Johnson released

DUNEDIN, Fla. — Only a few items remained in the near-empty locker that sat behind where Reed Johnson stood. The outfielder spent Sunday morning packing up his belongings at Knology Park after learning that he had been released by the Blue Jays.

The news didn’t come as a shock for Johnson, who had prepped himself for a change of scenery every since Toronto brought veteran outfielder Shannon Stewart into camp on a Minor League contract in February. There wasn’t going to be room on the roster for both players, so Johnson understood the odds.

"I prepared myself for it," Johnson said. "In my mind, I’ve been released a couple times already. Once we signed Stew, it was one of those situations where the two of us, I think, we’re prepared for either a release or a trade."

Since Johnson was given his unconditional release, the Blue Jays are only responsible for roughly $500,000 of the $3.275 million he was scheduled to make in 2008. When Stewart is transferred to Toronto’s 25-man roster, his salary will rise to $1.5 million, with the potential to earn another $250,000 in performance bonuses this season.

Check for more in a bit. Heading back down to the clubhouse…

Today’s lineups:

PHILADELPHIA (10-13-1) at TORONTO (9-13)
at 1:05 p.m. ET at Knology Park

Jimmy Rollins, SS
Shane Victorino, CF
Chase Utley, 2B
Ryan Howard, DH
Chris Snelling, LF
Geoff Jenkins, RF
Pedro Feliz, 3B
Eric Bruntlett, 1B
Carlos Ruiz, C


David Eckstein, SS
Shannon Stewart, LF
Alex Rios, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Frank Thomas, DH
Aaron Hill, 2B
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Marco Scutaro, 3B
Rod Barajas, C


Happy Easter everyone.

UPDATE: From talking with GM J.P. Ricciardi this morning, it was clear that the Jays tried and would’ve preferred to trade Reed Johnson rather than just release him. The problem was, teams still had concerns about Johnson’s health. … Ricciardi also came as close as he was willing to come to saying Randy Wells was on the roster. Ricciardi said the Jays didn’t want to risk losing guys (meaning via Rule 5 rules, option issues, waivers), so based on that, it looks like the bullpen on Opening Day will include: Jeremy Accardo, Scott Downs, Brandon League, Brian Tallet, Jason Frasor, Brian Wolfe and Randy Wells.


Too bad, Reed was fun to watch. I really think they should have taken a chance on him going into the season, I know he will probably never have a .390 on base percentage again like in ’06, but I think it was worth the risk. I think this is the wrong decision baseball-wise, but there is maybe something else going on that we don’t know about (or maybe it was just to save a few bucks).

The extra 10percent Stewart brings in offense is lost in the 110percent Johnson brings in defence and all around hustle. With the platoon role that is projected, who would you rather come off the bench to relieve Stairs in the seventh of a close game, Johnson or Stewart? Don’t get me wrong I was a Stewart fan before, and still cheer for him but I just think Johnson is the better overall option and you can see the difference he made by not heading the lineup last year. Too bad the Jays won’t give him the chance to redeem himself because now he’s going to shine for another team.

I totally disagree with Jays’ decision on this one. Johnson is a better overall player than Stewart who seemed primed for a good season. I hate to see one of my favourite Bluejays leave the club. He was a true class act and a very hard worker. He was always determined to help the team win, even if it was by being hit by a pitch. Stewart better put on a show otherwise this would be one of the biggest mistakes for the upcoming season.

I am wondering why the Jays released him rather than trade him and get something of equal value?

If I had to guess I think it would be because Johnson wanted a quick decision and if he was to be traded it would take more time. But I am not sure. :s

Another beauty JP move- remember the old days of him talking about OBP, pitching and defense- now it is I am desperate and am going to grab any warm body I might be able to get for less money. I really hope Reed goes to New York or Boston hits the lights out, plays great defense and wins a championship (he deserves it the way he plays the game) as we get to watch Shannon hit .300 but have fly balls fall in front of him and runners taking extra bases on his arm (wonder how many times guys are going to get extra bases out there with Eck and Stew on that side of the diamond)- why didnt we just give Adam Lind the job??? I wonder how long till Roy, AJ, Dustin, Marcum and the rook Jesse, start dreaming of old days gone by on the left side of the diamond with Reed and Johnny Mac. Both players have been dissed in my mind by JP. Good luck to you Reed- you will always be on my Blue Jay team- no offense (or should I say defense) Shannon!!!! We just went from having the best defensive third baseman (Rolen), short stop (McDOnald) left fielder (Johnson), center fielder(Vernon), first baseman(Overbay) and second baseman (Hill) to keep your heads up in Spring Training Vernon, Hill, Overbay- your numbers are next to be replaced. This team better start scoring 7-9 runs a game if we are going to be anywhere near the two big boppers in our division.

ok. i guess maybe im the only one here who things this is actually a pretty good move. as much as reed brought to the team – remember we have lind sitting in AAA knocking on the door for a full time position. i think what we’ve done is open the door for lind in 2009 completely. i think stewart (who has a better consistant track record) gets basicly one year in left field, and then next year we’ll see lind there. and besides if stewart doesnt turn out the way we want, we still have lind to come up and fill that spot. either way reed would have had to leave this year, or next year. i think stewart is just a better hitter, and i personally look forward to seeing him in left field.

on the topic of defence, we still have one of the best defensive outfields in the AL with wells and rios, and infields when johhny mac is playing. loseing reed does drop our defence in left, but i think we’ll still be ok.

