The entire bench for the 2013 Atlanta Braves seems to be grabbing employment elsewhere, and outfielder Reed Johnson has joined the party while staying in the NL East.
#Marlins sign OF Reed Johnson to minor lg contract w/ ST invite
— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) January 31, 2014
The Braves famously declined a 2014 team option on Reed Johnson in early November, and from that point forward, he was free to seek employment elsewhere. Landing with the Marlins doesn’t guarantee Reed a Major League roster spot, but in terms of long-term ability to grab playing time, it was probably one of his better options.
Johnson came to Atlanta as part of the deal that brought he and Paul Maholm to town from the Chicago Cubs in 2012, and he spent the entire 2013 season on the Braves bench. Injury problems cost him significant time, though, and the 37-year-old outfielder only appeared in 74 games while grabbing 136 plate appearances last season.
Still, Johnson has always been able to hit left-handed pitching (career .311/.366/.456 slash line over 1,330 plate appearances), and that combined with defensive versatility and ability to play all 3 outfield spots provides value despite his ever-advancing age. It’s always nice to see an “old friend” land on his feet, and Reed has a very legitimate chance to be in the big leagues when April arrives.