For those of you still watching this team commit sins against the very game of baseball for the rest of the season, and there are a few of you, where this team is going might have crossed your mind. Is this just a bunch of tryouts? Is the team still trying to win games? Are we still making moves? Are we tanking for a draft spot ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers and a guaranteed lotto pick? That last one is an NBA reference, so likely not.
The truth is that this front office is mostly going to use the rest of this season to sort out their pitching, and they really don't care how many runs they score or how many games they win now. This was evidenced by how quickly they pulled out Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons for seemingly minor injuries like abdominals and thumb bruises. If this was a pennant race, I assure you nothing is keeping Freddie Freeman on the sidelines as long as he's been this season. But the Braves (the people that run the Braves and management, not the players) aren't concerned about now. They are concerned with 2 years from now.
You are a smart fan so you already know that. It was hit home for you when the Kelly-Uribe trade happened and pile-driven into your innocent skull with the Wood-Johnson-Salary trade. What you may not know is exactly how they want to function as a team. The players that take the field won't stop trying, so there's no worries there. You will have a team built on enjoyable moments when your expectations are sufficiently lowered. When you expect to win nothing, every win is a treasure and every win is joyful. That's where they are now.
And now this happens. The Braves finally unload Chris Johnson to the Cleveland Indians like the regifted Bread Maker from Old School. And good news! We got back one of my favorite players that I thought the Braves should have never let go, Michael Bourn. We also got Nick Swisher who I think is a colossal skinbag of failure. Swisher has been posting a BJ Upton like slash line of .198/.261/.297 this season, which is even worse than his .208/.278/.331 of 2014. He sucks. I don't want him playing. I'm hoping that's just part of a salary dump and we immediately cut him upon arrival.
However, Michael Bourn went to Cleveland in 2013 as a free agent since his agent thought the Braves offer of $12M a year was paltry, and then when the Braves moved on he signed with Cleveland for, guess what, 13.5M a year. But I can't really begrudge a guy for chasing his money. I can begrudge the Braves for then paying BJ Upton a ton more money than that to play center field, and stink. But that was Frank Wren, and he's gone, and so is his last protege pick Chris Johnson. Braves fans on Twitter will likely rejoice that we unloaded his stupid extension.
The upside to Bourn is that he's a great Center Fielder, but he's seen a falloff in power as he went to Cleveland. During his stint in the AL, Bourn hit for .345 slugging, down from his .381 slugging in Atlanta. I can hope that a return to this division might improve his numbers, and the Braves would have a club option to pick him up for a $12M season in 2016 if they wanted. If not, they can renegotiate a free agent deal or cut him. Either way, it gives the Braves an actual outfielder instead of whatever the hell they are putting in left field at the moment. I'd imagine they would move Maybin over to left and cover center with Bourn.
So that's that for Chris if the deal goes through. Let's hope it does!