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Yankees sign one-year contract with Kelly Johnson

Dec 4, 2013, 10:18 PM EDT

kelly johnson getty Getty Images

From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Yankees have agreed to a one-year contract with utilityman Kelly Johnson. It’s believed to be worth about $3 million and is only pending a physical.

Johnson, who can play third base, second base and some corner outfield, batted .235/.305/.410 with 16 home runs and 52 RBI in 118 games this past season for the Rays. He can provide insurance for the Yankees at multiple positions of current need.

Johnson is a .253/.335/.427 career hitter at the major league level. He averages 19 homers per 162 games, but plate discipline is an issue.

  1. phillysports1 - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    C’mon SEATTLE Cano is waiting on your call .

  2. Ben - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    Baby Braves unite!

    • bravojawja - Dec 5, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      Ladies and gentlemen – your Kansas City Yankees!

  3. uyf1950 - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    Good insurance signing in case Cano bolts. I love it that Cashman and the Yankees ownership are not sitting on their thumbs waiting for Cano to make up his mind if he wants to join a list of Yankee icons OR if he intends to fade into obscurity by going to Seattle as some reports might have you believe.

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 5, 2013 at 6:51 AM

      Good luck. I have seen him play second base on a regular basis and was not overly impressed.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 5, 2013 at 7:09 AM

        He’s better than Nunez and as insurance that’s all I care about for now. I still think there is at least a 50/50 chance Cano re-signs with the Yankees. The Yankees offer is still out there and no other team as far as I know has made an actual offer to Cano. Despite the “rumors” to the contrary about the Mariners.

        Thanks for the “good luck” wish, my friend.

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 5, 2013 at 7:21 AM

        Infante would be better.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 5, 2013 at 7:42 AM

        @ proudleycanadian, yes he would be and he would cost about 3 times as much. He still might be an option if Cano bolts. I’ll take this signing in the meantime though, then lets see what happens.

      • deathmonkey41 - Dec 5, 2013 at 8:39 AM

        You also have to remember that 3rd base might be open for the Yankees too. That could be what the Johnson signing was for…

    • 18thstreet - Dec 5, 2013 at 8:14 AM

      Yes, the obscurity of playing in the city no one has ever heard of, Seapple. He might as well be playing in the lost city of Atlantis. We’d never hear from him again.

  4. tfbuckfutter - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    The plan is still to sign Cano.

    And Cruz. And Choo. And Granderson. And Napoli. And Drew. And Morales. And Infante. And Uribe.

    If there aren’t enough players on other teams they won’t have to actually play any games and risk losing.

    They win by default!


  5. phillysports1 - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    Lmao ^

  6. yournuts - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Phillysports1, what are you laughing about? Should I read off your crazy contracts? How is that working out?

  7. rhmurphy - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    Batting average is the issue, not plate discipline. If he hit just .273, that’s a .355 OBP, better career than Ellsbury.

    • paperlions - Dec 5, 2013 at 7:42 AM

      BA, per se, isn’t the issue.

      His discipline is below average (O-swing % over the last 3 years is 91st out of 226), but mostly he has contact issues, ranking 202nd out of 226 in Z-contact %). Guys that can’t make contact always have issues maintaining a decent OBP because they are too reliant on luck.

      • rhmurphy - Dec 5, 2013 at 8:42 PM

        So you can call it whatever you want, but the dude works counts. The .335 is what it is because of the contact, not a lack of discipline to get into deep counts and take walks, which is what I would think plate discipline means.

  8. dcarroll73 - Dec 5, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    This gives them lots of flexibility – another very nice signing. If the arbitrator applies the contract provisions and not MLB’s delusions, A-rod should get at most a 50-game suspension. Jeter will need to take more time off and more DH days. If the Yanks still sign Cano, this all fits together. If that doesn’t happen or if A-rod gets smacked, they will still need another infield piece. I would love to have Cano at a reasonable length and price.
    … not to mention that Yankee pitching is still a big question mark.

    • 18thstreet - Dec 5, 2013 at 8:18 AM

      Soriano is the full-time DH, isn’t he? Under what circumstances is Jeter a better option at DH than Soriano or Wells?

      And I have all the respect in the world for Derek Jeter.

      • deathmonkey41 - Dec 5, 2013 at 9:17 AM

        He played mostly LF last year. Not sure what happens now that Ellsbury is in the mix. I think they’d rather have him or Gardner patrolling the outfield than Soriano.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 5, 2013 at 10:40 AM

        Seems like Ellsbury is the centerfielder for the next four years, until he moves to left. Gardner is the leftfielder in 2014 (and a free agent thereafter) who will play center when Ellsbury gets a day off. (Since they’re both left-handed hitters, I can’t imagine there will be any pattern to it.)

