As a fourth outfielder, the Chicago Cubs have a great player in Reed Johnson. There is no doubt that he could be an everyday player. However, I believe he is more valuable as a fourth outfielder, pinch runner, pinch hitter and defensive replacement. He is capable of playing all 3 outfield positions. He can hit for average, is a great bunter and can steal some bases too. Last year he stole only 5 bases. I look for that number to increas in 2009. While Reed has never stolen more than 8 bases in a season there is no denying that he has some speed. More importantly than that is his aggressive style of play. He is not afraid to get his uniform dirty.
In addition to his offensive abilities, Johnson is an excellent defender. The Cubs will be able to use him in all 3 outfield positions when needed. I can see Reed replacing Bradley late in games because of his defense. Or, heaven forbid, Soriano goes down with his annual leg injury, he can play leftfield. Then there is the possiblity of platooning with Kosuke Fukudome in centerfield. I see that happening if Fukudome struggles at the plate again this year.
Whichever way you look at it Reed Johnson is a valuable player for the Cubs. I look for him to get around 300-350 at bats this year. He’s the type of player that a championship caliber team needs. He’s a sparkplug whether he’s starting or coming off the bench.