The Royals today acquired infielder Elliot Johnson from the Tampa Bay Rays as the "player to be named later" in the James Shields/Wil Myers trade from last December. Johnson, who turns 29 in a few weeks, was designated for assignment a week ago by the Rays. He is a very unique player in that he was an American player completely undrafted out of high school, but decided to forego college baseball and sign instead as an undrafted free agent by the Rays.
Johnson is a switch-hitter with some great stolen base numbers in the minor leagues and some modest power. He strikes out a lot for a non-elite power hitter, and doesn't particularly walk much (a tell-tale signature of GM auteur Dayton Moore!) His best minor league season was probably 2010 in AAA when he hit .319/.375/.475 with 11 HR 56 BI and 30 stolen bases. He has played parts of two seasons in the majors, and finally stuck around all season in the big leagues last year where he hit .242/.304/.350 with 6 HR 33 BI and 18 stolen bases in 331 plate appearances. Johnson has Major League experience at every single position on the field except pitcher and catcher.
Elliot is a fan of the Discovery Channel show "Moonshiners."
Johnson is out of options, so he'll have to make the club, or pass through waivers to be sent to Omaha. He will compete with Miguel Tejada and Irving Falu for a utility infielder role on this club. To make room on the 40-man roster, Felipe Paulino was placed on the 60-day disabled list.
Bob Dutton last week dismissed the idea of Johnson being acquired, saying it was not a "significant upgrade." EAT YOUR WORDS BOB!