Baltimore Orioles: Orioles sign INF Chris Johnson to minor-league deal
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.
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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.