The Indians announced this morning that they’ve re-signed infielder Mike Freeman to a minor league pact and invited him to Major League Spring Training. Cleveland also inked righty DJ Johnson to a minor league deal and will bring him to Major League camp.
Freeman, 33, has spent the past two seasons in the Cleveland organization, working in a utility capacity and slashing a combined .270/.352/.377 in 256 plate appearances. He’s seen time at all four infield spots and in both outfield corners along the way, with the majority of his work coming at second base and at third base. While he doesn’t have much power, Freeman has a productive track record in Triple-A and a history of average or better walk rates. He could join Yu Chang in vying for a bench spot this spring.
Johnson, meanwhile, spent the 2020 season pitching in Japan between the Hiroshima Carp and the Rakuten Eagles. He had some struggles with the Carp but did pitch to a 3.07 ERA with a 16-to-6 K/BB ratio in 14 2/3 innings with the Eagles.
Prior to that NPB stint, Johnson saw big league action with the Rockies in 2018-19, logging a 4.88 ERA and 4.93 SIERA with average strikeout and walk rates but a 14.7 percent walk rate that was far too high for sustained success. Johnson has punched out a quarter of the minor league hitters he’s faced in his career, including exactly one third of the 453 hitters he’s faced in Triple-A.