Best Teams to sign Kelly Johnson (for the Jays' benefit)

In light of today's news that the new CBA will make Kelly Johnson a "Modified Type A" free agent, in addition to the other changes that were brought in, it seems more likely that Kelly Johnson will not be at 2B for the Jays next year (compared to under the old system where he would have been a Type A). This is not a sure thing of course, but in this post I'm going to look at where KJ could land, in the way that would most benefit the Blue Jays.

The Jays still stand to get get two picks if he signs elsewhere - the normal supplemental pick at the end of the 1st round, as well as a pick in front of the top pick of the team that signs him, subject to the normal conditions when teams sign more than one Type A free agent. However, if the signing team has a protected pick, then it will be their second round pick rather than first (via Wilner).

These new rules change the calculus a little bit, because under the old system none of the teams with unprotected picks would be willing to give up a first rounder for a player like KJ, unless they also signed a higher ranked Type A, in which case they only lose their second rounder. In other words, it would be unlikely to get a first rounder for KJ. Now, however, this isn't the case, and the Jays could get a first rounder - and that's what we should hope for. With that mind, here list of the teams (omitting our picks) who signing of KJ would give us a first rounder  with some notes on their 2B, budget situation, and if they have an opening elsewhere elsewhere (likely LF) they could use him:

  • 16th: Nationals - have Espinosa, possible candidate could sign a higher Type A which would bump the pick to 2nd round, but KJ may be an option in LF.
  • 18th: Dodgers - just signed Ellis, don't seem to have much money left in their budget
  • 19th: Angels - set with Kendrick, don't have open outfield spots either.
  • 20th: Giants - could look to upgrade over Jeff Keppinger,who is arb eligible. Don't project to have a lot of budget room though. They could use some outfield depth so could look to get him some playing time in LF also.
  • 21st: Braves - have Uggla and a similar player in Martin Prado who they are looking to trade (not to mention they non-tendered KJ back in 2009). Probably don't have a lot of budget room either.
  • 23rd: Cardinals - currently have Skip Schumaker and Ryan Theriot. If they keep Pujols, probably don't have the room. If not, they could look to possibly upgrade at 2B. Outfield is set.
  • 24th: Red Sox - have Pedroia. Carl Crawford will be manning LF for the next 6(!) years. Opening in RF, but I can't see KJ there.  
  • 25th: Rays - have Zobrist, with Jennings and Joyce at the corner OF. They always have a tight budget anyway and I can't see Friedman being interested.
  • 26th: Diamondbacks - have Hill (not to mention a glut of middle infielders already). Might have a use for KJ in LF, and they're familiar with him.
  • 27th: Tigers - Ryan Raburn is tops on their depth chart. Willing to spend, and in a position to win now. Have other holes to fill (3B) that might be high priorities. For whatever reason, want apparently want to bring Delmon Young back, but they could also use KJ as an option here.
  • 28th: Brewers - already have Jemile Rickie Weeks, don;t really have outfield spaces. Win now mode, and have Fielder money to play with, but other holes to fill.  
  • 29th: Rangers - have Kinsler, not to mention other guys who float between positions - Michael Young, Mike Napoli (what else do these two have in common?). Would have budget room in they wanted him.
  • 30th: Yankees - have Cano, unlikely to have a full time opening elsewhere.
  • 31st: Phillies - have Chase Utley, and probably not much payroll room. Could look to put him in LF if they don't want to go with Dom Brown and can't afford guys like Cuddyer.

Of these, the teams that stick out to me are the Nationals (more for LF), the Giants (despite their budget situation), and the Tigers look the most promising, along with St. Louis and Philadelphia possibly having interest if other options fall through.

In the second round, the Twins could look to upgrade, the Orioles need a 2B, the Cubs might be interested upgrading, Miami has a potential opening and money (though if they land Jose Reyes could look to shift Hanley Ramirez to second), and the Rockies have expressed interest in 2B upgrades,

What do you think?

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