Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Yankees Grab Their Johnson

In a Plan 'B' move the Yankees have come to terms with infielder/left-handed hitter Kelly Johnson on a one-year deal said to be worth between $3MM and $4MM.

In all likelihood, this ends the Yankees pursuit of free agent Omar Infante, though after the contract the Yankees gave Jacoby Ellsbury, who can really tell what the Steinbrenner clan has in mind these days.

Johnson is primarily a second baseman, though he has played over 100 games in the outfield and has minimal third base (16 games) experience. He'll be joining his fourth team in the last four years.

The former 1st round pick (38th overall) of the 2000 MLB Amateur draft, Johnson spent his first four Major League seasons with the team that drafted him, the Atlanta Braves. After back to back solid season in 2007 and 2008, Johnson's OPS plummeted below .700 in 2009 and Atlanta not-tendered him.

He signed a free agent deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks and bounced back in 2010 with 26 home runs and an .865 OPS. Johnson continued to hit home runs a year later, but otherwise struggled at the plate and was dealt to Toronto in August for fellow second baseman Aaron Hill and infielder John McDonald.

Johnson was free to walk after a poor 2012 season and signed a one year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays, with whom he played third base for the first time in the Major Leagues. He continued to hit for power for the Rays, but was average or below average in other categories. Offensively, he is a step up from Jayson Nix, who the Yankees non-tendered on Monday.

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