The Braves strengthened the bullpen Wednesday with the addition of former Orioles closer Jim Johnson, who was signed to a one-year contract for a reported $1.6 million dollars plus incentives.
Johnson saved 50 games with the Orioles in 2013 and 51 games for Baltimore in 2012. When his salary escalated to over $10 million, the Orioles traded Johnson to Oakland, where he struggled.
In 38 games with the A's, Johnson had a 7.14 ERA, with 60 hits allowed in 40.1 innings. Then he went to Detroit and Johnson then had a 6.94 ERA in 16 games.
The Braves will let Johnson replace Jordan Walden, who was more expensive and whom they included in the Jason Heyward-to-St. Louis trade a few weeks ago.
Johnson will set up Craig Kimbrel and be a steady veteran in a bullpen full of young pitchers. Johnson will join David Carpenter, Arodys Vizcaino, Anthony Varvaro, James Russell, Luis Avilan and Shae Simmons in the Atlanta bullpen.
Johnson will turn 32 on June 27 next season. He was originally a 5th round pick by the Orioles in the 2001 draft.
Johnson is much like Walden, who was acquired a year after he had spent time as the Angels' closer and then fell back into a middle relief role. Walden had two solid seasons with the Braves before being traded to the Cardinals.
The Braves also believe Johnson can get back on track with Roger McDowell, who like Johnson was a ground ball pitcher when he was a reliever in the major leagues.
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Braves sign reliever Jim Johnson
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