The Braves added a potential bench player Friday by getting infielder/outfielder Micah Johnson from the Dodgers in a trade for cash or a player to be named later.
Johnson, 26, is a former Indiana University standout and ex-White Sox prospect who has shown good speed and on-base potential in the minor leagues but struggled in limited playing time in the majors over parts of two seasons. He was designated for assignment by the Dodgers on Tuesday.
The left-handed hitter has a .226 average and .299 OBP with four extra-base hits (all doubles) and 31 strikeouts in 106 at-bats in 43 major league games, including 36 with the White Sox in 2015 and seven games (six plate appearance) with the Dodgers in 2016.
“Micah brings a unique skill set and still has a lot of upside,” Braves general manager John Coppolella said. “We are excited to see what he looks like in spring training.”
He’s played almost exclusively at second base in the majors, but Johnson made 34 starts in the outfield (14 in center, 20 in left) in Triple-A last season and two starts at third base, a position he also played plenty in college. He could potentially provide skills similar to Mallex Smith, whom the Braves traded this week for a pair of Mariners pitching prospects.
A ninth-round draft pick out of Indiana in 2012, Johnson was a solid prospect with the White Sox and got his first call to the majors in 2015, the year he hit .315 with a .375 OBP and 28 extra-base hits (eight home runs) and 28 stolen bases in 78 games for Triple-A Charlotte.
He struggled that year in the majors with a .230 average, .306 OBP and four extra-base hits in 113 plate appearances for the White Sox. Johnson was shipped to the Dodgers in a December 2015 three-team trade that sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox and sent former Braves infielder Jose Peraza and two minor leaguers to the Reds.
The Braves signed “super utility” player Sean Rodriguez — he can play seven positions — to a two-year free-agent contract in November and could have Rodriguez share time at second base with versatile Jace Peterson until prospect Ozzie Albies is ready to take over at some point in 2017. They also have incumbent utility man Chase d’Arnaud on the roster.