Friday, January 8, 2016

Kelly Johnson again? Yes indeed

I read on the wire recently that the Braves agreed to another deal with Kelly Johnson for 1 year and $2M total. That's pretty funny when you think about it because he's now been hired and dealt and rehired and dealt, and now rehired by the Braves again in his career. He's the penny that keeps turning up and hitting .250 on the season.

Is Kelly worth that money at age 34? It's $2M so in baseball terms you're only talking about 4x the minimum for a replacement level player for the most part. Kelly can platoon 2B and 3B while doing some stints in LF if you need him in a pinch. He's got utility value at each defensive position while excelling at none of them. He's a great guy to have in the lineup when somebody needs a day off, and you don't lose a ton at the plate or the field. All in all, I like the value aspect of the signing.

But let's not confuse Kelly the Baby Brave with Kelly now. The days of being a .280+ hitter with .800+ OPS. You're looking at a guy that should be hitting around .240 with a .700 OPS for the most part, and he vastly outpeformed that number while he was in Atlanta last year. That's why he got traded to the Mets. But I wouldn't expect Kelly to continue to hit for any real power again in Atlanta, despite his 9 homers in limited ABs last season. He's going to come down to earth like every other mid-30s hitter, or he's going to get popped for using PEDs (which is the only reason 30 year olds every got better later in their career, I'm not assuming he's using drugs, relax).

Overall, bringing Kelly fits in nicely with the rebuild because the Braves got something for him in 2015 AND they get to bring him back in 2016. It's a win-win. And those are the trades I like the most.