The Nationals made a flurry of moves yesterday, giving up depth at the catching and relief corps while adding a young outfielder in Matt den Dekker. They also added an older outfielder in Reed Johnson to a minor league deal. Johnson was cut by the Marlins earlier in the day.
Johnson was competing for a bench spot and would’ve been the fifth outfielder behind Ichiro Suzuki.
The Nats clearly need some outfield depth with injury questions surrounding Denard Span and Jayson Werth. The opening day outfield will probably be Tyler Moore, Michael Taylor and Bryce Harper. Nate McLouth is still injured as well and has only had five AB’s this spring.
Johnson hit .235 last season and walked only once in 201 plate appearances for the Marlins last season though he did have 16 pinch hits which were the second most in the big leagues last season. He also hit .301 against left-handed pitching last season, which is something that the Nats can use off the bench.
To be honest, I’m not sure how much Johnson has left in the tank. The Marlins had enough depth in the outfield to where he couldn’t make it, but it’s troubling to me to have a guy on your team who walked only once in 200 plate appearances. Even if he makes the club, once Werth and Span come back there’s probably no shot of him sticking around with the other outfielders the Nationals have coming back.