Reed Johnson of the Chicago Cubs makes a diving catch on a ball hit by Matt Treanor of the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)
Reed Johnson isn't a great player. But the effort he shows on the field not only helps his team, but has made him a cult favorite among Cubs fans.
Outfielder Reed Johnson, who has spent three of the last four seasons with the Chicago Cubs (with a sojourn to the Dodgers in 2010), signed a one-year contract to return to the Cubs, according to a press release from the team. A tweet from Chicago Tribune Cubs beat writer Paul Sullivan says the deal is worth $1.15 million.
Normally, the signing of a fourth outfielder like this wouldn't be big news, even though Johnson had a pretty good year for the Cubs in 2011 (.309/.348/.467 in 266 PA).
But then there's this 2008 play:
And this one from 2009:
And this one from 2011:
(Click the links if the video embeds aren't working. Sometimes they don't.)
And then you realize why Reed Johnson has become such a favorite among Cubs fans, even though he's no All-Star. He gives 100% with every play. He's got a reputation as a good clubhouse guy, and he appears to truly enjoy playing the game. His numbers are good enough (particularly his lifetime marks vs. LHP, .311/.369/.464) to make him a useful spare-part player.
And so, a minor signing becomes something to recognize, even briefly, as ReJo heads into the last year or two of his career (he's 35).