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UPDATE: Kelly Johnson accepts arbitration from Blue Jays

Dec 8, 2011, 12:09 AM EDT

Kelly Johnson AP

That free agent Kelly Johnson would no longer cost signing teams a first-round pick was supposed to enhance his market, but he’s leaning towards accepting arbitration from the Blue Jays anyway, MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports.

The general aversion most teams have to spending big at second base seems to be playing a role here. Johnson made $5.85 million last season and could secure a modest raise in arbitration. It’s doubtful that anyone was willing to give him similar dollars for two years.

Which isn’t such a bad thing for Johnson. He took a liking to Toronto after being acquired from the Diamondbacks last August, hitting .270/.364/.417 in 115 at-bats. The Jays would pencil him back in at second base, though they’d have the option of using him in the outfield if they found another second baseman elsewhere.

UPDATE: According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Johnson has indeed accepted arbitration.

  1. proudlycanadian - Dec 7, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    Blue Jay Post Season Laundry List:

    Backup Catcher – Check!
    Closer – Check!
    Second Baseman – Check?
    Another Starting Pitcher – What is Billy Beane’s phone number?

    • Mark - Dec 7, 2011 at 5:50 PM

      While I’m quite happy with Santos & Johnson, calling Jeff Mathis a backup catcher is like calling me an ace starting pitcher. Technically, when called up I can take my position, but it doesn’t mean I’ll do a good job.

      Mathis is the worst catcher between 09-11 by any stat you want to look at (wOBA, OPS, WAR etc). No amount of “leadership” or defence (of which he’s no better than average) will make up for that.

      • cur68 - Dec 7, 2011 at 5:58 PM

        Yeah Mark, there’s all that. Then there’s Bill James who rates him highly defensively. I see him as a marketable trade chip for a reliever sometime in June or July. I think D’Arnaud will be the backup by then. Other than that, the Jays are looking nearly set. AA might still reel in Fielder, and if they do then, well Party on, Mark. If they don’t, then I think they are closing in on ~10 more wins for 2012, regardless, so party still likely on.

  2. cyanocittacristata - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:25 PM

    I hope the Jays are on Darvish big time if he gets posted. The cost versus risk is high, but this guy might be the pitching version of Ichiro. If ownership is willing to bear the posting fee as a sunk cost, Then the player contract will be beneficial as only that amount is applied to payroll.

    Anthopolous will need budget space to lock up guys like Rasmus, Lawrie, Morrow, etc. if they live up to promise. Money for a big free agent wouldn’t hurt either.

    Gio Gonz is intriguing , but his asking price is probably too high and the same for Cahill. Maybe the Silent Assassin is working on an even better unexpected target.

  3. mydadyourmom - Dec 8, 2011 at 2:13 AM

    No way. There have been zero long term successful japanese pitchers in the bigs.

    • Chris K - Dec 8, 2011 at 3:27 AM

      Shigetoshi Hasegawa pitched pretty effectively for 9 seasons….

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