Could Kelly Johnson Be a Second Base Option for the Detroit Tigers?

Blake VandeBunteContributor IDecember 17, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 13:  Kelly Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Braves hits a RBI double in the eigth inning against the New York Mets on May 13, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Braves defeated the Mets 8-7 in twelve innings.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Ladies and gentleman, the return of JAYRC. He is a permanent writer here at the site and will start shouldering a huge chunk of the load once a computer issue is resolved...

On Sunday, Billfer of Detroit Tigers Weblog had a link suggesting that the recently non-tendered Kelly Johnson would be getting a healthy amount of consideration from teams.

In the article, Dan Wade of Baseball Daily Digest had this to say:

“For the other 31 teams in the league, Johnson makes a fair bit of sense, if you believe he can keep his walk rate at or above 9.5 percent. It seems unlikely that he’ll regain 2007’s magic, but (without adjusting for league) a .265/.335/.400 seems entirely possible. He’ll be a fairly cheap option as he’s unlikely to see much of an arbitration raise from the $2.8 million he made last year.”

So what teams are considering Johnson?

Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com had this to say:

“MLBTR learned from an industry source that the Diamondbacks, Pirates, Cardinals, and Astros have interest in Johnson. It seems possible that Johnson might have to settle for a super-utility job, in that clubs are hoping he’ll bounce back both offensively and defensively. He’s still a decent gamble for a few million, and if he signs a one-year deal he’ll be arbitration-eligible after the 2010 season.”

So why aren’t the Tigers looking into signing him?

While Adam Everett, Ramon Santiago, and Scott Sizemore seem to be a lock for the 25-man roster, perhaps it’s a matter of lack of space.

Last season the combo of Everett/Santiago splitting time was pretty successful, which made me think perhaps lightening up the load for the rookie second baseman Sizemore isn’t all that bad of an idea.

After all, Sizemore has had his fair share of injuries in the past, and he’s still recovering from one now. So why overwork and rush our highly touted prospect? Why not let the kid get his feet wet and platoon with Kelly Johnson?

In 2007 and 2008 Johnson had respectable lines of .276/.375/.457 and .287/.349/.446, with a combined 137 RBI. With that being said, it isn’t exactly that far of a stretch to think that Johnson can rebound from his less than impressive 2009 campaign.

Still not sold on the idea? He also has leadoff experience, something the Tigers are in need of. While it’s been a couple years since Johnson has played the outfield regularly, his versatility would be an added bonus, perhaps allowing more at-bats.

Perhaps a change of scenery would benefit Kelly Johnson and the Detroit Tigers. It just may be the type of low risk/high reward move that the Tigers are looking for.

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