Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIR
Johnson will be the forgotten part of Thursday's blockbuster, but he could provide the Braves with some production at third base. Let's just hope the other team doesn't hit the ball at him.
While no one in Atlanta will mistake Upton as anything but the centerpiece of the deal, Frank Wren did bring back an interesting player in third baseman Chris Johnson.
Johnson, 28, has 348 games under his belt at the Major League level. He debuted with the Astros in 2009 and spent three years with the organization before being dealt to the D-backs last summer.
Johnson is a career .276/.315/.430 hitter with 33 home runs and 10 stolen bases.
Defensively, Johnson is a mess regardless of which metric you use. Since 2010, he's the worst defensive player at the hot corner. Think of Troy Glaus in 2010. Johnson probably should move to first base, but he doesn't hit enough to be a semi-regular at the position.
On the outside, it appears a platoon at third base between Johnson and Juan Francisco makes perfect sense. They hit on opposite sides of the plate, and while they probably aren't good enough to warrant 140+ starts, they're definitely capable of putting a good at-bat together.
Oddly, Johnson, a right-handed hitter, is awful against lefties.
He is a career .255 hitter with a .667 OPS when a southpaw is on the mound. Against right-handed pitchers, Johnson hits .283 with a .775 OPS. Francisco has similar career numbers.
It's believed that the Braves will go with the platoon to start the year. If Francisco or Johnson can balance out their splits, though, one regular starter could emerge, while the other would hit the bench.
All-in-all, Johnson is a nice player to bring in along with Upton. He's under team control for two more years and is about to enter his prime. Will he become the second coming of Chipper Jones? No, but no one expects him to. He's a solid player who could help out Atlanta in a big way at their weakest spot on the diamond in 2013.