With Spring Training underway, the Baltimore Orioles announced they have signed INF Chris Johnson on a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.
The Baltimore Orioles announced this morning they have signed INF Chris Johnson to a minor-league deal. The contract includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
Johnson spent the 2016 season with the Miami Marlins after signing a one-year deal to be a platoon for first baseman Justin Bour. Johnson signing with the Marlins seemed like a perfect fit, especially since Johnson hit .314/.350/.436 against left-handed pitching in his career.
Unfortunately, Johnson uncharacteristically struggled against southpaws in 2016, hitting only .212/.284/.333.
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The Atlanta Braves originally signed Johnson to a three-year, $23.5 Million contract extension after an impressive 2013 season. Unfortunately, he took a huge step back during the 2014 season and was traded to the Cleveland Indians. The Indians recieved a pair of bad contracts in return after acquiring Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher in the deal.
Johnson will most likely head to Triple-A Norfolk after Spring Training, but he’s still going to get Major League money. The Cleveland Indians are on the hook for $9 Million for the final year of the guaranteed contract. If Johnson makes the Orioles Major League roster out of Spring Training, the Indians would only owe him for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum, and that would be subtracted from Cleveland’s obligatory pay to Johnson.
The signing of Johnson provides more infield depth for the Orioles at the Triple-A level. If he starts the season in Triple-A, the team will start Johnson at third base. Robert Andino would be the Triple-A shortstop, Johnny Giavotella will start at second and David Washington could get the call to play first if Trey Mancini breaks camp with the Orioles.