The Tampa Bay Rays continued their free agent signing spree Monday, agreeing with second baseman Kelly Johnson for a one-year deal. Johnson, 30, has posted a .255/.338/.429 career line during his seven seasons in the majors with Atlanta, Arizona, and Toronto.
He had an excellent season in 2010 with the Diamondbacks, posting a .378 wOBA with 26 homers and 71 RBI, as well as a UZR of 7.1. Unfortunately, however, he’s seen a decline over the past two years. Johnson hit for a wOBA of just .299 while performing poorly defensively as well, posting a low -6.9 UZR last season with the Blue Jays.
So how does Tampa’s latest acquisition effect the roster?
Johnson would presumably start at second base to return to his 2011/2012 double-play combination with Yunel Escobar, which means Ben Zobrist will be the team’s starting right fielder. However, Ken Rosenthal reports that Zobrist will still play “a lot” at second and Johnson will likely fill in at the corner outfield positions at times.
Although Johnson is a left-handed batter, he hits lefties just as well as righties, making an interesting and unclear situation at second with Ryan Roberts and Sean Rodriguez still on the roster. One assumption we can make from this signing, though, is that Wil Myers will most likely start the year with Triple-A Durham.
Rays News and Notes:
- Here’s Johnson’s first reaction to joining to the team.
- Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections for the Rays have been released over at FanGraphs.com.
- Jason Hanselman has some good articles recently over at his rejuvenated Dock of the Rays site.
- Baseball America released their annual organization prospect rankings, and had the Rays fourth in overall talent. They also ranked the Rays’ top 10 prospects.
- DRaysBay.com has completed their writers’ top 30 prospect rankings for 2013.
- Shadow of Stadium’s Twitter account had plenty of interesting Rays stadium updates today.