Yankees News & Notes: Club signs Dan Johnson, Pettitte may still be added to Team USA


The New York Yankees signed first baseman Dan Johnson, of Tampa Bay Rays fame, to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training. The lefty hitter will look to secure a spot on the team as the club’s primary DH against righthanded pitching. Meanwhile, Team USA’s manager for the upcoming World Baseball Classic recently said that Andy Pettitte still might pitch for the club, but Torre was unsure.

Will he or won’t he play in the WBC? (Image: Noah K. Murray/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports)

Dan Johnson signed a minor league contract that will pay him $900,000 if he makes the team out of Spring Training, according to WFAN’s Sweeny Murti. The left-handed DH spot is currently vacant, with the departure of Raul Ibanez. So, Johnson will have every opportunity to make the club. A quick look at his numbers reveals he’s a career .237/.338/.412 (102 wRC+) hitter, and doesn’t show much of split (103 wRC+ against lefties vs. 102 wRC+ against righties). On a show-me kind of contract, this isn’t a bad deal at all.

In other news, Pettitte’s immediate future with Team USA is still uncertain. First, he was going to pitch, then he decided not to, and now according to David Waldstein of the New York Times, Team USA manager, Joe Torre, said he’s unsure if Pettitte will pitch for the team.

"“We’ve had some clubs express concerns about their team, and of course the Yankees did that,” Torre said. “Last thing I want to do is make the player or the pitcher uncomfortable. We’re thinking about it and talking about it.”"

Personally, I don’t mind if Pettitte skips the WBC. Being north of age 40, I’d much rather have him fresh for the upcoming season. Although teams can’t forbid players from playing in the tournament unless they’re injured, they can sure make strong hints toward the player to not participate. With the roster deadline set at Feburary 20, I think this is the Yankees “strong hint” toward Pettitte.

Discussion Points:

  • Does Dan Johnson make it on the Yankees Opening Day roster?
  • Do you want Andy Pettitte pitching in the WBC? Why or why not?