The Arizona Diamondbacks were known to be in the market for a third baseman. The club acquired Chris Johnson from the Astros on Sunday afternoon in exchange for two prospects, which looked like a solid deal at first.
Johnson will provide a slight update for the D-backs, but not by a whole lot.
A quick glance at Johnson's numbers suggest he's a solid hitter. He is batting .279/.329/.428 this season with eight homers and 41 RBI, which isn't bad considering he had no protection in the lineup. This being said, a deeper look at his home and road splits is concerning.
At home, when Johnson plays in the very hitter-friendly Minute Made Park, he's hitting .326/.390/.547. On the road, he's batting .225/.256/.294. Johnson has not hit a home run on the road since last September, and he has just 10 extra-base hits in 160 at-bats this season.
Yes, there is something to be said for being more comfortable while playing at home. Just about every player in baseball tends to hit better at home than on the road throughout their career. But not to the level that Johnson has this season and since becoming a big league regular in 2010.
Then there is the issue of defense. Remember how bad Mark Reynolds was? Johnson is probably a worse defender than Reynolds was during his time in Arizona, according to Defensive Runs Saved. That's not good.
The D-backs added a warm body for third base on Sunday, but expecting anything more than mediocrity out of him is probably unrealistic. Perhaps his drastic splits balance out as he gets comfortable in the National League West, but the stats tend to believe they won't. And unless his defense somehow improves over night, it's going to be tough playing him on a nightly basis.
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