NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Yankees have agreed to sign infielder/outfielder Kelly Johnston to a one-year deal in the $3 million range pending a physical, WFAN/CBS Sports baseball insider John Heyman reports.
CBS Sports reports Johnson has been signed either to play second or third base. He will play third base if Alex Rodriguez opens the season suspended, and second base if Robinson Cano walks via free agency, CBS Sports reported.
If both happen, the Yankees will have to find another option for one of the two spots, CBS Sports reported.
“If somehow A-Rod avoid any type of suspension — which, honestly, doesn’t seem the least bit realistic — and the Yankees retain Cano, Johnson will be thrust into a utility role,” CBSSports.com’s Matt Snyder wrote. “Essentially, the smart money is on Johnson starting for the Yankees — and my guess would be at third base.”
Johnson, 31, is a career .253 hitter with some pop, amassing 124 home runs and 442 RBI in eight seasons with Atlanta, Arizona, Toronto and Tampa Bay. During the 2013 season with the Rays, Johnson hit .235 with 16 homers and 52 RBI in 114 games.
The interest in Johnson became necessary when the Yankees started to sense that the negotiations with Cano were going to be prolonged. The sides are still far apart, with the Yankees reportedly offering seven years for up to $175 million and Cano demanding nine years for around $250 million.
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