FanPost

KJ between the lines

Interesting that Kelly Johnson agreed to arbitration last night. Though in a way it makes sense - take a one-year contract at a somewhat lower salary to (re)prove yourself, then sign a multiyear deal from a position of strength.

Also interesting that AA made the comments public about possibly turning KJ into a left fielder.

I wonder if it is part of his negotiating strategy.

Saying it before the draft could be construed as a subtle threat. "KJ, if you accept arb, I will stick you in LF. Clearly, you have more value as a 2B than as a LF, so this could hurt your chances of finding a contract next year". I am not sure that I see that as a compelling threat, though - KJ is not going to forget how to play 2B in a single year, and positional flexibility might well make him *more* attractive.

It is also possible that AA was sending Johnson a message about a multiyear deal. When the Toronto Star asked AA whether Johnson's signing meant that the 2B discussion was closed, AA said that if there is a deal that makes the Jays better, he has kept his options open. He also - uncharacteristically - told the Star about the private conversation he had with Johnson's agent about left field. The tone of those comments is that he has not yet shut the 2B door.

I see the new "threat" as something like this: "KJ, I need to have certainty at the 2B position. I was working on a deal for Gordon Beckham, who would be under team control through 2015. If you just accept one-year arb, I will go ahead with the Beckham deal and stick you in LF for a year. I may even platoon you with Thames or Snider. But if you agree to a multi-year deal, I will drop the Beckham negotiations"

Still not the strongest threat, but interesting!

Thoughts?

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