According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Braves have signed third baseman Chris Johnson to a three-year extension with a club option for 2018. This confirms a report from Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors.
No word yet on the exact terms involved, but the deal will buy out his final two years of arbitration and at least one year of free agency. Johnson is making $4.75 million this season in his second year of arbitration. Because he was a Super Two player, he gets four years of arbitration as opposed to the usual three.
Johnson is hitting just .231 with one home run and a .590 OPS so far this season, but he owns a .286/.324/.433 batting line in the majors and had a career-high .321 batting average last year. The 29-year-old is just the latest player to be locked up by the Braves, joining Freddie Freeman, Andrelton Simmons, Julio Teheran, and Craig Kimbrel.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”