The Braves continue to make minor tweaks to their roster as Spring Training approaches. Today, they announced they had signed former Brave Kelly Johnson to a one-year contract. Sound familiar? Johnson signed a minor league pact with the team last offseason. He exceeded expectations and was a big factor in the team’s fist half, when they flirted with .500. However, the team sold on Johnson, alongside another veteran in Juan Uribe. The two were shipped to the Mets for two mid-level pitching prospects.
Johnson’s bounce-back year earned him a major league deal this time around. The 33-year old has some pop in his bat and played every position but Pitcher, Catcher and Centerfield this past season. He can start in either left field or third base, giving the team options with Hector Olivera defensively. As nice of a story as Adonis Garcia has been, my money’s not on him being more productive than KJ. His ability to back up Freddie Freeman at first makes Nick Swisher expendable, and I expect the team to eat his contract or (less likely) find a suitor for him soon.
Johnson lives with his family here in the Atlanta area, and he will either be close to his family or playing for a contender come September. Clearly there are not too many hard feelings between him and the team considering they agreed to terms on a deal. It will be great to see him back in the Braves uniform in his third stint with the club.
According to Jeff Passan, Johnson earns a base salary of $2 million with the opportunity to bring in up to $1.25 million in incentives.