PHOENIX -- Just five days after trading third baseman Ryan Roberts to the Rays, the D-backs again altered their arsenal at the hot corner on Sunday, acquiring Chris Johnson from the Astros in exchange for Minor League outfielders Marc Krauss and Bobby Borchering.Johnson hit .279 with 21 doubles, eight homers and 41 RBIs in 92 games with the Astros this season. The 27-year-old has been especially hot of late, batting .429 in his last nine contests. "A lot of people talk about his similarity to [Padres third baseman Chase] Headley, except he's not a switch-hitter," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's had a pretty good season and he's still fairly young. We see a lot of potential in him." Entering Sunday, D-backs third basemen had combined to hit .230 this season with an on-base percentage of .285 while slugging .346. Johnson boasts a .329 OBP and a .428 slugging percentage. "He's got some good power, he's got some good offensive skills and he can really play the position at third base -- real strong arm, good defender and he's young," said D-backs president Derrick Hall during a booth interview in Sunday's broadcast on FSN Arizona.
The D-backs have control of Johnson through 2017, with the right-handed batter not eligible for arbitration until '14."It's not just acquiring a third baseman for the short term, it's someone we think that, with Ryan Wheeler, could be a good combination for us going forward," D-backs executive vice president and general manager Kevin Towers said. "I think coming to a contender will energize him, I'm sure it was tough over there the last couple years. He's a dangerous bat and I think the change of scenery will be welcomed for someone like him." A week ago at Chase Field, Johnson was 5-for-13 over the three-game series with two RBIs. The D-backs swept that series from the Astros but Johnson evidently caught the club's eye. "Chris Johnson is someone Kevin and his staff have looked at for a while," Hall said. "When he was here playing you could see the talent is there. He's a young player who has very good numbers."
Johnson will report to the D-backs on Monday when the club opens up a three-game series in Los Angeles with the Dodgers. The team hasn't made a corresponding roster move yet, but will sometime Monday afternoon.
"It'll be tough, we really like all the people who are here," Towers said. "But we'll make that decision tomorrow."The Astros pulled Johnson from their lineup Sunday and manager Brad Mills broke the news to his player shortly after. "I'm excited to go over there, they have a good ballclub," Johnson said. "I'm going to try to do my best to go about my business the exact same way I have here. I'm assuming that's why they traded for me and that's what they want me to do. I'm just going to try to go over there and do what I can to help them." Houston selected Johnson out of high school in the fourth round of the 2006 Draft, and he made his Major League debut on Sept. 9, 2009. "It was pretty emotional in the room when I got called in," Johnson said. "This is all I've known since 2006, when I was drafted. I called this place home. I moved here. It's definitely tough, but that's the way the game goes. I'm excited to move on to the Arizona Diamondbacks." Borchering, a 21-year-old selected by the D-backs 16th overall in the 2009 Draft, entered the season ranked by MLB.com as the D-backs' 11th best prospect. He put up big power numbers in the hitter-friendly California League in 2011 and the first half of this season, but after his promotion to Double-A Mobile, Borchering hit just .130 in 21 games. Krauss, whom the D-backs selected 64th overall in 2009, was ranked the 20th best prospect in the organization. The 24-year-old outfielder was also at Double-A Mobile, batting .283 with 29 doubles, 15 home runs and 61 RBIs in 104 games this season.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.