        Soriano is a righty and needed in the middle of the lineup for 2014 (and a free agent thereafter), given that McCann is a lefty (as is Cano).

        On most days, I’d expect to see
        (1) Ellsbury, CF
        (2) Jeter, SS
        (3) McCann, C
        (4) Soriano, DH
        (5) Teixeira, 1B
        (6) Someone, 3B
        (7) Infante, 2B
        (8) Ichiro, RF
        (9) Gardner, LF

        It’s a lineup that will struggle (relatively) against lefties, which I think is why Cano is gone and I’ve penciled in Infante at second.

        On further reflection, I guess it’s likely that Jeter starts at DH against some lefties, with Soriano moving to left (and Ellsbury or Gardner sits). In 2015, the Yankees will need replacements in left and right fields, at first base or DH (depending on Teixeira), at shortstop (presuming Jeter retires). They’re really building quite the new empire over there in the Bronx, aren’t they?

      • uyf1950 - Dec 5, 2013 at 11:27 AM

        @ 18thstreet, no doubt there will be work to be done by the Yankees for the 2015 season. But if the early part of this off season should have taught us anything about the Yankees and the Steinbrenner Family they will not shy away from doing what needs to be done at least that’s my impression.

        BTW, have you looked at your own Red Sox house for the 2015 season as it stands right now?
        Lester, Dempster and Peavy are all free agents. Peavy does have a $15MM player option. 1st base as it stands right now is open. Both catchers are free agents. The outfield has to be considered a question mark in 2015 as it stands now. Gomes is a free agent, Unless you consider Jackie Bradley a lock for CF that’s a question mark as well as it stands now. about the only outfield position that isn’t in question of Victorino’s spot. Then there is the bullpen your soon to be 39 year old closer is a free agent in 2015 as is Miller I believe.

        My point the Yankees are not the only team with some work to do for the 2015 season. Believe me if you think Middleborrks, Bogaerts, Bradley and 2 unproven catchers currently in the minors along with who knows to fill potentially those vacant starting pitching spots and closer position are all going to assume the mantle of full time starters for the Red Sox I think you may be in for a surprise. At least that’s my opinion.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 5, 2013 at 12:26 PM

        I’m not worried about the starting pitching. By 2015, the Red Sox will have a better sense of which of their pitching prospects are going to pan out. It’s such a crapshoot, but the Sox have a plethora of players who are probably good enough to be 5th starters right now — Webster, Workman, Tazawa — plus a slew of guys in AAA, like Owens, Barnes, Ranaudo, and maybe Drake Britton. Most of them aren’t going to pan out. That’s how it works. But if NONE of them do, then there’s a lot of people who are wrong about how good they are.

        The thing I worry about, looking toward 2015 and beyond, is where the power hitting comes from. If Middlebrooks comes back, then I’m less worried. But I don’t think Middlebrooks is going to be the 30-home guy he looked like.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 5, 2013 at 12:34 PM

        Totally agree about the catchers, UYF1950. The Sox front office is obviously confident in them, but the chances that BOTH of them pan out seems very unlikely. Player development isn’t that easy.

        I think Saltalamacchia’s contract is the biggest surprise of the offseason for me. I can’t believe the Red Sox didn’t think he’s worth $21 million over three years. Seems like a bargain. But clearly the Red Sox think he’s not.

      • deathmonkey41 - Dec 5, 2013 at 12:07 PM

        18thstreet- “the Yankees will need replacements in left and right fields, at first base or DH (depending on Teixeira),”

        Honestly- I think Tex is one of the reasons they signed McCann. I think they know McCann doesn’t have much time left at catcher, so the move to 1st Base/DH seems likely. Tex, at this point, looks done. Another victim of Kevin Long’s “Pull everything and don’t worry if you strike out a boatload of times” philosophy.

  9. paperlions - Dec 5, 2013 at 7:43 AM

    Johnson is a bench bat signing, nothing more. Not a horrible guy to have on your bench, but there is a reason he is taking a 1-year $3M contract.

    • deathmonkey41 - Dec 5, 2013 at 9:19 AM

      He’ll barely be able to afford to feed Lutrell Spreewell’s family with that measly contract!

  10. nymets4ever - Dec 5, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    Enjoy your new starting 2B Yankee fans…..Lmao…..

    • uyf1950 - Dec 5, 2013 at 11:00 AM

      @ nymets4ever, if your moniker is a clever way to indicate that you have been a Mets fan forever, then you have my sympathy. I hope you enjoy their mediocre performance for the “foreseeable” future.

      • nymets4ever - Dec 5, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        …um…why yes, I am a diehard Mets fan, and I have been one as long as I remember and will always continue to be, which is exactly what my username indicates. Not sure why/how you think I’m trying to be “clever” about it. Though I guess the concept of being a diehard, unconditional fan of a team is a foreign concept to most Yankee fans.

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