According to reports, the Baltimore Orioles roster regained infielder Chris Johnson on a minor league deal.
The Baltimore Orioles roster continues to go through adjustments as the team prepares for the 2017 Orioles Opening Day.
According to MASN’s Roch Kubatko, the Baltimore Orioles re-signed corner infielder Chris Johnson to a minor league contract. Kubatko also revealed that Johnson is headed to the AAA Norfolk Tides.
The 32-year-old Johnson became a free agent on Nov. 3 after playing 113 games with the Miami Marlins in 2016, hitting .222/.281/.329 with five home runs and 24 RBIs.
Throughout his career, Johnson played for a handful of teams starting with the Houston Astros for three plus years before being traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a deal that sent him and Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves. After two productive seasons with the Braves, Johnson was traded once again, this time to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher.
Johnson was released by season’s end in 2015 before signing with the Miami Marlins where he rejuvenated his career where he went from playing just 27 games in 2015 to 113 games played in 2016.
Johnson put up solid numbers this spring training with the Orioles slashing .269/.310/.493 in 67 at-bats, along with three homers and 11 RBIs. However, with superstar third baseman Manny Machado and first baseman Chris Davis anchoring the corners, Johnson will likely serve just as an injury replacement in 2017 with the Orioles.
Nonetheless, if Orioles infielder Ryan Flaherty gets off to a slow start in 2017 and shows signs of slumping, Johnson may quickly overtake his utility role.
Here is a look at both Flaherty and Johnson’s batting average throughout the year:
Johnson has stayed above or just at the league average throughout his career except for last season where he hit just .222 with the Marlins. However, Flaherty has remained well below the league’s batting average throughout his entire career.
It’ll be interesting to see how this unfolds as the Orioles begin the season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Apr 3 at 3:05 p.m. ET against the Toronto Blue Jays.