Well, this is an interesting one. When we learned that Kelly Johnson had accepted the Jays’ offer of arbitration, Alex Anthopoulos told the media hordes that one of the advantages to keeping him was Johnson’s ability to play left field.
“Kelly’s got positional flexibility,” Anthopoulos said, as quoted by Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. “He played a lot of left field before. We talked about signing him as a left fielder. There’s absolutely a scenario where he could be a candidate for left field. So we haven’t ruled (that) out if there’s a player we can get. The fact that Kelly can go out there and play left, (means) there’s more competition for (jobs) and he can do more things for us. We’re open-minded. Again, if we can get a core piece, a controllable piece, we have the ability to do that.”
This, it turns out, was news to Johnson.
Speaking this afternoon with James Cybulski of TSN Radio (audio on their shitty Podcasts page), Johnson was asked about the potential of seeing time in left field next year, and if he was “open to change positions, if need be.” His response…
“Uh… no, I’m not. But that’s not anything that’s been talked about to me. I’m signed to play second and be at second, so I’m not concerned and not thinking about that too much.”
When asked if that was all news to him, Johnson replied, “Oh, yeah. Yeah.”
There was no discussion with Alex Anthopoulos about potentially playing in left, he says, and when asked if the talk bothers him he says, “You know, it is a little confusing, but I think there are some guys that have proven themselves to be Major League outfielders that are there, and they can hit. You know, between Eric Thames and Travis Snider and whoever else is there, there’s plenty of good outfielders who can really hit, so I don’t think I have to worry about that, but, like I say, it hadn’t been discussed.”
Is he simply trying to sound like he’s not gunning for somebody else’s job? Perhaps. But the fact that he says repeatedly that the possibility of his shifting to left wasn’t even discussed before he accepted the Jays’ arbitration offer is maybe a bit of a concern.
Dun dun dunnnn!!!!