This week, LSU infielder Zach Arnold entered the NCAA transfer portal, marking the roster altering move of the Tigers baseball program under Jay Johnson.
It was expected that with a new coaching staff, there would be a fair bit of roster reconstruction. That comes with the territory, though Johnson made it a point to say that Arnold could very well be back with the team.
“It was more of a logistical thing than anything else,” Johnson said Wednesday on 104.5 ESPN in Baton Rouge. “There’s a chance Zach could end up on our team next year. It just was with the July 1 deadline, us working through some scholarship issues to try manage this thing and get it to 11.7 (scholarships) and have the best team we possibly can.”
Arnold batted .277 with seven home runs and 26 RBI for the Tigers last season and showed some major strides towards end of the 2021 campaign. But with those 11.7 scholarships that Johnson mentioned, there's a strong indication that Johnson is preparing for a big addition to the roster.
Just last week, Arizona freshman All-American Jacob Berry entered his name in the NCAA Transfer Portal and there's a chance he could wind up in Baton Rouge with Johnson. Berry is coming off a season where he batted .352 with 17 home runs and 70 RBI for the Wildcats and would without a doubt bring an offensive punch to this group.
There will continue to be roster movement over the next several weeks as the MLB draft comes and goes and recruits elect to sign professionally or come to school. The same can be said for LSU upperclassmen with eligibility left who may want to return to school depending on where they fall in the draft.
"I do invest in the players and I do invest in the relationships and I invest in their process to be good," Johnson said. "I want to be fair. I want to give players an opportunity to figure out what is the best opportunity for them. There's been a lot of communication, figuring out scholarships, roster, all of those types of things. I've spent a lot of time in doing that."