Blue Jays sign veteran Johnson to Minors deal
First baseman's contract includes invitation to Spring Training
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays added some organizational depth on Friday morning by signing free-agent first baseman Dan Johnson to a Minor League deal.
Johnson spent the vast majority of the 2013 season playing for Triple-A Scranton in the Yankees' system. He also appeared in three games at the big league level with Baltimore following a trade on Aug. 30.
The 34-year-old Johnson hit .253 with 21 homers and 69 RBIs in 133 games for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last season. Johnson has a career .236 average with a respectable .337 on-base percentage, and he has posted a .747 on-base plus slugging percentage over the course of his eight years in the big leagues.
Johnson has also played in games for Oakland and the White Sox. He has 56 homers and 194 RBIs in 416 career games but hasn't been a regular at the big league level since 2007.
The native of Minnesota is likely best known for his pinch-hit home run for the Rays on the final day of the 2011 regular season. Tampa Bay was down to its last out in the bottom of the ninth, about to be eliminated from postseason contention, when Johnson hit a dramatic homer to tie the game and set the stage for Evan Longoria's 12th-inning walk-off homer. With the win and a Red Sox loss, the Rays were able to sneak into the playoffs instead of Boston.
Johnson, who likely will begin next season with Triple-A Buffalo, also received an invitation to Spring Training as part of his deal with Toronto. The signing comes four days after the club signed infielder Jonathan Diaz and right-handers Michael Broadway and Marcus Walden to Minor League deals.