The Braves made an addition to their bullpen today, and after sending Jordan Walden to St. Louis in the Jason Heyward trade, they've now replaced him with free agent reliever Jim Johnson, signing him to a 1-year contract.
The #Braves have signed free-agent RHP Jim Johnson to a one-year Major League contract.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) December 3, 2014
After spending 2 somewhat successful seasons as the closer for the Baltimore Orioles (including an All-Star berth in 2012), Johnson ended up getting traded to Oakland and he was a complete train wreck there, compiling an ERA of 7.14 and a FIP of 5.29 and only garnering 2 saves. He was released in August and picked up by the Detroit Tigers, and he didn't do much better there.
Simply put, this is a case of the Braves buying low on a reliever who is coming off a season where his production crashed into a ditch harder than Caroline from "Roses" by Andre 3000. The hope here is that by buying low and hoping that Pitching Coach Roger McDowell can work some magic on him, that he'll become a valued set-up man in the bullpen alongside David Carpenter (or maybe even become the closer if the Braves go back on their word and actually move Craig Kimbrel).
However, it's a 1-year deal, so it's not like it'll hurt the Braves in the long term if he continues to stink like he did last season. If he returns to his 2012-13 form, this could be a nice bit of business for Atlanta. Either way, it's a low-cost, low-risk deal for a bullpen arm, considering the team's expectations as a whole going into the 2015 season.
EDIT: We've got the terms. Okay, maybe that's not exactly low-cost.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>jim johnson gets $1.6M guaranteed plus 900K incentives. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/braves?src=hash">#braves</a></p>— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) <a href="https://twitter.com/JonHeymanCBS/status/540212201232289792">December 3, 2014</a></blockquote>
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