Not only are the New York Yankees putting pressure on Robinson Cano by signing Jacoby Ellsbury, they signed a player who is capable of playing his position. The Yankees are close to a one year deal for between $2.75 and $3 million with Kelly Johnson.
#Yankees close to signing Kelly Johnson to a 1-yr about $2.75-3M. Plan is to play a lot around diamond, potential 2b option if Cano leaves
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 4, 2013
Johnson last year played for Tampa Bay where he had a .235/.305/.410 line with 16 homers and 52 RBI in 116 games. The Yankees plan is to move Johnson all over the diamond while still retaining Cano. Johnson can play first, second, third and in the outfield.
Johnson certainly has some pop in his bat and is left-handed which will play well at Yankee stadium. Johnson will turn 32 in February. There is no such thing as a bad one-year deal.
I think this deal means that the Yankees are out on Omar Infante. I think if Cano goes to Seattle, they may platoon Johnson with Eduardo Nunez at second next year. Johnson did hit .291 against lefties, however, it was only in 91 plate appearances.
Johnson made $2.45 million in 2013, so it will be a bit of a raise for him.
Now it all comes down to Cano. Will Johnson be a guy who plays third while Alex Rodriguez (if not suspended) DH’s? Will he play right field when Alfonso Soriano gets a day off? Or will he be close to the everyday second baseman. The ball and Johnson’s role on the Yankees is in Cano’s court.