But with Alex Rodriguez suspended for the entire season and Robinson Cano swimming in a pool of money in Seattle, the team still has question marks in the infield. So as it stands right now, one of the most important free agent signings could be Kelly Johnson.
Johnson will be 32 this season, has been in the league since 2005 and is known for his above average power for a middle infielder. He had 16 home runs for the second straight year last year and has had at least that many in four straight seasons.
While he had just seven stolen bases last year, he did so on the Tampa Bay Rays, a team notoriously against running. He had a total of 43 steals in the previous three seasons, so he does have some speed.
Obviously, there’s a reason he was only worth $3 million and not more. Johnson has just a .253 career average and .335 OBP. He’s not going to get on base a ton, and he strikes out a lot. He whiffed 24.3 percent of the time last season and has a 22.2 K% for his career. On the other end, his defensive metrics are decent, yet unspectacular, as he’s certainly nowhere near a Cano at second base.
But where Johnson may come in handy the most is his versatility. He’ll likely spend most of his time at second, but he can also play outfield if some of the veterans need rest out there and has played some third base in his career.
The Yankees signed Brian Roberts as well, but the 36-year old has managed to play just 192 games in the last four seasons. Even if he does manage to stay healthy, he’s not an every day second baseman at this point.
Just seven second baseman hit more home runs than Johnson last year, so to have that kind of pop at the bottom of an already impressive lineup will certainly come in handy.
Johnson has the most experience and biggest resume of any of the second base options on the Yankees, so the prospect of him being an every day player shouldn’t be surprising. Given his likely nod as the starting second baseman and ability to play other positions, Yankee fans should get used to seeing a lot of Kelly Johnson this year.