Oakland Athletics: Free Agent Kelly Johnson A Realistic Option For Second Base

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Oakland Athletics’ General Manager Billy Beane has stated to the media that a decision needs to be made regarding third base and who will play at that position next season. With Beane believing that Brett Lawrie would rather field at third and rumors swirling of Danny Valencia’s possible personality and ego issues, it seems as though second base will need an extra boost for the 2016 season. Thus, the A’s will likely look closely at the free agent market this season to add depth to second since there is an abnormal amount of middle infield free agents this offseason.

Even though it would be nice to think that the Athletics could acquire the New York Mets’ postseason hero Daniel Murphy, it is very unlikely because of his success during the playoffs. He will definitely be looking for a multi-year deal that will ultimately be way out of Oakland’s price range. However, there is another Mets’ second baseman that the A’s could target – Kelly Johnson.

Since 2011, Johnson been with eight different MLB organizations. Despite bouncing around, he started making a small comeback this season. Even though Johnson signed a Minor League contract with the Atlanta Braves last offseason, he made the 2015 Opening Day roster. He hit .275 with nine homers and 34 RBI before being traded to the Mets in July.

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Johnson definitely brought some offensive power to New York and hit five home runs in 49 games played. His numbers this season were the best they have been since 2011, which does give an optimistic outlook for this middle infielder’s future success. He is 33 years old, but could have another year or two of quality playing power under his belt.

Johnson is typically a second baseman with a career fielding percentage is .982, and he can play at third and first as well. However, he has also played quite a bit in left field, which could work in the A’s favor. Even though the Oakland Athletics want Coco Crisp to start in left in 2016, it is very unlikely he will stay there the whole season. The Athletics are going to need an extensive backup plan to make sure this position is covered for every scenario.

Lastly, he would be relatively cheap. This season, he signed a Minor League contract with the Braves and, in 2014, he signed a one-year, $3 million dollar deal. He will likely get more than a Minor League contract for the 2016 season, but it will definitely less than $3 million. This would be a realistic option for the A’s because Johnson would be affordable, would provide quality defense in the middle infield and could add some additional pop at the plate.

Up Next: A’s Should Consider Signing Free Agent Mike Napoli

With the General Managers meetings starting today, the trade rumors are going to start flying. Pay attention to see if the Athletics trade one of their two third basemen. If one of them goes, the Oakland Athletics are going to need pick up a second baseman to add depth to the middle infield and Kelly Johnson would be a practical option.

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