Reeling in veteran hitters has never been the Marlins strong suit, and Reed Johnson was the latest failed project in 2014. Johnson was signed to a minor league contract last winter, and played so well in spring training that he wound up making the team. Unfortunately, he stuck there despite his sustained level of awful play.
Johnson was a factor in the Marlins hot start to 2014, coming up with many a clutch pinch hit early on. He was like the utility version of Casey McGehee until the calendar changed to June. That’s when the real Reed Johnson came out to play, and he finished with a .235/.266/.348 slash line in 201 plate appearances. Johnson had 34 hits last season, and from June-August he only had 13, 9 of them coming in early June.
Mike Redmond is often criticized for his game managing skills by the staff here at Marlin Maniac, and Reed Johnson was a big part of those questionable decisions last year. Late game situations where the team needed a big hit, one could guarantee Redmond was going to give Johnson the bat. That may have worked in early going, but at a certain point many of us wondered how he was still on the team. It was similar to the Gregg Dobbs conundrum in previous years, a veteran guy who somehow develops the reputation of a “Professional hitter” who is ready to go at all times. Numbers don’t lie and Reed Johnson should not have finished 2014 in Miami.
Johnson was recently released by the team, and it’s doubtful that he gets re signed. Utility men aren’t exactly a hot commodity, and the Marlins have plenty of guys in their system who could fill Johnson’s role. Hopefully a guy like Justin Bour can take his roster spot. At the age of 37, and coming off an inconsistent 2014 campaign, Johnson’s days in the big leagues are likely over unless some National League team gets really desperate and needs a pinch hitter. Hopefully, the Marlins are not that team.