Thursday, February 18, 2016

Rabid Dogs Pick Up (A) Harry Johnson

The Dover Rabid Dogs, last year's NLCS winner, made the young season's biggest move to date this morning by acquiring CF Harry Johnson from the Chicago Orphans.

Chicago gets back defensive specialist Tony Veras and reliever Carlos Johnson.

On the surface, it appears the Orphans sold too low on Johnson.  True, he hasn't lived up to the expectations that he'd be a .900+ OPS hitter in Wrigley (although while OPSing .899 last year, he was frequently benched...he played in 158 games but only got 361 plate appearances).  But I'm sure some will argue (with some merit) that all they got for a 28-yo premier CF was a defensive specialist and a replacement-level RP.

But Veras is an ultra-cheap, ultra-good defender in a league that seems to be increasing its estimate of the value of defense...of the 6 trades made so far this year, 5 have included players with ultra-high defensive ratings.  And $10MM/year is quite a premium for an .820 OPS (Johnson's career so far) hitter in a hitter's park (I'm assuming $10MM or thereabouts is his LT contract demand...he's asking $11MM in arbitration).

So (editorial begins) to me, it's probably not the best move for Chicago, but it's not a crazy move.  I think with a bit of patience they could've done better, maybe a lot better.  But they may have looked at this year's FA crop - especially on the pitching side - and decided they could get  lot better value for $10MM than Johnson offered.

*** Real Insider Editorial***  Just to stir the pot a bit more, here'a a trade offer I was teeing up as the Dover-Chicago deal hit the trade page (I had to wait for the 11AM cycle because that's when Lira was coming over from yesterday's trade with Huntington):

New Orleans offers Yoslan Goya, Ramiro Lira, and Andrew Lane to Chicago for Harry Johnson, Corey Booker, and Earnest Stynes.

Would I have hit "submit"?  I dunno, never got the chance.  But I was thinking about it.

Better for Chicago than what they got?  You decide.

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