Forgotten Mets are fun to talk about. These players help to give perspective to certain junctures of Mets history. Last time, a pitcher with a decent reputation was discussed. Before that, a backup catcher with minimal major league experience was the focal point. For the next iteration, a player of the same ilk as the first installment will be talked about. The Mets' forgotten player in 2012 was Rob Johnson.
Johnson was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the fourth round of the 2004 draft, and the Montana native spent the first four seasons of his career with them. The University of Houston product's longest stint in the majors came in 2009, when he played in 80 games and amassed 290 plate appearances with the M's. After appearing in 61 games in 2010, he was designated for assignment by the Mariners on December 13 of that year. The San Diego Padres claimed him for cash considerations eight days later. He hit an uninspiring .190/.259/.285 in 199 plate appearances with the Friars, leading to his release after the season. The Mets signed him to a minor league deal in December 2011.
On May 7, 2012, Mets catcher Josh Thole was involved in a collision with Ty Wigginton of the Philadelphia Phillies, forcing him to go on the 7-day concussion disabled list. In a corresponding move, the Mets called up Rob Johnson to fill in for Thole during his absence.
Johnson played sparingly in his first two weeks with the team. However, it was not what he did behind the plate that was the most noteworthy. An unexpected appearance on the mound was the highlight of his first month with the Mets.
The Mets were experiencing an interleague blowout, on May 18, 2012. The Toronto Blue Jays put up 14 against Jon Niese and the Mets' pitching staff. In a move to avoid wasting a reliever in a meaningless game, manager Terry Collins decided to give Johnson a shot on the rubber.
The catcher threw a scoreless, ten-pitch bottom of the eighth with one strikeout. It seemed as if he was better as a reliever than his intended job. Josh Thole returned on June 1, and Johnson was sent down to the minors.
Johnson's Mets career was not over, however. In a move that was related to the promotion of Matt Harvey, the Mets called up Johnson on July 25. The two played together in Triple-A Buffalo, so this move was made to make the young pitcher's debut as comfortable as possible. Johnson would only spend two more weeks with the big club before being sent down after the acquisition of Kelly Shoppach.
All in all, Rob Johnson hit a ghastly .250/.298/.288 in his short Mets tenure. The most notable moment of his stint with the Mets came on the mound, indicative of the level of his performance (or lack thereof). Prior to the 2013 season, Johnson signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he made another appearance on the hill. He signed a minor league deal with the San Diego Padres in February 2014. He's currently in their organization.
Rob Johnson would have fit the mold of a nondescript, forgettable backup catcher, had he not made an appearance as a pitcher. His one inning of fame gives him a unique distinction in Mets lore. However, it cannot be denied that Rob Johnson is a forgotten Met.