The Atlanta Braves have decided to bring back one of their best trade deadline acquisitions of 2023. The club just announced that Pierce Johnson has signed a two-year $14.25 million contract with a $7 million club option for 2026. The club option for 2026 includes a $250,000 buyout.
Johnson was an excellent addition at the trade deadline, especially considering he was brought in from Colorado at the cost of minor-league relievers Victor Vodnik and Tanner Gordon. The 2023 season got off to a rough start for Johnson, but considering he was pitching in Coors Field, it's no wonder Alex Anthopoulos identified him as a resurgence candidate.
Once he came over from the Rockies, Johnson threw 23.2 innings with Atlanta and allowed just two earned runs which came out to the tune of a 0.76 ERA. Johnson also owned a 2.83 FIP and 12.2 K/9 in his 24 outings with Atlanta.
Johnson had one of the better curveballs in MLB and that type of elite strikeout pitch out of the bullpen is a welcomed weapon. According to baseball savant, Johnson's curveball had a positive FIVE run value in 2023.
Pierce is 32 years old and now figures to be one of the trusted right-handed late relief options for manager Brian Snitker. Every offseason GM Alex Anthopoulos makes it a high priority to build a bulletproof bullpen, so it should come as no shock that his first move of the 2023 offseason is to bring back a guy who made such a strong impression.
Not often to you see guys sign before the first game of the World Series is played, but I think that speaks to how badly both the player and the team wanted this relationship to continue. Now, we get to look forward to many more filthy Pierce Johnson curveballs for 2024 and beyond.