The Jim Johnson experience in Atlanta has officially come to a close after the Braves traded him and some international pool space to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for minor league pitcher Justin Kelly. At first glance, this appears to be a bit of a salary dump as the Braves appear to simply be cutting bait with Johnson while the Angels have deeper plans for that international pool space (more on that later). However, the Braves could get a decent asset in Kelly if all goes well.
In Kelly, Atlanta is acquiring is acquiring a player who moved (very) quickly through the Angels’ system last season, appearing at five (!) levels and posting reasonable statistics.
It remains to be seen as to just what the Braves are acquiring in this deal and there is time to evaluate Kelly in the future.
Meanwhile, there’s been a lot of talk as to exactly what the Braves will do with Matt Adams. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports is reporting that Atlanta is going to try to shop him since he clearly doesn’t fit in as a starter for the Braves. Here’s a bit of what Heyman had to say about the situation, which also includes a morsel of information on how the market is looking for Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis.
Kemp is said to have improved his condition after ballooning beyond belief last year, but he’s going to be very difficult to trade off a poor second half in which he barely resembled himself. Markakis had been looked at as a possible trade candidate, as well, but a power deficit and high salary may not make that endeavor very easy, either (though the Blue Jays have been reported to have some interest).
Meanwhile, Adams, as an arbitration-eligible player off a very solid season, would appear to be tradeable. In any case, sources close to the situation are saying Adams “won’t be with the Braves” long.
In other news, the Braves won’t have to worry about an arbitration case with Rex Brothers after they signed the reliever to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal.
Brothers originally signed a minor league contract with the Braves last February and worked his way back to the majors appearing in 27 games for Atlanta. He logged a 4-3 record and a 7.23 ERA in 23.2 innings.
While his ERA was ugly, Brothers had solid peripheral numbers posting a FIP of 3.66 and an xFIP of 3.60. He struck out 33 batters and held left handed hitters to a .216 average.
Scott continued to roll on with his series of offseason questions and this time he focused on the rotation. He put yet another interesting question out there: Will Alex Anthopoulos follow in the footsteps of John Coppolella by trying to add veterans to the starting rotation, or will he decide to roll with a youthful rotation for 2018?
Finally, the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate will have a new nickname as the organization has made a decision and will announce the new nickname next week. They’ll be making the announcement on December 8 on Facebook Live (because this is 2017 and we live in the future). As far as the name is concerned, don’t be shocked if Buttons winds up as the winning nickname after what happened last month.
The Road To Atlanta crew has a new podcast for you, and this one is a doozy. They managed to get Max Fired to come on to the podcast and they spent half of an hour just talking baseball. I’m going to guess that everybody here is probably going to enjoy hearing baseball players talk about baseball, so go ahead and give this a listen.
Remember when I said that the Angels had plans for that international bonus space that they acquired from the Braves? Well, it appears that they are aiming high with it, because there are reports that the Angels are “in” on Shohei Ohtani. Our friends over at Halos Heaven are all over the news.
In a nutshell, trading an unheralded minor leaguer for a useful, slightly-overpaid veteran big-league reliever is the definition of an underwhelming move.
Johnson wasn’t the reason for the deal, per se, but rather the payroll the Angels took on to acquire the remainder of the Braves international bonus pool money, a $1.21 million leftover that will be used to court Japanese phenom two-way player Shohei Ohtani. The Angels have previously been tight-lipped about this, but no longer.
Things are really heating up between the Marlins and Giants when it comes to trade talks. The clearest sign that a deal could be coming soon is the fact that the Marlins allowed Giancarlo Stanton and his representatives to meet with the Giants in Los Angels. As Grant Brisbee noted in his article covering this for McCovey Chronicles, if the Giants are meeting with Stanton then at this point it’s all down to San Francisco’s recruiting pitch and whether or not it appeals to Stanton. If it does, then we’ll be seeing him in the Bay. If not, then the sweepstakes will continue on.