When the Atlanta Braves took on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series, they were forced to utilize Elliot Johnson as their starting second baseman after the collapse of Dan Uggla. On Monday, the team brought things full circle by declining to offer Johnson (among others) a contract for 2014.
#Braves declined to tender a 2014 contract offer to infielders Paul Janish and Elliot Johnson and RHP Cristhian Martinez
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) December 2, 2013
It certainly isn’t a shock that the Braves non-tendered any of the three players in question, but the fact that Johnson went from playoff starter to unemployed is a bit unsettling. In a vacuum, Johnson doesn’t have quite the skills to be an everyday player at this stage of his career, and the Braves weren’t in desperate need of a utility man after they offered a 1-year deal to Ramiro Pena on Monday.
Janish and Martinez were even simpler decisions (at least on paper) for Atlanta. Janish is a no-bat infielder (career OPS of under .600) without a defined role for next year, and Martinez is coming off of an injury that saw him throw single-digit innings in 2013. However, each guy has contributed to playoff-bound Braves teams in the past, making them bigger names than the “usual” non-tender candidates.
It’s not ever day that a team non-tenders a starter from a playoff team, but in this case, it makes all kinds of sense.