The Braves have maintained a dialogue with versatile utility man Kelly Johnson, tweets MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, adding that it “still seems like there’s a chance a deal could be reached.” David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution takes the Johnson news a step further, tweeting that he’s been told there’s a better than 50-50 chance that the two sides will agree to a deal.
Johnson, 34 in February, split the 2015 campaign between the Braves and Mets, logging time at all four infield positions (although just nine innings at shortstop) as well as both corner outfield positions. Johnson graded out as an above-average defender in left field over the course of his career and drew solid ratings there in 2015 as well. He also has a solid defensive track record at second base, in the eyes of metrics like Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved, although he drew below-average ratings in a small sample of 204 innings in 2015.
At the plate, Johnson delivered above-average results, batting .265/.314/.435 with 14 home runs in just 335 plate appearances. The Mets and Braves platooned the left-handed-hitting Johnson heavily, which likely contributed to his quality results. Johnson has typically struggled against left-handed pitching, but he has a strong track record when holding the platoon advantage and has long displayed power in such situations, as evidenced by a career .177 isolated power mark (that is, slugging percentage minus bating average). Currently, the Braves have Jace Peterson and Gordon Beckham atop their depth chart at second base. At third base, Adonis Garcia and Beckham (both right-handed hitters) figure to handle most of the duties.