Kelly Johnson Returning To Blue Jays After Accepting Arbitration

ST. PETERSBURG, FL: Infielder Kelly Johnson #2 of the Toronto Blue Jays is congratulated by manager John Farrell #52 after scoring against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

In 2009, with the Braves, Kelly Johnson was bad. In 2010, with the Diamondbacks, Kelly Johnson was good! In 2011, with the Diamondbacks, Kelly Johnson was bad. In 2011, after a trade to the Blue Jays, Kelly Johnson was good! And then Kelly Johnson became a free agent. The Blue Jays chose to offer Johnson arbitration, and Johnson searched the market for a multi-year deal. Wednesday night, however, was the deadline for free agents to choose whether or not they'd accept arbitration, and after giving it considerable thought (I'm guessing), Johnson accepted.

Reason? Johnson probably didn't find the market to his liking, so he took the expected one-year raise. Johnson earned $5.85 million a season ago, and he should make more than that in 2012. Then, at the end of the year, he can re-enter the market, hopefully after building some value.

Johnson is one of just three free agents to accept arbitration, with the other two being Francisco Rodriguez and David Ortiz. Rodriguez is set to make something like $14 million as a setup man. Ortiz is set to make something like $15 million as a DH. Those were obvious offers to accept. Johnson's was a little less obvious, but still sensible.

The 29-year-old Johnson will presumably be penciled in as the Blue Jays' second baseman. He posted a .364 OBP over 132 plate appearances after being traded from Arizona. He posted a .287 OBP over 481 plate appearances before being traded from Arizona. The year before, it was .370. The year before that, it was .303. The Blue Jays shouldn't have any trouble projecting Johnson's performance at all.

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