Diamondbacks set to sign Kelly Johnson

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Kelly Johnson took a week to ponder the Diamondbacks’ one-year offer believed to be worth around $2 million and has apparently decided to accept.
Johnson is expected to finalize the contract by taking a physical exam today, choosing Arizona over at least a handful of other teams in part because the Diamondbacks wanted him to play second base every day.
After two years as the Braves’ starting second baseman Johnson lost his job last season because of an injury and career-worst performance at the plate. He was non-tendered earlier this month and at least one team pursued Johnson as a free agent with an eye toward making him a full-time outfielder, but the Diamondbacks will keep him in the infield and hope for a big bounceback from the 28-year-old who hit .282/.362/.451 in 1,222 plate appearances between 2007 and 2008.

Texas Rangers fire manager Jeff Banister

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The Texas Rangers just announced that they have fired Jeff Banister as the team’s manager. Bench coach Don Wakamatsu has been named interim manager for the remainder of 2018 season.

Banister was in the last year of his contract with the club, but there was an option for 2019. Rangers brass, obviously, has decided to go in a different direction following what will be the club’s worst finish in Banister’s tenure. At the moment the Rangers are 64-88 and are assured of last place in the AL West.

Banister was hired before the 2015 season and led the Rangers to first place finishes in each of his first two seasons. The club fell to a disappointing third place and a 78-84 record last season, however, and this season the descent has continued. Injuries and under achievement has been the order of the day for the past two years and, with the career of Adrian Beltre nearing its end and the Rangers having been passed up by the Astros as the class of the division, a rebuild is in the club’s future.

Banister ends his reign as the Rangers’ skipper with a record of 325-313.