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Indians sign infielder Elliot Johnson

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The Indians had another player to compete for the 25th spot on the roster

Kevin C. Cox

The Indians have signed Elliot Johnson to a Minor League deal with a spring training invitation.

Johnson is a 29-year-old infielder who's spent time at both shortstop and second base over the last three years. He came up through the Rays system and was a part-time player for them in 2011 and 2012, and then found himself with the Royals last offseason when he was chosen as the "player to be named later" in the James Shields/Wil Myers trade.

Johnson posted a brutal .179/.218/.241 line in 79 games with Kansas City last season, which led to him being waived, after which the Braves picked him up. He did better in 32 games with Atlanta, and was their starting second baseman for the NLDS in October.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA H HR SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2008 24 TBR AL 7 19 3 0 0 1 0 7 .158 .158 .158 .316 -16
2011 27 TBR AL 70 181 31 4 6 7 14 53 .194 .257 .338 .595 67
2012 28 TBR AL 123 331 72 6 18 6 24 84 .242 .304 .350 .654 84
2013 29 TOT MLB 111 275 53 2 22 2 16 67 .209 .255 .283 .538 47
4 Yrs 311 806 159 12 46 16 54 211 .218 .273 .319 .592 65

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com

Johnson is a pretty good defensive second baseman, and a solid runner, but with such little production at the plate, it's hard to envision him making the 25-man roster, and with so many solid middle-infield prospects in the farm system, it's hard to see him starting in the minors either. This is a risk-free signing, but still a bit strange to me.

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