Angels Acquire Veteran Reliever Jim Johnson And Cash From Braves

Billy Hurst, Associated Press

The Los Angeles Angels added to their bullpen on Thursday, as veteran right-handed reliever Jim Johnson was acquired in a trade from the Atlanta Braves.

Not only did Los Angeles acquire Johnson, but were given the remaining $1.21 million in international pool space from Atlanta. This increases the Angels’ chances of signing phenom Shohei Ohtani, who was officially posted by the Nippon-Ham Fighters on Friday.

“This deal puts us in a stronger position in our pursuit of Shohei Ohtani,” said Angels general manager Billy Eppler. “This money was acquired with an eye toward that.”

To complete the trade, the Angels parted ways with Minor League left-hander Justin Kelly.

Johnson, 34, has pitched for five different teams in 12 Major League seasons since 2006. He spent 2017 with the Atlanta Braves and struggled, posting a 5.56 ERA in 61 appearances while blowing nine saves in 31 opportunities.

The hard-throwing 6’6” sinkerballer has appeared in at least 54 games in nine of the last 10 years, and at least 65 games in five of the last seven.

Johnson led the American League in saves in 2012 and 2013, with 51 and 50, respectively, for the Baltimore Orioles. He’s the only AL pitcher to record 50 saves in back-to-back seasons, and just the second in Major League history (Eric Gagne, 2002-03).

Since leaving the Orioles after the 2013 season, Johnson has posted a 4.92 ERA, after a 3.11 mark from 2006-13 with Baltimore.