The Atlanta Braves acquire outfielder Nick Swisher, outfielder Michael Bourn, and cash considerations from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for third baseman Chris Johnson, the teams announced. Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports first mentioned the possibility of the deal.
According to Brown's colleague at Yahoo, Jeff Passan, the Braves will receive more than $10 million from the Indians in the swap.
In the first August blockbuster of the waiver trading season, the two teams deal bad contracts. This deal was more about moving payroll off the books and getting rid of players clogging spots on the roster rather than getting real value in return.
In order to move Johnson, who is signed through 2017 (with a team option for 2018) and is owed a guaranteed $18.5 million, the Braves took on Bourn and Swisher, who both are signed just through next season, at $14 million and $15 million, respectively.
So, the Braves basically removed two years of a "bad contract" and took two players signed for a year less. With the $10 million in relief that the Indians will be giving them, the Braves will basically be paying Bourn and Swisher $19 million next season, or about all of Johnson's remaining contract in one year, if that makes sense.
For the Indians, this trade opens up two spots on their roster that have been clogged. Also, they could try and get Johnson to produce as a change-of-scenery candidate, as he was above average offensively just two years ago.
This season, none of the players involved in the deal have been superb, which is the reason they are considered to be in "bad contracts."
Swisher, 34, has played in just 30 games due to injury and has hit .198/.261/.297/.558 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 111 plate appearances. He has a 54 wRC+ and a -0.7 fWAR this year.
Bourn, 32, has been a bit better than his new Braves counterpart, hitting .246/.313/.294/.608 with 13 stolen bases (18 attempts) and 19 RBIs over 326 plate appearances. He has a 74 wRC+ and a -0.2 fWAR.
Johnson, 30, is hitting .235/.272/.320/.592 with two home runs and 11 RBIs over 162 plate appearances. He has a 63 wRC+ and a -0.4 fWAR.
The two teams had reportedly talked a Swisher-for-Johnson swap prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, but nothing got done. It is unclear if these players cleared waivers, but no team would likely be willing to risk taking on the contracts for free, so they presumably did clear.