Right-hander Jim Johnson has signed a two-year extension with the Braves, per a report by MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.
Johnson was picked up by Atlanta in 2015 as a stop-gap while closer Jason Grilli was on the mend from a torn Achilles tendon, and went to the Dodgers in three-way deal that saw him log just 18 2/3 innings in Los Angeles. The Braves re-signed the reliever in the 2015 offseason to a one-year, $2.5M deal through 2016.
The 33-year-old has been the Braves’ most valuable contributor out of the bullpen this season, posting 1.3 fWAR and a 3.11 ERA over 66 2/3 innings pitched. According to Bowman, much of Johnson’s success hinges on his relationship with Braves’ pitching coach Roger McDowell, who has developed a reputation for turning out serviceable bullpen arms. Since his return to Atlanta, Johnson has seen marked improvements across the board, bringing his FIP down from 3.73 in 2015 to 2.77 in 2016 and seeing his 9.33 K/9 rate hit an all-time high.
No details have been released yet regarding the figures for Johnson’s extension.
Ken Rosenthal and Josh Tolentino of The Athletic report that Rays starter Blake Snell has switched agencies, going from Apex Baseball to Boras Corporation. Snell is currently signed to a five-year, $50 million contract and will be under contract through 2023.
Snell found himself in hot water two weeks ago when he said on his Twitch stream that he wouldn’t risk his life to play baseball during a pandemic while receiving significantly reduced pay. Some described Snell as tone deaf for saying, “I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, okay?”
Boras represents many of baseball’s highest-paid players, including Gerrit Cole and Bryce Harper. Snell is not likely to win over any of the people he recently irritated by appearing to go after more money by hiring the highest-profile agent. What often goes unsaid is that players have a very limited window in which to use their elite athletic skills to make money.
Snell won the 2018 AL Cy Young Award, going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 221/64 K/BB ratio over 180 2/3 innings. He did not have nearly the same success last year, going 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA and a 147/40 K/BB ratio in 107 innings.