Mariners designate catcher Rob Johnson for assignment

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Seattle has mercifully designated Rob Johnson for assignment after giving the 27-year-old catcher a total of 499 plate appearances during the past two seasons despite hitting a combined .204 with a .291 on-base percentage and .307 slugging percentage.

And unlike most catchers who get significant playing time despite not being able to hit, Johnson wasn’t even that good defensively. He did a solid job controlling the running game, but has more passed balls than any catcher in the league since the beginning of 2009 despite playing about half as much as the average starter.

Johnson finishes with the third-worst OPS in Mariners history among players with 500 or more plate appearances, as his .584 mark tops only Brian Hunter (.576) and the legendary Mario Mendoza (.522).

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.