When he was non-tendered by the Atlanta Braves earlier in the off-season, it seemed exceedingly likely that free agent infielder Elliot Johnson was sign on with a team. It took a little longer than expected, but Johnson has found a new home.
#Indians have signed INF Elliot Johnson to minor league deal w/ invite to Major League Spring Training
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) January 27, 2014
The 29-year-old Johnson served as a utility man in his limited stay with Atlanta, and he appeared in 32 games for the Braves with 102 plate appearances. Somehow, Johnson became the starting second baseman for the Braves down the stretch (hello, Dan Uggla!) and he produced a respectable .261/.317/.359 slash line with good speed (8 stolen bases in 10 attempts). Prior to his stint in Atlanta, Johnson spent more than 2 full seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, and his most impressive statistical performance is having 46 stolen bases in only 806 career plate appearances.
In Cleveland, it’s important to note that Johnson isn’t guaranteed anything but an invite to Spring Training. Still, he brings a unique versatility to the table, having played multiple infield and outfield positions, and every team can use some speed off the bench. Johnson likely won’t hit at anything more than an average rate, but there’s value there if Cleveland keeps him around.