By Jason Wojciechowski on April 24, 2008 at 4:36 PM
Rays designate 1B/DH Dan Johnson for assignment - mlb - SI.com
This is just terrible for poor Dan Johnson. Dan Johnson didn't even get into a game with the Rays before they DFA'd him to make room for the newly acquired Gabe Gross (who the Brewers felt the need to trade to make room for Tony Gwynn, Jr., who was coming off the DL). Andrew Friedman referred to this as "an awkward situation", which is an awesome way of putting it. But he basically said that they could carry Johnson, but he wasn't going to be getting playing time anyway, so why bother?
Is there really no one out there who could use a decent backup first baseman? Just looking through the Baseball Prospectus depth charts and team audits, I see a number of teams that might want Johnson's stick, such as it is, off the bench. I guess the real problem is that in this era of short benches, there's no room for a guy who's limited to one position and he's not a defensive-replacement kind of guy at that spot, either. So you'd use him to pinch hit for a middle-infielder or a catcher or you'd play him at first after you pinch-run for your real first baseman. That's really not that valuable when you realize that Johnson's not the kind of high-contact hitter you might want as a PH, nor is he likely to be very good if he gets an extended run due to injury or something: his PECOTA weighted mean is just .258 / .361 / .443.