More strange decisions from the Braves has me scratching my head

Published 5:54 pm Friday, December 5, 2014

The moves the Atlanta Braves have made this week are a little strange, at least in my estimation.

If you will bear with me, I will try to document exactly what I am talking about.

On Wednesday, they signed former Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Jim Johnson, who went a combined 5-2 with a 7.09 earned run average with the two American League teams last season, to a one-year contract.

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Earlier in his career Johnson was the closer for the Baltimore Orioles. He is 23-28 with a 3.57 earned run average and 124 saves in his career.

The Braves are hoping that Johnson can replace Jordan Walden as the primary set up man for Braves All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel.

Walden was earlier traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for right handed starting pitcher Shelby Miller. Also going to the Cardinals in the deal for Miller was Braves All-Star right fielder Jason Heyward.

Later in the day Wednesday, the Braves signed Baltimore Orioles free agent outfielder Nick Markakis to a four-year contract to replace Heyward in right field.

Last season Markakis, who is 31 and was with the Orioles for the first nine years of his career, batted .276 with 14 home runs and 50 RBIs.

The problem in my estimation is that Heyward, who is 25, is six years younger than Markaksis, yet their stats are almost identical.

Now there are rumors floating around that left fielder Justin Upton, who is in the final year of his contract, and catcher Evan Gattis, who will probably move to left field if he stays, are on the trading block. .

Upton’s, younger brother B.J. Upton will be the Braves starter in center field.

If Gattis stays, which I hope he does, and moves to left field, young Christian Bettencourt, who came up late last season and played very well, will take over the full time catching duties. He is a solid defensive catcher and a strong hitter.

Frankly, I really do not understand why the Braves would want to trade Gattis. He is a great power hitter who is not really making the big bucks yet.

I do not really see a lot of logic in the deals the Braves have made but I truly hope I am wrong. Time will tell.