With the New York Yankees checking in n the free agent and trade markets for second basemen in case Robinson Cano leaves there is one name that hasn’t been mentioned that could be a fit and that is Kelly Johnson. While Omar Infante and Brandon Phillips might be better overall options they each have their own problems when it comes to acquiring them. Infante will require a multi-year deal and Phillips will require a large price in the form of a trade and makes a ton of money. Johnson could be an ideal fit if Cano leaves.
Johnson will be 32 next season, and has one of the more underrated power bats in the middle infield as he has had at least 16 home runs dating back to 2010. Johnson, a left-handed bat, would be ideal for Yankee Stadium where he would be able to take aim at the right field porch. He plays solid defense at second and can play third base and left field if needed.
Johnson is not the perfect replacement, after all you can’t really replace Cano if he does leave. However, Johnson can do a very nice job filling in as a replacement and giving the Yankees a veteran presence over Corban Joseph and David Adams. Johnson doesn’t come without his warts though. He is a low-average, high strikeout player. While not ideal, Johnson does have value, value the Yankees could use in their lineup which needs a serious injection of power.
Even if Cano re-signs Johnson is worth taking a look at for the possible third base vacancy, to fill in in left field and give Cano a break every once in a while. There aren’t very many third base options out there that are very attractive. Johnson, while mostly playing second base, has played third in a pinch and actually looked pretty good while playing there. He is certainly an upgrade over Eduardo Nunez and is better than Jayson Nix, at least at the plate.
The Yankees could do a lot worse than Johnson. He might not be ideal but he should be a cost-effective option who could fill a hole or two for the Yankees. With his bat 20 home runs is attainable, not bad for a middle infielder and should be enough to overcome his .220-.240 batting average.
The Yankees need help almost all over the diamond. Between age and injuries there are holes and question marks everywhere. While Infante would be a better option for a utility infielder type he might desire a long-term contract and a set position. Johnson has mostly played second and can’t play shortstop but can fill in at second and third and in the outfield. There are almost no perfect choices on the market this off-season but Johnson could be good enough to get the job done.