Cincinnati Reds add second baseman Micah Johnson and then lose him

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Reds claimed Micah Johnson off of waivers from the Atlanta Braves.

When the Cincinnati Reds claimed Micah Johnson, they added a left-handed hitting second baseman that can also play the outfield.  This is similar to what the Reds did right before opening day 2017 with Scooter Gennett.  They are both left-handed hitting second basemen with some MLB experience.

Johnson only played in eighteen games in 2017, while recovering from a wrist injury.  He was a top prospect in the Chicago White Sox system before getting his best shot at playing with them.  Johnson would likely play primarily at second for the Reds with their crowded outfield, but the flexibility is an added feature.

Johnson made his MLB debut in 2015 playing 36 games.  He batted .230 with an OBP of .306.  In 23 hits his only extra base hits were four doubles.

In 2016 Johnson moved to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He only played in seven MLB games, going 1 for 6.  He played second base in three of the four games in which he played defensively.

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In 2017 Johnson went 2 for 10.  Both hits were singles.  Despite playing in eighteen games, he only got ten plate appearances.

Four days after MIcah Johnson joined the Cincinnati Reds, they lost him to the San Francisco Giants.

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The Reds tried to sneak Johnson down to Louisville’s roster, but the Giants claimed him.  The Reds lost Luke Farrell to the Chicago Cubs earlier this off-season in a similar manner.  It’s good news that other teams want the same players that the Reds do.

The real situation is that the Reds are a bit thin in infield depth on the forty man roster.  With Zack Cozart now a free agent after a career year, the Reds only have their starting four infielders and prospect Dilson Herrera on the forty man roster.  That means the Reds don’t have a back-up shortstop right now.

Things will change as the off-season goes along.  The Reds lost defensive specialist Zach Vincej to the Seattle Mariners via waivers.  They tried to sneak him down to Triple-A too.

The Reds still want to re-sign Zack Cozart.  After not deciding on Vincej or Jose Peraza as the next shortstop, they need more depth.  The Reds just need someone to play shortstop for the first half of 2018.

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That’s why the Reds wanted Johnson.  They need to accumulate depth in case Peraza doesn’t pan out.  Otherwise, they will regret letting both Johnson and Vincej go.