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New York Yankees Close to Signing Tampa Bay Rays’ Kelly Johnson to 1-Year Deal: Report

December 4th, 2013 at 1:31 AM
By Doug Rush

The New York Yankees already made headlines on Tuesday night when they landed Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury on a seven year, $153 million deal to become the team's new center fielder and potentially, sending Brett Gardner out of town.

A few hours after making perhaps one of the biggest splashes of the winter, the Yankees then made another move to add depth and some insurance to the roster, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Yankees are closing in on signing Tampa Bay Rays infielder Kelly Johnson on a one-year deal.

"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," he tweeted.

The 31-year-old Johnson hit .235 with 16 home runs and 52 RBI  in 118 games for the Rays last season playing all four infield positions plus left field, which means he just added some versatility to the team and can be a super-sub and play almost everyday if needed.

While the Yankees are trying to re-sign second basemen Robinson Cano, if he were somehow to leave in free agency, Johnson provides some insurance to the position. He also provides insurance for Alex Rodriguez in case he has to serve a suspension in the 2014 season for his alleged role in the Miami Biogenesis case; a case that he is fighting against.

Aside from playing in Tampa Bay, Johnson has also played with the Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays; so with the Yankees, it will be his third American League East team that he will be playing for in as many seasons. His best season in the majors may have been back in 2010 with Arizona when he hit .284 with 26 home runs and 71 RBI with 13 stolen bases.

Even if Cano does come back to the Yankees, the spot that Johnson has replaced is the one of Jayson Nix; who was non-tendered by the Yankees this week, as he is the same kind of player except he can play the outfield while Nix was strictly an infielder by trade.

Photo creditKeith Allison / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

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Tags: Alex Rodriguez, Baseball, Jayson Nix, Kelly Johnson, MLB, New York, New York Yankees, Robinson Cano, Tampa Bay Rays

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