Atlanta Braves to meet with Jon Lester; could look to trade Chris Johnson


The Atlanta Braves have been busy in recent days, casually flipping Tommy La Stella to the Chicago Cubs before dropping the bomb by trading Jason Heyward (along with Jordan Walden) to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Shelby Miller and prospect Tyrell Jenkins. However, no one believes that the Braves are “done”, and once again, the team has been linked to free agent left-hander Jon Lester.

Quite honestly, the Braves and Lester make no sense as a pairing for a number of reasons. First, Atlanta just pulled the trigger on a deal to strengthen the pitching staff at the cost of position player talent, and above that, Lester is almost certainly going to be out of the price range for John Hart and company. The moral of the story is that Lester’s agent could attempt to use the Braves as leverage, but there isn’t an obvious scenario where this progresses. In addition, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has elected to “remind” everyone that Chris Johnson could be available in trade talks.

For all of the talk surrounding B.J. Upton’s contract, Chris Johnson’s is also brutal. The now 30-year-old third baseman posted a .292 OBP to go along with his trademark “defense” in 2014, and Johnson was valued at 0.5 fWAR and -1.3 bWAR (!) for his trouble. The Frank Wren regime elected to give Johnson a contract extension after his fluky “breakout” in 2013 (.321 batting average, .394 BABIP), and that move has proven to be less than fruitful.

It is a stretch to think that Johnson’s contract would actually be attractive to any other team, but if the new “brain trust” pushes hard enough and looks for little in return, it isn’t inconceivable to think that Johnson could be on the way out.

The dominoes are falling in a hurry for the Atlanta Braves, and we have no idea where they end will be.