The Atlanta Braves have agreed to a two-year contract extension with right-handed reliever Jim Johnson, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com. The agreement will keep the veteran in the bullpen through the 2018 season. The terms of the contract are still not known at this time.
Johnson, 33, has revitalized his career in Atlanta after bouncing around the league. After agreeing to a one-year, $2.5M deal this offseason with the Braves, he has been a bargain and a much-needed veteran presence for the young Atlanta bullpen. In 2016, he has logged a 3.11 ERA over 63 and 2/3 innings. He has also saved 19 games this year in 22 chances.
After struggling to find his mark in the bullpen after leaving Baltimore, Johnson signed with the Braves in spring training in 2015 and had a promising first half, recording a 2.25 ERA over 48 innings before being dealt at the trade deadline to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Though he struggled with the Dodgers after the trade, the Braves thought highly of his time in Atlanta, and signed him to another deal for 2016. According to Mark Bowman, Braves beat writer for MLB.com, Johnson credits a lot of his success to pitching coach Roger McDowell and that has led to a late resurgence of his career after it looked like he could soon be headed out of baseball just a couple offseasons ago.
According to David O'Brien of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the Braves plan to keep Johnson at closer next season. Arodys Vizcaino started the season as the Braves closer and was very successful for the most part, but he has largely been shut down for the second half of the season due to injuries, opening up the opportunity for Johnson to take control of the closer role. Johnson will lead a young Braves bullpen next season that will should include Shae Simmons, Mauricio Cabrera, and Arodys Vizcaino.