Word from Chicago is that Cubs' outfielder Reed Johnson has been taken out of the game against the visiting Pirates and that he may have been traded. Johnson was taken out for no other apparent reason, and was giving high fives and hugs to team mates before exiting down the tunnel to the clubhouse. USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that the Tigers and Pirates had inquired about Johnson earlier in the day.
Johnson is a right-handed hitting outfielder who has a stat line of .333 avg, .379 on-base percentage and .543 slugging average for a .923 OPS against left-handed pitchers this season. He has hit .308 / .347 / .475 / .822 against lefties over the past three seasons. Nightengale further reported
Johnson was one of the eight players that I suggested in today's article that might be pursued by the Tigers. He makes just $ 1.15 million for this season and is a free agent at the end of the year.
We'll update you if there's more to say.
UPDATE: John Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that Reed Johnson is not headed to Detroit. Others on Twitter report that he's not going to the Giants or the Pirates. Cubs teammate Giovanni Soto is apparently headed to the Rangers, but Johnson is going elsewhere. Stay tuned.
UPDATE 2: Braves' blogger Dave O'Brien tweets
UPDATE 3: REED JOHNSON TO ATLANTA
Multiple sources have confirmed that the Cubs have traded Reed Johnson along with pitcher Paul Maholm and some cash to the Braves, in exchange for minor leaguers Jaye Chapman, and Arodys Vizcaino. This is a deal involving two useful veterans who will be free agents after this season, although Maholm has a reasonable $ 6.5 million club option next year, in exchange for two mid level prospects.
The Cubs apparently are not done dealing. They're still talking to the Dodgers about Ryan Dempster, and there is word that Alfonso Soriano may be involved in that deal with the Cubs paying a big chunk of his salary. Soriano has reportedly said that he will not accept a trade to the Giants, who are determined to get an outfield bat. They're also reported to be talking to the Reds about Matt Garza.
In unrelated moves, the Pirates acquired outfielder Travis Snider from Toronto for pitcher Brad Lincoln, and Seattle sent reliever Brandon League to the Dodgers for a pair of minor leaguers.
Since so many players will now be free agents not subject to compensation, it would seem that non contenders are more motivated than ever to get something for them, rather than let them walk for nothing. Tuesday could be a busy day in baseball.