Infielder Elliot Johnson was released by the Kansas City Royals, and the Atlanta Braves have claimed Johnson off waivers. Reports are that the Royals released Johnson to make room for Emilio Bonifacio after they acquired him from the Toronto Blue Jays.
The claim may not seem to make much sense at first glance, but Johnson will add some depth to the Atlanta Braves infield, suffering this year with the struggles of Dan Uggla, and the injuries to Ramiro Pena and Tyler Pastornicky.
Dan Uggla was recently benched under the guise of a need for Lasik Surgery, which had previously been planned for the off-season. Uggla has struggled all year though, both offensively and defensively. Ramiro Pena was a solid 2nd baseman backup for Uggla, and arguably better than Uggla, but with both Pena and Pastornicky now out for the entire season with injuries, the Braves are using Paul Janish and Philip Gosselin at 2nd.
Johnson is not much to speak of with the bat, hitting on a line of just .179/.218/.241 in just under 80 games this season, but he still provides some defensive depth, and is pretty good on the base paths, having gone 14 for 14 in stolen base attempts. Additionally, Johnson is also able to play short stop and is a switch hitter. He comes reasonably cheap as well, and while we can argue the Braves should have made other moves, this could be one of those lighting in a bottle moves that ends up being better than expected. Johnson is a veteran presence, and going down the stretch toward October, depth is always a good thing.
According to a tweet from the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s David O’Brien, Johnson will join the Braves tomorrow as they begin the series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
IF Elliot Johnson will join the #Braves in St. Louis tomorrow.
— David O’Brien (@ajcbraves) August 21, 2013