I don’t have anything against Shannon Stewart, I enjoyed watching him play for other teams while he was away from Toronto. The point is that Toronto let him go for a reason, his defense ***** and he has no arm. If you look at the stats this spring training you see that Johnson is out performing him in the only category that Shannon is supposed to be better, hitting. That fact that Shannon is a week behind, woo hoo, I don’t buy it. I agree with what was said above, Johnson is set to have another great year.

This is a horrible decision. The fact is that Stairs likely isn’t going to be able to perform at the level he did last year, and when that happens then Shannon is going to have to start playing more. That’s when we will start to see the big difference. Johnson was a spark plug for this team, he did things that got everybody going and playing their best. You just can’t say enough how important that kind of player is to a team.

I understand that Lind is set to take over, and that’s great…. IF he manages to mature into a great player, at this point he isn’t any better then Johnson and from what I have seen still has a way to go before he is even at the same level.

So in conclusion, the only reason I can see for this decision is that they will save a little bit of money. I really can’t believe that they would do this, it’s a financial decision instead of a decision of what’s best for the team.


In my opinion, it comes down to who can preform and who can’t. Yes Johnson has the deffinate edge over Stewart on defense, but you can’t forget the fact that this team struggled on offense last year. Johnson had a great 2006 season, but you can’t be sure he can post those numbers again. In Stewart, you find a consistant hitter, who has a great track record. He hit’s for avg, and could deffinatly add some offense to this club. Sure his defense isn’t the best, along with his arm….But does that stop the Yankee’s from putting Johnny Damon in the lineup?

Honestly I agree with this decision, although I love Johnson, and his work ethic that he brings everyday. But when it comes down to it, there’s to much on the line. Johnson gets re-injured, or he doesn’t re-find his grove.

Stewart has done this for 16 season’s. The Jays know exactly what there doing.

Left feild is an offensive position.
A little suprised they didn’t trade him. Gibbons said there were trade offers. Maybe that was just hype..or they couldnt come to an agreement over money. I could see a team wanting Toronto to pick up part of that salary.

In my opionion Stewart is more of a threat all around offensivly. His speed can still be used at the top of the order if he is needed there. This team has a remarkably different look considering J.P. said he was pretty much standing still this offseason.

Hey Bass:

This move will haunt the Jays should he sign with a contender. Defense wins championships. Boston or New York will probably pick him up at a bargain basement price. Johnson was a sparkplug and came to play every game, a pleasure to watch each time he stepped into the batters box.

Good luck to Reed. I have a feeling he’ll pop up somewhere and make us wonder why we let him go. Great guy, great player!
On the other hand, this is all about Adam Lind and money for the future. I hope a couple of “old guys” platooning in LF works out this year for the Jays. Guess we just have to wait now.

I suppose the assumption here is that Matt Stairs is going to have another big year. I hope so. But if he doesn’t, we may have been better off with Stewart and Johnson. After 15 years of loosing baseball, I couldn’t care less about “Canadian Content”.

A small upgrade on offense for a big downgrade on defense. I don’t necassarily agree with the move in a platoon situation however, if one of Thomas, Rios, Wells or Stairs gets injured (and that will likely happen) then Stewart is a better option so I can see why the jays went with him. I’ve heard the arguement that defense wins championships but last year with a great defense the jays didn’t do much. They NEED the offense and many teams in the league can only wish that they only have 2 weak spots on D.

I personally really don’t like this move. I really liked Johnson and thought he was a great player and could still continue to be a great player. Well we shall see how it turns out in the regular season. Oh and congrats to Thomas for getting a hit in todays game.

JP, give your head a shake. You were quoted when you brought Rolen and Eckenstien to the team that you wanted more “dirtbag” players that could grind it out with the Yanks and Redsox. Now your first big move of the spring, was removing arguably one of the A.L.’s grittiest players. Anyone who has watched Reed over the years knows that you will not be able to find a picture of him with a clean uniform, he doesn’t no any other speed than 100% he abuses pictures stanima with his high pitch count at bats, takes a hit, scores runs, steals, plays above-average outfield in ALL outfield positions and the list can go on but my hand is going to cramp if i list all of Reed Johnson’s positive contributions to the Blue Jays. I will not accept JP’s back injury as a reason. How many mulligan’s did Eric Hinskie receive? And wait a minute this just in, Russ Adams is still in a Jays uniform. I’m not even going to bring up the fact that the guy replacing Reed Johnson has only played in 150 games or more once, back in 2001. But oh, but he can hit around .300. Let’s not forget that Stewart wanted out of Toronto in the first place now JP released a gem of a ball player in favour of him… If this were in a baseball market, i think Riccardi would be feeling the heat. I hope Toronto welcomes the Jays back at their home opener with a 5 minute long “we want Reed” chant.

