The Atlanta Braves and third baseman Chris Johnson have agreed to a three-year contract extension worth $23.5 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and ESPN's Buster Olney. The Braves will be able to control Johnson's two arbitration years, along with a season of free agency. The deal also includes a club option for the 2018 season, which is worth $10 million.
Johnson, 29, had a career year in 2013. He hit .321/.358/.457 with 12 home runs and 68 runs batted in in 547 plate appearances. The metrics liked Johnson's 2013 campaign. He posted a 121 OPS+ along with a 2.4 WAR, both career highs. The fourth round pick by the Houston Astros back in 2006 is hitting .231/.260/.330 with one home run and four runs batted in in 96 plate appearances so far this season. Johnson was acquired by the Braves in 2013, when he and Justin Upton headed to Atlanta for Randall Delgado, Martin Prado, Zeke Spruill, and a few minor leaguers.
"Chris has proved over the last year to be a valuable member of our team," general manager Frank Wren said. "We are happy to reach an agreement with him on this deal."
Johnson currently makes $4.75 million, so his new contract is considerably higher than his old one, especially since it covers two arbitration years. The Braves in particular have been diligent in extending their young players, as Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Julio Teheran, and Craig Kimbrel have all been recently locked up to new deals. They have already committed $280.7 million to those players, and have extended their team control to all but Heyward.