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Blue Jays sign Dan Johnson to minor league deal, invite him to spring training

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In a minor move, the Blue Jays have signed first baseman Dan Johnson to a minor league contract, with an invitation to big league spring training camp, according to a Buffalo Bisons release.

Johnson, 34, debuted in 2005 with the Oakland Athletics as first baseman, hitting .275/.355/.451 in his rookie season, slugging 15 home runs in 109 games. His numbers have slid since then, although he did achieve his career high in home runs in 2007 with 18. Since that year, Johnson has had just 296 major league plate appearances with four teams, batting a meagre .181/.304/.371.

A lefty bat that throws right, Johnson will likely begin the season playing for triple-A Buffalo, filling in as their designated hitter or first baseman, replacing the role shared by Mauro Gomez and Luis Jimenez in 2013. Jimenez is a minor league free agent, and Gomez was recently placed on release waivers by the Nationals. Johnson was named the International League MVP in 2010. Save for a three-game stint with the Orioles in September, Johnson spent the 2013 season in the International League with the Yankees and Orioles affiliates, hitting .250/.378/.439. He hit 21 homers, good for seventh in the league behind Gomez's 29.

Dan Johnson is probably most known for his game-tying pinch-hit home run on September 28, 2011 with the Rays down to their last strike of the season. I'm sure there is no better version of that home run than the one captured in this video (go to 3:26 if you are impatient).