12:20pm: ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (via Twitter) that Johnson is guaranteed $23.5MM over the life of the deal, and the 2018 club option is valued at $10MM.
12:02pm: The Braves have suddenly become Major League Baseball’s most active team on the extension front, and they continued their rash of long-term deals on Friday by officially announcing a three-year deal for third baseman Chris Johnson. The contract will buy out two arbitration years and one free agent season, and the Braves hold a club option on a fourth year. Johnson, 29, is represented by Excel Sports Management.
Johnson, a fourth-round draft pick of the Astros in 2006, was dealt to the Diamondbacks near the 2012 trade deadline. He later joined the Braves in January 2013 along with Justin Upton, with Arizona receiving Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, Zeke Spruill, Nick Ahmed, and Brandon Drury. So far Johnson has compiled a .307/.344/.438 batting line in 643 plate appearances spanning 167 games for Atlanta. He was worth 2.8 wins above replacement last season, according to FanGraphs.
Johnson had three years and 144 days of Major League service prior to this season, so he’s already been arbitration eligible twice (the first time as a Super Two player). Johnson is earning $4.75MM this year, and the Braves previously had him under team control through 2016.
As MLBTR’s Extension Tracker shows, Johnson stands to become the sixth Braves player to sign a multiyear extension since February, after the team committed 27 years and $280.7MM to Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran, Craig Kimbrel, and Andrelton Simmons. Only Heyward’s two-year deal failed to extend team control. Excel Sports Management represents Freeman, Heyward, and Johnson.
MLBTR was the first to report that the two sides were finalizing an extension. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported (via Twitter) that it was a three-year deal with a club option.
Steve Adams contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Nooooooooooo! Why? WHY?!?!?!?!
Why in the world would Wren extend this guy. I’ve been hoping they would trade for a new 3B.
Huh? What the hell Atlanta?
Depends on money. He was really good with the bat last year, but is really struggling this year.
I wasn’t too concerned about Johnson’s future with the Braves, but I still like this signing (depending on the money). It’s hard to find a fairly solid hitting 3B at a low price. It’d be nice if we had someone with a better glove though…
He’s a fairly safe bet to hit .275-.285 with 10-14 HR
~20m hopefully? Probably closer to 24m though…
Probably going to pay this guy 8 million annually for only one decent season. Chris Johnson smartly cashed in on a career year. Now they are stuck with a no glove 3B with declining power
In his career Johnson has had three above average seasons, twice posting an OPS+ north of 120.
I’m not sure we can make a determination regarding his power after 96 plate appearances. Atlanta has to know Johnson is the kind of player who will live and die with his batting average, so they must feel comfortable with where he’ll end up over the life of the contract.
Same organization that runs Uggla out there, so it cant be that bad…. Right?
I don’t think Uggla really plays into it. The first two seasons Uggla spent in Atlanta, he was a guy that they absolutely should have kept running out there.
I’m not saying I agree with the contract or disagree with it. Maybe they don’t feel good about their farm system’s ability to produce a guy who can produce better than Johnson at 3B. Maybe they don’t think they’ll get a better deal on the free agent market.
In the three years prior to his career year he hit .279 with a 162 game average of 16 HR and 82 RBI. (which is decent).
.320 OBP and no range at 3rd. Empty batting average off an unrepeatable year. Definition of buying high
He has a .764 OPS since 2010… If a team consisted of only Chris Johnsons they would have been tied for 3rd in the league with that OPS last year. Decent hitter.
Can’t deny the lack of range though. And he definitely won’t be hitting above .300 again anytime soon.
Wren had previously come under fire for his lack of extensions, but I think he should’ve stopped before this one. Cost certainty is one thing, but with the way Johnson’s playing, it doesn’t look like that was going to be much of a concern.
I really think people in these comments are overreacting to his slow start. Granted, depending on the money, this may be a so-so to bad signing.
In Wren we (don’t) trust? Huh?
I’m guessing 3 years/$24MM (2015: $6MM 2016: $8MM 2017: $10MM w/ a $1MM buyout on a $12MM option for 2018.
Chris Adams 2
Hell of a guess my friend, is this frank wren?
Frankly I don’t understand Wren’s logic behind this one.
You get an extension, and you get an extension, and you get…
GIF of Oprah.
Not a big fan of this move. No offense to CJ, but he’s just a meh player.
Unless you’re a low budget team you need a couple of meh players that can provide you with above replacement level performance and stay healthy. Not saying CJ is that guy, but I think teams will start locking in and I believe they have, okay players.
CJ is a solid performer. he’s a not a superstar nor a key piece. he’s a good supporting performer can handle 3b ok hit decently and give lineup some depth. his old swing also looks like its back as well so that should help me be productive again. Just where else would Atlanta find a 3b hmm? From their farm system – they gave up Drury in that trade and I don’t really see anyone down on the farm or in FA (unless I’m missing something) who both can fill the shoes offensively and defensively that are both available and in our price range. I think this is a move of necessity. I just don’t think Salcedo is the long term answer. We do have one decent 3b prospect on the farm but he’s quite a bit away.
move Perarza to 3B, and keep La Stella at 2B?
That said, Perarza may take 3 years to be ready, and he’s still in High-A. His bat might not also stick at 3B, (his glovework will be awesome there though- he’s a poor man’s Andrelton if he projects well)
At about $8 million per season, I’m not nearly as upset about this as I was before.
When news came out I figured they’d give him 8, but Wren has been known to overpay when it comes to extensions.
I think this is a good deal for the Braves. Offensively Chris Johnson puts up similar numbers to Chase Headley who might receive a qualifying offer. Granted Headley has speed and defense that Johnson can’t match, but I don’t think he’s $6MM+ a year better.
Still mad about this extension. So awful.