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Friar Free Agent Candidate: Kelly Johnson

Friar Free Agent Candidate: Kelly Johnson

Greg Fiume

Josh Byrnes wants a lefty bat? Kelly Johnson is a lefty bat.

I must say, there are absolutely zero rumors surrounding Kelly Johnson coming to the Padres. Frankly, the only rumor for Johnson was 2 weeks ago regarding the interest that the Yankees were expressing in Johnson. For a player with Kelly Johnson's abilities, only one team expressing a strong interest is pretty weird. That's why I think the Padres need to make a play for Kelly Johnson.

Now I am sure you're sitting there wondering why I would be bringing up Kelly Johnson with nothing to warrant it. Well, here's the scoop. Because I can. Yet, so can you. In fact, you should have done it before I did. It's your site too. Hey, that rhymed. But on a more serious note, Kelly Johnson has always been a name that I've been interested in seeing for a little while now.

Last year, Johnson did not have the best of years. He batted a sub-par.235 in 407 plate appearances. In terms of searching for stand out bat, he may not be the one that comes to mind. He does have some power though. In 2012 and 2013, he finished each season with 16 home runs while playing 24 fewer games in 2013. That stat alone might not impress you because in the two seasons prior to that he amassed 26 and 21 home runs respectively. A move to Petco Park could help those numbers as a left-hander due to the closer fences. It could also raise his doubles stats. As a lefty, he could put his focus on getting the ball in play and reaching the deepest part of the park in right center field for extra bases and RBI. But, these possibilities are not my primary reason for liking Kelly Johnson. I like his versatility.

Johnson spent a majority of last season in left field for the Tampa Bay Rays. In his 118 games last season, he spent 53 in the outfield. The last time he spent that much time out there was his rookie season with the Atlanta Braves in 2005 when he recorded 79 games in the Turner Field grass. The left side of the outfield for the Padres is a coin flip at times. Carlos Quentin is not holding up as much as we'd hoped. Quentin only played 82 games last season. Barely half a season. Barely.

Johnson could be that back-up when we need him. And I know that the Padres have Kyle Blanks and Jesus Guzman at the ready for left field assistance. But, with both of them being right handers, Johnson might be an interesting addition. And he doesn't need to be left field exclusive. From 2006-2012, Johnson played exclusively at second base for the Braves, Diamondbacks, and Blue Jays as well as logging time at second and third base last year for the Rays. I think that kind of versatility could be an asset for the Padres. When he's not filling in for Quentin, he could be giving Jedd Gyorko or Chase Headley a day of rest.

So, what do you think? Am I crazy? Is it too early to be reading about these kinds of things? Maybe. But, it might be time to get the rumor mill churning for Kelly Johnson as a San Diego Padre.

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