Free Agent Friday: Red Sox options at third base

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Oct 2, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Kelly Johnson (14) during batting practice prior to game one of the 2014 American League divisional series against the Detroit Tigers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

5. Kelly Johnson

If everything breaks the wrong way in the third base market this winter and the Red Sox are unable to bring aboard a starting third baseman via free agency or a trade, then Kelly Johnson, who spent a few weeks in Boston this season, could potentially fill a role on the team. Johnson had a tough year in 2014, calling three AL East cities home (New York, Boston, and Baltimore) and slashing a combined .215/.296/.362 in 106 games, but he could potentially provide some value for the Red Sox.

Johnson’s most valuable asset is his versatility as he is capable of playing third base, second base, first base, and corner outfield. In his best seasons, he has also been able to handle the bat a bit, as indicated by his career 102 OPS+ (showing that he has been 2% better than the average offensive player, adjusted by home field). Plus, there’s always the benefit that Johnson would come very cheap, likely on a one-year deal.

Regardless of all those factors, however, it’s quite unlikely that the Red Sox will sign Johnson this winter as he likely would improve their lineup only marginally at best.