Rays designate Brignac, E. Johnson to make room for Farnsworth, K. Johnson
UPDATE, 7:22: More from Brignac: "Just right now it's not working out for them and I. I'm not disappointed, I'm eagerly excited about the opportunity to play for another organization, possibly the chance to get a little more playing time. So I'm really excited with the chance to play for somebody else but I'm super gracious what the Rays have done for me. I have nothing but great things to say about those guys, the organization is one of the best organizations in baseball.
"It's a little bittersweet. It's going to be different being in a different uniform and playing for a different team, but it's going to be a great opportunity for me I believe. There's no hard feelings.''
UPDATE, 7:14: Kelly Johnson said he knew in signing with the Rays he would be asked to move around the field including the outfield and he likes the idea: "I'm excited about it.'' ... Also, he likes the Rays style of play, and knew he was going to be a late off-season sign due to his rough 2012 season. But he feels he has figured out how to get back to his past form that made him a success: "I don't think it's possible for me to feel any better and more confident about where I'm at than I do. So I'm really excited.''
UPDATE, 6:56: Neither Brignac nor Elliot Johnson was too surprised, both were appreciative of their time with the Rays and are looking for ML opportunities elsewhere.
Here is an excerpt of Johnson's comments: "I dont think I'm too terribly surprised. I guess it's just a matter of this team, the Rays are one of the best teams in baseball, and things like this happen. ... I feel good about how I played, it was a big improvement over 2011 offensively, so I'm looking forward to 2013 and getting the chanace to do it in the big leagues with somebody else.
And from Brignac: "I'm not really surprised. I pay attention to what's going on and they're signing infielders, signing infielders, signing infielders. I just knew I possibly could be one of the guys that gets designated. I'm not bitter, I don't have any animosity toward the Rays, I have nothing but praise and respect for those guys. They gave me the opportunity to live my lifelong dream and play in the big leagues.''
UPDATE, 5:53: Farnsworth said several other teams were interested and he was strongly considering another offer for what sounded like similar terms but when he considering being close to his Disney-area home and being a part of the Rays team, the combination was "hard to beat" so he signed back up.
DEVELOPING: The Rays made official their deals to sign RHP Kyle Farnsworth and INF Kelly Johnson, and made room on the 40-man roster by designating for assignment INFs Reid Brignac and Elliot Johnson.
Farnsworth will make $1.25-million, with a similar amount available in incentives. Johnson will make a $2.45-million salary.
A deal to sign DH Luke Scott has not yet been officially completed so they have to clear one more space.
Brignac was the Rays primary starting SS in '11, but spent most of '12 at Triple-A, hitting .231 with a .676 OPS. He played only 16 games in the majors, hit .095. Johnson spent all of last season with the Rays, hitting .242. Both are out of options, so while they were unlikely to make the Rays roster, that could also make it more likely they get through waivers since they would have to make the roster of the claiming team as well.
Johnson, 30, has shown the potential for power and a good on-base percentage but also has been prone to strikeouts. Over the past two seasons with Arizona and Toronto, he had 37 home runs and 113 RBIs but a .223 average and 322 strikeouts in 289 games. His best season was 2010 with the Diamondbacks when he hit .284 with a .370 on-base percentage, 26 homers and 71 RBIs.
Farnsworth, 36, spent the past two seasons in the Rays bullpen, the follow-up to his sterling 2011 season (5-1, 2.18 ERA, 25 saves) cut in half due to an elbow strain diagnosed at the end of spring training. He returned June 30 and went 1-6 with a 4.00 ERA in 34 appearances.
He agreed to a one-year deal for a salary close to $1.5 million with the chance to earn up to another $1.5 million in incentives.
Farnsworth made $3.3-million last season and $2.6-million in 2011.
Johnson made $6.375-million last season in an arbitration avoiding deal with Toronto, and $5.85-million the previous season in Arizona.