’s David Wilson.
Boston Red Sox
Cherington had absolutely no use for Johnson, so moving him made sense.
In Weeks, the Red Sox get a gifted player who has immense ability but has failed to put it together at the major league level. With the infield and outfield situations as murky as they are for the Red Sox, however, the depth Weeks adds will serve them well.
This will be De Jesus’ second stint with the club. He appeared in eight games for the Red Sox in 2012 and struck out six times in eight at-bats. Now, he has a wealth of potential and can play multiple positions on the infield, so, like Weeks, he has value.
The only way to look at this move is that with rosters expanding, Johnson adds defensive depth. To that effect, the injuries to Manny Machado (knee surgery)—and to a lesser degree Steve Pearce (abdomen)—mean that Johnson will be used at multiple positions, per Wilson.
True, Johnson can’t hit a lick, but that isn’t what he will be asked to do. Expect Showalter to find the best fits for him in the lineup and use him in situations that suit the club’s needs.
Interestingly, this is the second time Almanzar (.277/.356/.422 at Double-A Portland in 2014) has gone from the Red Sox to the Orioles. He was selected by Baltimore in the Rule 5 draft last offseason and “returned to the Red Sox on July 1 after playing nine games in the Orioles system,” per Ricky Doyle from NESN.com.
This deal earns a grade higher than expected because of Johnson’s versatility, not because of his ability to create offense.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics, are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are accurate as of game time Sunday, Aug. 31. Transaction, injury and game information are courtesy of MLB.com.