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Rays sign Kelly Johnson to one-year deal

Jan 28, 2013, 11:19 AM EST

Kelly Johnson AP

Kelly Johnson has agreed to a one-year contract with the Rays, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

Johnson was very productive early in his career, posting an .800 OPS through age 28, but now he’s 31 years old and hit just .223 with a .698 OPS in 289 games during the past two seasons.

He does have 20-homer power, 15-steal speed, and good plate discipline, which is a combination that makes him worth a flier for Tampa Bay as they try to add some pop to the lineup on a budget, but Johnson isn’t much of a defender at second base and may end up playing mostly in the outfield if the Rays decide they’d rather keep Ben Zobrist as an infielder.

Either way, the Rays love power, patience, and positional flexibility, so Johnson is an interesting pickup. And if he doesn’t play well Tampa Bay can easily push him aside once top prospect Wil Myers is deemed ready.

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