Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 7/29/12
PHOENIX -- The Diamondbacks acquired third baseman Chris Johnson from the Astros on Sunday, bolstering a position that has seen limited production all season. The trade, which was announced early Sunday to explain Johnson's absence from the Astros lineup, sends D-backs minor league outfielders Marc Krauss and Bobby Borchering to Houston. The D-backs drafted Borchering, a 21-yeard old switch hitter, in the first round (16th overall) in 2009 and Krauss, 24, in the second round of the same draft. Johnson, 27, hit .279 with eight homers, 21 doubles and 41 RBIs in 92 games for the Astros this season. For his career, Johnson is batting .274 with a .314 on-base percentage and a .735 OPS. He will join the D-backs in Los Angeles for their three-game series with the Dodgers that begins Monday. D-backs players had only just heard of the trade Sunday morning and could not offer much insight on the impact their new teammate might have, but they seem to recognize that he could provide some much-needed offense from the third-base spot. "He can hit," right fielder Justin Upton said. The D-backs have gotten just 37 runs, a .230 batting average and a .285 on-base percentage from their third basemen this season, all second to last among NL teams. After trading Ryan Roberts to Tampa Bay on Tuesday, the D-backs have been using Willie Bloomquist and rookie Ryan Wheeler in somewhat of a platoon at third. D-backs manager Kirk Gibson also offered somewhat-limited analysis of Johnson, saying he would have a better idea how Johnson fits once they have conversations in the next few days. He did, however, offer a comparison to another third baseman who's been considered highly sought after approaching Tuesday's nonwaiver trade deadline. "He's kind of similar to (Padres third baseman Chase) Headley, except he's not a switch hitter," Gibson said. "He's had a pretty good season, he's still fairly young -- 27 years old. I think we see a lot of potential in him. "We believe he's going to help us obviously, make us a stronger team. There's room for improvement. We like to think if we could plug him into a good environment that he would get even better." Playing in Chase Field could provide a boost for Johnson, who went 5 for 13 with a double and two RBIs here last weekend. Gibson also believes "the positive environment" in the D-backs' clubhouse could make Johnson better, and at minimum, Johnson provides infield depth amid a demanding stretch. The D-backs were playing the 17th game of a 20-game stretch without an off day Sunday against the Mets. Following an off day Thursday, they play a stretch of 23 games with just one off day. "We're a very positive environment, and we'd hope that we could bring more out of him," Gibson said. "We virtually have no off days this next month, so this is big. We're trying to get better, we're trying to get stronger." The D-backs might be done making significant deals ahead of Tuesday's deadline, though acquiring Johnson could give them the flexibility and depth necessary to make another move involving an infielder such as Stephen Drew. D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said Friday that he anticipated being busy through Tuesday's deadline, though he offered no indication anything was imminent. Sunday's deal likely developed over the past few days, as Towers only told Gibson of the possibility Saturday night before finalizing the deal Sunday morning. "KT (Towers) puts tireless hours in evaluating and trying to figure out how we can be better, and obviously this is a move that he's made in context with that," Gibson said. Gibson also said the D-backs would make room for Johnson with a corresponding roster move following Sunday's game.
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