The indispensable MLB Trade Rumors has updated its Elias Rankings to inform their nerdy Blue Jays fan following that newly acquired second baseman Kelly Johnson would require Type A compensation if the season were to end today and he refused the Blue Jays offer of arbitration.

Those are two rather large “ifs,” and in addition to that happening, another team would have to sign Johnson knowing that they’d be giving up a first or second round draft pick to acquire a player coming off a season in which he accumulated a sub .300 on base percentage.

In this way, Type A status likely hurts the Blue Jays chances of receiving a pick for Johnson if they decide to offer him arbitration at the end of the season. But maybe that doesn’t matter so much to General Manager Alex Anthopoulos.

Ken Rosenthal had an interesting piece up this morning identifying Toronto’s latest roster shuffling as nothing short of a tryout for 2012. It’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which Johnson refuses a marginal raise on the $5.85 million he’s making this season and the Blue Jays are no doubt aware of this.

If he performs well over the final six weeks of the season, Toronto will offer him arbitration and he’ll get the opportunity to feel out the market for his services. In all likelihood, that market will be limited to zero interest, which in its own way is probably best for Johnson. Assuming the left handed hitting second baseman believes his true talent level to be higher than what his 2011 numbers are showing, he could do a lot worse than receiving a $6 million+ contract for one year to prove himself and possibly go after the multi-year deal he desires in 2013.

For the Diamondbacks, they were unlikely to have offered Johnson arbitration no matter how he finished the season. In Aaron Hill, they acquired a Type B free agent, who is showcasing his talents not only for Arizona, but also every team interested in a second baseman next season. The decision to offer him arbitration will also be decided over the next six weeks.

Comments (9)

  1. I’m actually not so sure Johnson would accept arbitration. The free agent market for middle infielders is so thin next year that it’s easy to imagine some team overpaying for him. And there’s always the possibility of a team that already has an extra first-round pick deciding he’d be a worthwhile investment – remember when Boston signed Marco Scutaro as a Typa A? Johnson is coming off a bad year but there aren’t many other options.

  2. yeah i don’t buy that it is automatic that he accepts arb. Obviously there is a decent chance but it is not a slam dunk. He is the best 2nd base FA option. He is only 1 year removed from elite level production. In 2010 he had the 3rd best wOBA for 2nd basemen, ahead of utley and weeks.

  3. I think you guys are forgetting:

    i) Jim Hendry was fired;
    ii) Ed Wade will be fired; and
    iii) Ned Colletti doesn’t have any money to spend.

  4. Hill War
    ’06 – 2.7
    ’07 – 3.5
    ’08 – injured
    ’09 – 4.1
    ’10 – 1.2
    ’11 – (-0.5)

    Johnson War
    07 – 3.6
    ’08 – 2.7
    ’09 – 0.8 (106 games)
    ’10 – 5.9
    ’11 – 1.6

  5. It wouldn’t be shocking if a team with a protected first round pick signs him for 3/20 or something, especially if this theoretical team has a sandwich pick or two. The 2B market is pretty revolting.

  6. I can’t see anyone giving him 3 guaranteed years. I would guess that if he accepts arb, AA signs him to a 1-year deal with an option to avoid arb and take a shot at him being good again. If he can regroup then the Jays have one of those “Good problems” AA is always talking about with regards to depth at 2B if Hech pans out, and a backup plan if Hech doesn’t.

  7. I hope Johnson does accept arbitration. The Jays would be able to fill out 2B with a quality player with no long-term commitment and focus their upgrading and spending efforts elsewhere through free agency and trades. There are still minor holes in LF, 1B, DH, and the rotation that have to be addressed if this team wants to compete in 2012.

  8. While I think you can go with one of Lind/Encarnacion in a starting role, I think you need more offensive production out of one of the spots than you’re getting now.

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