Back on December 22nd, the Mets added depth to their catching depth to their minor league system with Rob Johnson. The signing isn’t a move to push out Thole, or even Nickeas, but rather a support for the Mets as a possible third string option. Catching is that one position that during the season will dip into the third or forth string player, so it is always a good idea to look at who that player could end up being.
Johnson broke into the majors at the age of 27 with the Mariners. He was on the Mariners roster from 2007 through 2010. In the offseason before 2011, he was traded to the Padres. He is not going to wow anyone with offense, boasting an average of .197 and OBP of .275. The 2008 season would probably be his best season with the bat as he turned in his most amount of games behind the plate (80 games) with an average of .213. Last season he caught 67 games with a batting average of .190.
The Mets are intrigued by his catching ERA. In 2009 he led all catchers with a 3.22 ERA.
He also succeeds at throwing out batters. Back in 2010 he was 4th in the American League tossing out 35% of runners.
It’s obvious that Johnson is not a player that is going to turn heads in the organization, but his ability to call games does make him a viable 3rd of 4th string catcher and makes him a good guy for the young pitchers to throw to in the Minor Leagues.