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Cubs' Johnson an underrated trade chip

7/28/2012

CHICAGO -- Winning a ballgame with a two-out bunt single – as Reed Johnson did in the Cubs’ 3-2 over the Cardinals on Saturday – is really the tip of the iceberg when evaluating the veteran outfielder.

Johnson, known throughout the game as this generation’s “Charlie Hustle,” showcased his baseball acumen one more time for scouts. And teams looking for an extra man who can help a club advance to the playoffs certainly should take notice.

While many teams are looking for impact pitching and hitting help, the smart clubs are trying to add winning players like Johnson. The 35-year-old outfielder’s pinch-hit bunt single in the seventh inning on Saturday scored Tony Campana with what would be the deciding run.

“That was all on his own,” Dale Sveum said. “Reed is one of those baseball players that has those kinds of things in his tool box. He is one of those guys who gets picked up now or even after the deadline because he is a valuable guy to a team that is vying for a championship.”

Johnson, who is in his second tour of duty with the Cubs, has never been traded, but he anticipates a possible move coming soon.

“I guess you would always be shocked but where we are at now every player in here hears the rumors,” Johnson said. “I don’t really pay too much attention to them because I have always had rumors over my 10-year career and never been traded.”

Johnson has the reputation as a real good corner outfielder who will somehow always make the big play on offense or defense with the game on the line.

“It is a situation for me where when you are packing your stuff that’s when you believe you are headed someplace else,” he said.