The Texas Rangers have added some infield depth, signing the versatile Elliot Johnson to a minor-league deal with an invitation to major league Spring Training, per a club announcement. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman adds that Johnson will make a base salary of $900,000 if he makes the big league roster.
With the recent news that Jurickson Profar will miss all of the 2015 season after undergoing surgery for a torn labrum, Johnson provides the Rangers with some much-needed depth. However, his odds of making the Opening Day roster still appear to be long. The Rangers are currently slated to run out Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor at shortstop and second base, respectively, with Adrian Beltre at third and Adam Rosales projected to be the utility infielder. At the moment, Johnson figures to be among the first players called up in the event of an injury up the middle.
He could also prove to be a factor in the outfield, as he played 57 games there at Triple-A last season. However, he seems to be much further down that depth chart, with Nate Schierholtz, Delino DeShields Jr, Michael Choice, and Ryan Ludwick all more appealing reserve options behind the starting trio of Shin-Soo Choo, Leonys Martin, and Jake Smolinski
Nearly 31, Johnson is capable of playing all around the diamond, spending time at every position at the big league level sans pitcher and catcher, though a majority of his work has come at shortstop and second base. A five-year big league veteran, Johnson has spent his career with the Rays, Royals, Braves, and Indians. He is a career .215/.269/.316 hitter in 826 plate appearances, accruing a 2.0 WAR. Last season, Johnson played in just seven games, all with the Indians, hitting .105/.105/.211 in 20 plate appearances. He also hit .236/.326/.366 in 87 games at Triple-A Columbus.