I wonder if JP tried to trade him to the Cubs who are still looking at Marlon Byrd to be their fourth outfielder

Oakland still wants a CF with experience, Reed plays center and hits better then the rookies Oakland has.

The Marlins are in the same boat. The Mets need a right fielder to hit left handers with Church, which Johnson does well.

Basically i know their holes out there teams want to fill, so was their really no market for Johnson ?********* that we got nothing for him, but still, no one will complain about what Stewart will bring to the club. He’s a great hitter and positive influence in the clubhouse.

I am glad that this signals Matt Lind in 09 in a more permenant role.

He’s a great hitter and an improving fielder, and he’s ours, so why let him waste away in the minors ?

From what I’ve read, the Jays were trying to trade Johnson, but teams were hesitant to give anything up for a guy coming off a pretty serious injury and with a bloated salary.

Reed seems like a good guy, but I think this is the right move. Johnson put up amazing numbers for half a season in 2006, but other than that, his numbers have never been too impressive. Also, for what it’s worth, Johnson has never hit righties very well, an area which the Jays’ offense really struggled last year.

Good luck to him, but I’m looking forward to seeing what Stewart can do….

I will miss Reed. His amazing defence, getting hit by pitches, all out hustle, and billy goatee.

But I think this was the right move. If other teams were concerned about his back NOT to offer a warm body for a decent 4th outfielder, then Jays certainly had more info about his health.

Yes Reed was a great defender and now we have a guy who can’t throw someone out at second base if he were standing 10 feet away.

Now instead of missing Reed, I am sure we are all going to miss Rolen, now that he is out with a broken finger. (Here we go again).

I wonder if any of the writers will win that competition with Gibbons (you know with picking the right lineup for opening day) now that Rolen is gone.

The thing you have to look at when comparing the two of them is how much more offense will Stewart have to produce to make up for the fact that pretty much every ball hit to left field will be a double. How many runs a game will that equal? one a game maybe? maybe less, maybe 1/2 a game, and I think I am being generous here. That means that if they were both playing for the full season that Stewart would have to produce an EXTRA 80 RBI over what Johnson produced just to make up for the fact that once every two games a run scored because a single got legged out to a double.

Defence is underrated, especially in left field where singles can become doubles if you don’t have an arm. Its a situation where you have so many more chances to mess up on defence throughout the game then you have chances to excell on offence throughout the game.

Like I said above, I like Shannon Stewart and I hope that Lind is able to become the player people think he will be. I’m just concerned that we are all going to be kicking ourselves this year because we got rid of a player that really pumped up the energy of the club.

I’m also concerned that Stairs won’t be able to fill the full time roll like he played last year. But if he does then none of this will really matter at all.

An extra 80 rbi’s ? you’re not serious are you?.
As for defence winning championships , you better tell the Red Sox to get rid of Manny then or they may as well give up now , oh wait a minute did they not win the W.S. last year?.

Clearly I wouldn’t expect anyone to produce 80 more RBI. The question is how many times will a single become a double because Stewart has the reputation that he can’t throw anyone out at second? People will start to stretch them out when he is on the field. He had that reputation 10 years ago, and I’m sure his arm hasn’t gotten any better. And for what? at this point he isn’t out hitting Johnson this season. I’m always leary of looking at peoples “career” numbers, so he is a .298 career hitting, if you want to look at it that way then Johnson is a career .281 and that includes last season where he was injured.

Either way, what I was getting at above was that the difference between the offensive capabilities of the two are minor. Will he be able to make up the runs he will give away? I doubt it

I hope Rolen’s injury isn’t more serious then what they are currently reporting (hard to tell if the news is coming from J.P). Has anyone actually seen the finger ?

For every single turned into a double by Stewart, Rios will keep a double a single. Arguing a point that really will have a neglegable effect. As stated before Manny Ramirez is an example of a bad defender making a pretty good living in Left Feild.(Stewart is still a better defender than Ramirez) I beleive Toronto’s other two outfeilder are much better defensivly than Boston’s to make up the difference. Considering Johnson would only be playing against lefties, he would proably only be getting 1/4 of the starts anyways. So his defensive ability’s really would have a very little effect.

I guess the silver lining of all these players stretching singles into doubles is that there shouldn’t be as many stolen bases against us this year- what a bad joke- I need some new material!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You have to be joking~!!! Releasing Johnson was stOOpid with a capital OO! Now Rolen’s busted. Here we go again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: