Johnson has six weeks to impress Jays brass
By BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency
|Kelly Johnson makes a play on a ground ball against the Twins at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz., May 20, 2011. (NORM HALL/Getty Images/AFP)
TORONTO - If Kelly Johnson played a full season at the Rogers Centre he’d hit 25 homers.
So says a top major league talent evaluator.
Well, Aaron Hill, who along with utility man John McDonald, was dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Johnson on Tuesday afternoon, hit 36 in 2009.
Hill hit 25 in 2010 and has only clubbed six so far this season. Johnson has 18 homers in 114 games for the first place Diamondbacks.
The deal of second basemen was fairly even as both of their offensive numbers were headed south ... down Mexican League way.
Both were former No. 1 draft picks.
Johnson was selected in 2000 when the Atlanta Braves selected right-hander Adam
Wainright with the 29th pick, Cambridge’s Scott Thorman 30th and Johnson 38th.
Hill was chosen 13th overall in 2003.
While Hill has hit .213, with a .271 on-base average, a .359 slugging percentage and a .630 OPS since opening day in 2010, Johnson has hit .252 with a .335 OBA, a .460 slugging mark and a .795 OPS.
Johnson doesn’t have a season to impress the Jays brass.
He has six weeks.
“He has the ability to get on base, draw some walks and he has power to each field,” Anthopoulos told reporters.
“He’d be the first to tell you, he’s not doing what was expected, especially after the year he came off.”
Johnson, who mostly played shortstop in the minors, with 15 starts at third, broke in with the Braves in 2005 as an outfielder due to injuries Atlanta had at the time.
He missed 2006 due to Tommy John surgery and started 2007 as Bobby Cox’s lead-off hitter while playing second. Eventually Johnson lost his lead-off spot and began platooning at second with current Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar.
Then, in 2008, Escobar became the starting shortstop with Johnson at second, as Johnson had the longest hitting streak of the season in the National League, hitting in 22-consecutive games.
In 2009, Johnson lost his job with the Braves making 84 starts at second.
He signed with the D-backs where he had his best year batting .284, with 26 homers AFP/fileS and 71 RBIs in 154 games.