D-backs near one-year deal with Johnson
Former Brave could be Arizona's second baseman in 2010
PHOENIX -- There are still some final details to be worked out, and a physical to be taken, but the D-backs are on the verge of signing free agent Kelly Johnson.
The deal would be for one year at a little more than $2 million.
Johnson is a guy that the D-backs have discussed off and on with the Braves since Josh Byrnes became GM in the fall of 2005.
Johnson hit .224 with eight homers and 29 RBIs last season for Atlanta and was not offered arbitration earlier this month, making him a free agent.
A left-handed hitter, Johnson has actually hit better against lefties than he has against righties in his career. Based on advanced metrics like batting average on balls put in play, there is some reason to believe that he is an excellent candidate for a rebound season after struggling last year.
If Johnson gets the starting nod at second, which seems likely, the D-backs could shift Tony Abreu into a utility infield role. That would make infielder Augie Ojeda expendable. The team learned during the Winter Meetings that there is interest in Ojeda, so moving him would probably not be a problem.
The D-backs could also elect to keep Ojeda initially and give Abreu more seasoning at the Triple-A level.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.