It is quite a surprise that Johnson is still wearing a Braves uniform. Perhaps the team is waiting for Arodys Vizcaino to return from his oblique injury to assume the closer role. Considering the going rate on the trade market recently, Johnson could be a steal for a contending team that is in need of bullpen help. In Johnson’s last 30 appearances he owns a 2.32 ERA, and has been even better with a 1.84 ERA in his last 15. He has closing experience but his struggles after being dealt last season to the Dodgers may scare off some teams. Johnson’s price tag won’t be too high, and with the future of the bullpen looking bright and with the vet on a one-year deal, it makes sense for the Braves to get a return on their investment.
Eric O’ Flaherty
O’ Flaherty has been a shell of himself and there’s a reason he has not been traded. His 6.48 ERA on the season is abysmal, but he is a left-hander, and there’s always a little value in that. With Dario Alvarez and Hunter Cervenka both getting shipped out of town, O’ Flaherty will get more opportunities over the course of the next month to boost his stock. The Braves will pray he can provide some value down the stretch, but it is not likely.
Erick Aybar has been hot lately, and if a contending team loses a middle infielder the Braves could be fielding phone calls for his services. Aybar struggled to acclimate to Atlanta, but has a proven track record. He currently has a 13-game hitting streak and is hitting .353 over his last 15 games. A month ago it looked like it would be an impossibility to move Aybar, but it’s looking more and more likely and he’s on the last remaining year on his deal.
Aybar is not the only Brave who has heated up. Nick Markakis is back to doing what he does best, spraying balls all over the field. He is hitting .330 over his last 30 games. Markakis is the ultimate professional at the plate. He will not surprise anybody with his power, even though he has seen an uptick in his power numbers recently, but he will produce a good at-bat nearly every time he steps into the batter’s box. He currently leads the Braves in RBIs (outside of Kemp). If a contender needs an outfielder, Markakis will draw interest. The Braves have Mallex Smith, Ender Inciarte and Matt Kemp so moving Markakis before the end of the season makes sense.