It's a legitimate question. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense does it? The 2B market is quite thin. Are there really any 2B out there that are available (trade or FA) and clearly better than Johnson? And Johnson is a good hitter and all, but his bat doesn't play particularly well in LF. I tend to think that Thames and Snider can hit just as well as Johnson.
So... What does this mean, if anything?
1) They think there is legitimately a better option at 2B. One that is worth pushing Johnson to LF and keeping both Thames and Snider in the minors. (As mentioned, there isn't much that is available out there regarding 2B's. And I'd like to see at least one of Thames or Snider get a shot in 2012)
2) They think that Johnson's defense at 2B is so awful that he has no business playing there. (I know he's not great, but I didn't see him as that much of a defensive liability)
3) AA just said that to try to get Johnson not to accept arbitration, so he could get the picks. (This seems to be the popular opinion among bloggers. I don't know. Who else would have manned 2B? Maybe AA had something in the works and Johnson's signing put a damper on those plans? Still though, it seems like an underhanded way to do business, even though I realize how much the Jays value draft picks)
...And I hope I don't get banned from BBB for suggesting #4
4) They really are (or were) considering moving Lawrie to 2B and Bautista to 3B. (The Jays don't have many exciting prospects coming up at the 2B position. For 2013 and beyond, does AA want to overpay in trading for someone or acquiring someone via free agency, or does he want to maximize the value of both Lawrie and Bautista by putting them in more "premium-type" positions? Perhaps they see that Bautista is better suited for 3B after all, and that Lawrie's speed and agility would work well at 2B. The outfield looks much easier to fill with good players than the infield at the moment)
Perhaps Scott Carson was right?
For what it's worth though, I'm probably the one that is way out in left field on this one. AA hasn't given any clues that indeed this type of move would be in the cards. A quote from AA is below.
“Kelly’s got positional flexibility as well,” Anthopoulos said. “He played a lot of left field before. We talked about signing him as a left fielder. There’s absolutely a scenario where he could be a candidate for left field. So we haven’t ruled (that) out if there’s a player we can get. The fact that Kelly can go out there and play left, (means) there’s more competition for (jobs) and he can do more things for us. We’re open-minded. Again, if we can get a core piece, a controllable piece, we have the ability to do that.”