The final and lowest-profile acquisition from the 2014 Trade Deadline is scheduled to join the Red Sox today and his name is Kelly Johnson.
The trade of Stephen Drew for Johnson was a curious one for the Red Sox, firstly because it was between the Red Sox and Yankees. However, the Red Sox also traded a relatively valuable player in Drew for a relatively valueless player in Johnson. In the midst of a rough season (.219/.304/.373) and with his “utility man” value overshadowed in the presence of Brock Holt, who is not having a rough season, it’s almost like the Red Sox gave up something for nothing.
However, we all know that the real reason for the trade was not to acquire Kelly Johnson, who is a free agent after the season and has been out since late July with a strained groin, but rather to move Xander Bogaerts back to shortstop.
While Johnson at his best is a solid player (his career slash line is .251/.333/.424 and his OPS+ is 102), he won’t be of much use for the Red Sox this season. In this “trial period” of the last two months of the season, the Red Sox have been giving their youngsters a shot and if they play it right, then Johnson will receive minimal playing time for the rest of the season. After all, just about every position he could possibly play would be taking time away from somebody who is a part of Boston’s future.
Right now, the real question is who gets sent down to Pawtucket to clear space for Johnson on the 25-man roster. Tim Britton of the Providence Journal suggests that it may be Mookie Betts who finds himself optioned to the PawSox. Ideally, however, the Red Sox would option Corey Brown, who is yet to make his 2014 debut, and keep Betts with the Red Sox. In a perfect world, Johnson will hardly even play for the rest of the season as the Red Sox strive to find playing time for Bogaerts, Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Will Middlebrooks. But you just never know with John Farrell.