Capps, Kelly Johnson Under Team Control For 2011

Matt Capps and Kelly Johnson signed one-year deals during the offseason, yet they're both under team control for 2011 as well.  How did that happen?  It's the beauty of signing a non-tendered player who has fewer than five years of service time.  Both players will be arbitration-eligible after the 2010 season.

Capps, closing for the Nationals, was named MLB's Delivery Man of the Month for April after saving ten games with a 0.68 ERA.  The Pirates non-tendered Capps after the '09 season, signing Octavio Dotel for the same $3.5MM.  The Bucs have a $4.5MM club option on Dotel, so they've got two years of control for their new closer.  The difference is that Dotel's option becomes mutual if he's traded.  Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette feels that the Pirates could've signed both pitchers, and a comparison of the two misses the point.

Johnson is off to a blazing .301/.389/.677 start in 108 plate appearances, his nine home runs already exceeding last year's total.  Much like Capps, the Braves couldn't find a trade suitor and cut Johnson loose for nothing.  They're happy with Johnson's replacement Martin Prado, who's off to a .337/.397/.452 start.  In hindsight, could the Braves have moved Johnson back to left field and thrown him into the mix?  Melky Cabrera and Matt Diaz looked like solid options heading into the season.

Injured pitchers Chien-Ming Wang and Jose Arredondo were also non-tenders.  The Nationals can control Wang for 2011, while the Reds can keep Arredondo through 2014.


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21 Comments on "Capps, Kelly Johnson Under Team Control For 2011"


TheHotCorner
5 years 3 months ago

100 at bats is hardly enough to determine if the Braves made the right choice cutting him loose versus moving him to the outfield. Every year there are a number of players who surprisingly jump out early and before the All-Star break have come back down to Earth. I am not saying he can’t go on to have a good year but doubt he will keep up the pace.

BravesRed
5 years 3 months ago

He’s coming back down to Earth already in May. .231/.286/.231/.517 in May.

5 years 3 months ago

I think to second-guess the Braves we should probably look at Johnson’s preseason projection: something like .273/.351/.443, said CHONE. Did the Braves think he could do that, is the question.

BravesRed
5 years 3 months ago

Like Francoeur, Johnson just needed a change of scenery. But, when it comes down in the end, Johnson and Francoeur will be themselves again, and suck. You know it, I know it, every fan knows it, Braves would pick Prado over Johnson every single time. And no, the Braves didn’t know he would do that, but as I stated earlier, it was the change of scenery.

5 years 3 months ago

That seems like an easy fallback…any time a team lets a guy go for nothing and the guy succeeds elsewhere, you can just say it was a change of scenery and he wouldn’t have done that for his old team. It may be true, but it is conveniently 100% impossible to prove.

BravesRed
5 years 3 months ago

Johnson’s numbers show at Turner Field that he wasn’t that good. So, the facts show he wouldn’t of done any better this year.

R_y_a_n
5 years 3 months ago

No, they don’t, look at the stats again.

jdub220
5 years 3 months ago

Since when did Johnson suck? He’s put together 3.3 and 2.6 WAR seasons in ’07 and ’08 respectively. And last year he had a wrist injury and a .247 BABIP. Try hitting with a hurt wrist. It’s not too easy.

This year, he’s hitting .301/.389/.677, and that’s with a normal BABIP. Johnson doesn’t suck.

BravesRed
5 years 3 months ago

So, you erase all his other stats, because one stat told you he was good in 2007 and 2008? And as I told Tim, his numbers suck at Turner Field.

jdub220
5 years 3 months ago

Uh, yeah. I would expect him to go back to the 2007-08 KJ, especially because he played injured all last year. What other stats do you have to prove he won’t go back to ’07-’08 form?

And just because his numbers suck at Turner Field… that means he sucks as a baseball player?

qudjy1
5 years 3 months ago

ATL was in somewhat of a tough spot. Arb was going to pay him more than market value, and they had someone they wanted at 2B more. They could have put him into the mix in LF, but would he really have rebuilt much value on a part time basis, probably not.

I dont think KJ sucks though… He is probably somewhere in between last year and this years current numbers, which is still pretty solid production for the 2.3M AZ is paying for him.

BTW (I accidentally hit “like” instead of reply)

BravesRed
5 years 3 months ago

Outside of Turner Field he doesn’t suck.

I also hit “like” sometimes when I meant to hit “reply.”

5 years 3 months ago

Why do you keep arguing that he sucked in Turner Field?

He’s got an .802 OPS at home for his career and a .783 OPS on the road. Adjust for everything else, and one could argue that there’s almost no evidence that Turner Field had a major effect on KJ’s performance.

Yankees420
5 years 3 months ago

We’re 5 days into the month.

Admiral Rusty T. Shackleford
5 years 3 months ago

As all good Braves fans know, Johnson is a notoriously streaky hitter – look at his last month of the 2008 season, when he was on fire. He’ll come back to earth, prob finishing at around where the CHONE projections had him at. Oh, and don’t go touting Francoeur as some kind of star – sure, his OBP (around .330) is better than it was in 2008, but could it have possibly gotten any worse?

abravesfan
5 years 3 months ago

Unlike Francoeur, who has a clear problem in his swing and approach, Kelly Johnson has been solid (even when his actual productions are down for 2 years). However, I’m not sure his approach meshes with that preached by TP (Braves batting coach).

Braves’ wallet seem tighter than what they public admit, there were just no way to risk committing that much $ through arbitration for a guy that is just going to sit on the bench.

From the DBack’s POV, they only have to commit a fraction of what Johnson would have earned via arbitration to get him. The Braves were probably hoping that they sold at the right time, like when they non-tendered Marcus Giles back in the days.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves non-tender Melky Cabrera in the offseason and see him go somewhere else and be solid.

Admiral Rusty T. Shackleford
5 years 3 months ago

Thanks for bringing up TP, and I’ll start by saying I’m not a fan. He preaches a philosophy of contact that is clearly outdated (read Tom Verducci’s new column on CNNSI), and I think the facts that A) the Braves offense consistently underachieves and B) players so often flourish when the leave the tutelage of Pendelton, are damning to say the least. However, it’s a moot point because TP won’t be going anywhere as long as #6 is at the helm…

5 years 3 months ago

I think that Johnson’s performance is actually somewhat easy to explain.

Johnson is a talented hitter, regardless of what happened in 2009. You can’t be 25 runs above average over the course of two full seasons by accident. Johnson was the victim of some nasty luck last season, but as the projections noted, there was little reason to believe that he couldn’t bounce back with a solid offensive season in 2010.

Right now, it seems that we’re seeing a culmination of a few things: Johnson being on an absolute tear, Johnson moving to the very thin air of Phoenix (i.e. a very good offensive environment), and Johnson simply being a pretty good hitter.

We’re talking about a roughly league average hitter posting monster numbers over the course of 100 plate appearances in an environment that inflates offense. Why is this that shocking? KJ will obviously fall back down to Earth some, but is a ~.370 wOBA that unreasonable from a guy who has posted a .363 wOBA in a full season within the past three years?

ellisburks
5 years 3 months ago

Happy Cinco de Mayo! :)

qudjy1
5 years 3 months ago

A whopping 4 games of Sample size. Still – i think he will come back to earth, but that doesnt mean it wasnt a fantastic addition for AZ.

TheHotCorner
5 years 3 months ago

Maybe it will be more then just a hot start. But maybe he will be Chris Shelton of 2006. Remember he hit like 10 HR’s the first month and then went on to hit 6 more.