Now that the MLB trade deadline has passed, we can reflect on the moves made by each team and judge them accordingly. It's what we as fans do with our favorite teams. For the Diamondbacks, not many big moves were made. On the day of the deadline, relief pitcher Craig Breslow was dealt to the Red Sox for a journeyman outfielder and a hard throwing reliever in Matt Albers.
A couple of days before that, the Diamondbacks traded two minor league players in order to help shore up their 3rd base ordeal. The team acquired Chris Johnson from the Houston Astros in an attempt to do just that.
Although Johnson has never played for any other team besides Houston, he seems rather excited to be coming to Arizona. The best part is, his production is already being noticed on the diamond. Johnson hopped on the airwaves with Doug and Wolf from Arizona Sports 620 to discuss his big hit in his debut and what it feels like to be a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Johnson met up with the team in L.A. for their series against the Dodgers and on his first day, he was able to show that he is ready to make a contribution. When Miguel Montero was intentionally walked, Johnson took exception as he walked into the batter's box. He was able to harness that aggression to hit a grand slam in his debut. For him, it was not only a special hit, but an unforeseen one as well.
"I was just looking to get that hit out of the way, to be honest... It ended up going out of the ballpark with three guys on base so that was pretty special."
Johnson was drafted by the Astros in 2006 and had great loyalty to his former team. But when he discovered that he was traded to the D-backs, it sounds as if he was ready for the move.
"I was pretty pumped up. These guys have a really great ball club, an unbelievable coaching staff that I can learn from and I think it's a great way for me to further my career... Coming over here with these guys in the middle of a pennant race is something to get pretty psyched about. When they told me I was being traded over here, I was extremely excited for the opportunity to be involved in something like this."
The best part is, Johnson feels that at the age of 27, he still has parts of his game that he can improve upon. He cited his play both as a third baseman and as a batter as areas that he can build on. He also considers himself a power hitter and with only nine home runs on the season, he wants to keep working on that as well.
The D-backs are currently 3.5 games out of first place and only 2.5 behind the Dodgers. Some fans may be biting their nails or have given up hope that Arizona can make the postseason once again, but Johnson doesn't feel that way.
"Three and a half games? That's nothing," he said. "Hell, with Houston we were 27 and a half games back. Three games, that's a series. We could come in here, sweep (the Dodgers, who they are currently playing) and if the Giants lose a couple games, we'll be in first place before you know it."
If his first game and cool demeanor are any indication of how Johnson's tenure with the Diamondbacks will go, Arizona will look wise in not having made any big moves at the deadline. This one small trade may just be the one that helps them squeak by the Dodgers and the Giants for another NL West pennant.