According to SB Nation's own Chris Cotillo, the Great Pumpkin and legend of Rays folk lore, Dan Johnson has opted out of his minor league deal with the New York Yankees.
Source: #Yankees Dan Johnson opts out of deal at AAA SWB, now a free agent. Will likely get picked up for major league spot in September.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) August 29, 2013
Could it be happening again? I get chills just thinking about it.
Dan Johnson is, simply, the greatest September call up in Rays baseball history.
Often considered to be a Quad-A player, Johnson has nonetheless played a significant role in playoff aspirations for the Tampa Bay Rays on multiple occasions.
Johnson also hit the game-tying home run in 2011's Game 162.
After serving his time as the Rays most clutch home run hitter of all time, albeit in limited appearances, Johnson went out and signed a minor league contract with the White Sox in 2012, and the Yankees in 2013.
Could Johnson return to the Rays for another September playoff push?
The Rays have already done their part to acquire September depth in outfielder David DeJesus (vRHP) and former TB outfielder Delmon Young (vLHP). Short of an injury, there has yet to be a pressing need.
If you're looking for stats to back up where Johnson would fit against these players, you'll be hard pressed. Johnson has only had cups of coffee with teams since playing in a starting role for the Athletics in 2007. The first baseman then accrued only 291 plate appearances before signing a minor league contract with New York.
If you interested in his 2013 minor league numbers -- playing for the minor league Triple-A affiliate, Johnson earned has batted a .375 wOBA with a 133 wRC+ over 559 plate appearances, in spite of a career minor-league low for in play batting average (.264 BAbip).
Even though cost would not be an option, as Johnson would only command a prorated portion of the league minimum, adding Dan Johnson to the roster and promoting him for the playoff push would require removing a player from the 40-man roster, something the Rays have already yet to do to add Delmon Young.
What say you, is there room for Dan Johnson on the September roster?
UPDATE: Aug 30, 2:30 PM
Dan Johnson stayed in the AL East, but signed a minor league contract with Baltimore in stead of the Rays. The Orioles also recently acquired Michael Morse on waivers, so the Great Pumpkin is only insurance.
Oh well, it's nice to reminisce.
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