Tampa Bay Rays Sign Kelly Johnson

Is keeping double play combos together the new market inefficiency? - Greg Fiume

The Rays have signed second baseman Kelly Johnson, according to Ken Rosenthal.

The Tampa Bay Rays have signed free agent second baseman Kelly Johnson, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The 31 year old second baseman is coming off of a pretty bad year in Toronto that saw him strike out 27.4% of the time. His strikeouts have been trending upward the last couple years, and he owns a career mark of 22%. It's a worrisome trend, but Johnson is still an intriguing player. He posted a 5+ fWAR player just three years ago.

Last year, though, he was essentially replacement level, as along with his strikeout woes, both UZR and the Toronto fans hated his second base defense. Rosenthal reports that he may play some left field. The only other time he's done so was 2005 in Atlanta, and in 600 innings UZR thought he was well above average, although I have to imagine much of his speed is gone at this point and that Zobrist is more likely to spend time in the outfield than Johnson is.

Johnson, a left handed bat, carried a mid-sized split last year, but that was mostly BABIP driven. Over his career he actually owns a slight reverse split, so I'd be surprised if Friedman intends for him to be used as a strict platoon. It's unclear to me what this means for the more conventional platoon players Sean Rodriguez and Ryan Roberts. It is a pretty clear sign that Wil Myers will be starting the season in AAA Durham.

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