With Christmas just around the corner, almost every Major League team has an extensive list of players they want. For the San Diego Padres, that fact is no different. Following the trades of both Yonder Alonso and Jedd Gyorko, the San Diego Padres have some real uncertainty on the right side of the infield going into 2016.
As it currently stands, it looks like Wil Myers and Cory Spangenberg will fill those spots respectively. For the Padres, they may desire some infield depth behind both of those players. That is where Kelly Johnson comes in.
Entering his 12th season in the league, at the age of 33 years old, Johnson still has some juice left in the tank. In split time between the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets last season, Johnson did a commendable job as a backup/platoon player. Johnson finished with a slash line of .265/.314/.435 with a wRC+ of 107 in limited playing time. While these numbers obviously aren’t very flashy, Johnson was still quietly a 7% better hitter than the league average.
Despite still showing his worth as an offensive weapon, Johnson did leave a lot to be desired in the field. Despite showing a great deal of positional versatility, playing a total of six positions last season, Johnson provided negative defensive value at every one in terms of UZR. For a team that was defensively poor last season, and is need of some upgrades, the Padres may want a better defensive player in a utility role.
However, Johnson still represents an offensive weapon, and his versatility is something to be desired. The Padres as a team were much too right handed heavy in 2015, and Johnson represents a good left handed position player off the bench to provide that balance. As a left handed batter that plays multiple positions, Johnson provides some immediate value despite the question marks that may come attached to him.
One issue the Padres would have with Johnson is the fact that they already have a left handed bench option in Brett Wallace. Wallace is clearly less versatile than Johnson, and is a similarly below average defender, but he does provide much more offensive value in total.
Going into the 2016 season, the Padres are in need of cheap players who can fill various utility roles. Kelly Johnson may fit that role fairly well despite his limitations. The Padres are in need of more left handed options, and a player with positional versatility is always a plus as well. While it is uncertain whether the Padres would see enough value in Johnson, he is certainly worth a second look as a secondary option as the offseason progresses.