Atlanta Braves looking for platoon partner with Chris Johnson


The Hot Stove season is already fired up in early November and for the Atlanta Braves, that’s meant a good deal of rumors. The latest comes from Atlanta Journal-Constitution beat writer David O’Brien, who tweeted that the team is (shockingly) searching for a left-handed third baseman who could platoon with Chris Johnson.

This doesn’t come as a huge surprise when you remember that Johnson followed up his miraculous 2013 season with a 2014 campaign that wasn’t even worth 1.0 win above replacement. Johnson struggled with the bat and glove all season and finished his 153 games with a .263/.292/.361 triple slash.

It should be worth pointing out that Johnson was originally a platoon third baseman for the Braves, back when Juan Francisco was with the team. However, as Joe Lucia of The Outside Corner reminds us, the team punted him away:

"Oh. Right. The Braves gave Juan Francisco away last June for a pitcher named Thomas Keeling that spent 2014 in the American Association.Good job, Frank Wren."

In addition to whatever outside targets the team pursues, I would have to imagine that Kyle Kubitza would be a candidate for the platoon job. The left-handed hitting third baseman had a terrific season at the plate with Double-A Mississippi, ranking fourth in the Braves system with an .875 OPS. He finished 2014 with a .295/.405/.470 line with eight home runs and 21 stolen bases.

In addition, DOB tweeted this about his lefty/righty splits:

Kubitza seems like an obvious candidate to be at least considered for the job, but the Braves have moved him up slowly and there are still questions about his defense despite Atlanta scouts liking his “soft hands and plus-plus arm” from the hot corner.