Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com is reporting that the Rays have reached an agreement with second baseman Kelly Johnson.
Johnson has played seven seasons in the majors, including the 2012 season with the Blue Jays. He hit .225 with a .313 OBP (.299 wOBA) and 16 home runs. Johnson’s best offensive season came in 2010 with the Diamondbacks when he hit .284 with a .370 OBP (.378 wOBA) and 26 home runs. He is generally considered a good defensive second baseman but struggled in 2012.
Johnson is a left-handed batter, but has even splits over his career (.336 OBP/.340 wOBA vs LHP, .339 OBP/.336 wOBA vs RHP).
Rosenthal suggests that Johnson will be used as a utility player. But if he plays well, one has to wonder if Ben Zobrist will become the most-days right fielder and Matt Joyce would then theoretically become part of a left field platoon. It is also further evidence that the Rays expect Wil Myers to be in the minors for a majority of the season.
One other possibility is that the Rays think Johnson can play center field, keeping Desmond Jennings in left field. Johnson has played in the outfield previously and has decent speed.
The move has not yet been announced by the Rays as they will need to remove somebody from the 40-man roster before making the signing official. In fact, the Rays need to drop three players from the 40-man roster to make room for Johnson, Luke Scott, and Kyle Farnsworth.