Righthanded utility outfielder, 35 years old but playing some of the best ball of his career. Johnson is comparable in some ways to Matt Diaz, only he got a fuller and earlier chance than Matt; the question, I suppose, is if this was luck or quality. With Diaz in clear decline, Johnson should make a capable replacement; having both on the roster would be redundant even if Diaz was playing well. (Or at all, he hasn’t played in a couple of weeks.)
Johnson has more secondary skills than Diaz, and is a career .284/.342/.414 hitter. The Jays took him in the seventeenth round out of Cal State-Fullerton in 1999. He hit well in the minors, particularly on the on-base side (career minor league OBP of .381) and was more or less the regular right fielder for the major league club by early in 2003. He hit well enough to build on that year, but played poorly the next two seasons. In 2006, at the age of 29, Johnson had his best year, hitting .319/.390/.479 (and leading the league with 21 HBP) but he followed this with a terrible 2007 (.236/.305/.320) and the Jays released him.
Johnson spent a couple of mediocre years with the Cubs and one with the Dodgers, and seemed to be playing out the string. But last season, back with the Cubs, he hit .309/.348/.467, and this year .302/.355/.444. In both cases, this is in limited playing time, and while some of his success is luck, some of it is probably due to having the platoon advantage more often.