Newly-acquired Johnson experiences first trade

When the Chicago Cubs pulled Reed Johnson in the middle of the fifth inning Monday night, on the eve of the trade deadline, just as he was about to take the plate for the second time in a big offensive inning, everybody knew he’d been traded.

What nobody in the stands, national TV audience, or Twitter universe, nor even Johnson, knew was where.

After 10 years in the major leagues, the 35-year-old reserve outfielder felt what it was like to be traded for the first time in his career. He gave his teammates hugs and handshakes in the dugout but didn’t find out where he was going until general manager Jed Hoyer met him in the clubhouse. It was Atlanta.

“Just excitement to come to this organization,” said Johnson, explaining his emotions while standing in front of a new locker in Atlanta about 17 hours later. “…I know they’ve got a good group of guys, and it’s exciting to come over to a group like that that’s not only a good group of guys but a good group of guys that’s only a few games out of first place as well.”

On his feet were a pair of Dan Uggla’s size 9 ½ black shoes. All his old cleats, and shirts and socks for that matter, were royal blue. “I’m thinking I’m going to go into my locker and pack for a normal road trip and I’m looking at all my stuff, I’m like ‘Can’t take anything,’” he said.

What made it south on his 9:30 a.m. flight to Atlanta Tuesday morning was his glove, a bat bag, a rolling suitcase and a suit which hung in his locker. He came straight to Turner Field to meet his new teammates. He’d check into his hotel after Tuesday night’s game.

Wife and two young kids will come later, as will a shipment of more equipment from the Cubs clubhouse attendants.

Johnson compared last night to April 11, the day his daughter Jordyn was born.

“I was up at a 2 in the morning, she was born at 7, then I went over to the field at 11:45 for a 1 p.m. game,” Johnson said. “I was kind of in a daze. That’s kind of where I’m at right now.”

Johnson said he hadn’t been pulled from a game like that since he got his first major league call-up from Triple-A in 2003. Waiting for him in Atlanta Tuesday was the same manager who’d greeted him on his arrival in Toronto back then – Braves bench coach Carlos Tosca.

Tosca has been raving about Johnson for years, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said, sentiments he and the front office shared. Braves general manager Frank Wren said shortly after the trade Monday night that Johnson was the Braves’ top choice for a bench piece and has been since last July.

“Every time we come in town and I see Carlos and Fredi (Gonzalez) and those guys, they’ll always mention it,” Johnson said. “’Hey we’re trying to get you over here.’ You’ve been around for 10 years and I’ve never been traded. It’s almost like you believe it when you’re packing your stuff up. Obviously I’m believing now. I’m in the clubhouse. It actually happened.”

The Braves optioned Jose Constanza to Triple-A Gwinnett to make room for Johnson on the roster.

Johnson has other ties to the Braves. He’s a native of Riverside, Calif. but lives in Las Vegas during the offseason and works the same baseball camps as Greg Maddux. He played with Eric Hinske for four years with the Blue Jays. “He gets his uniform dirty just like Martin (Prado),” Hinske said.

And Johnson’s father grew up a Braves fan in upstate New York.

“He’s always been a fan of whatever team I played for,” Johnson said. “But now I’m sure he’s really going to be fired up.”

Johnson will get his first start on Wednesday against Marlins left-hander Wade LeBlanc. And this time he’ll be going on a good nights’ sleep.

“When you think about the whole picture, it’s kind of overwhelming,” Johnson said. “(But) knock out one thing at a time. Everybody around here has been really helpful so far.”

34 comments Add your comment


July 31st, 2012
8:31 pm

Glad Johnson is a Brave now. Always been a fan of his.


July 31st, 2012
8:35 pm

Welcome to Atlanta, Reed!

Tater in Afghanistan

July 31st, 2012
8:35 pm

Dare I say it?


July 31st, 2012
8:37 pm

Great story Carroll and great quotage! thanks.

Peachtree John

July 31st, 2012
8:38 pm

Don’t know one thing about him. Just trust that the Braves know much about him and that he plays and contributes as never before. Welcome to Atlanta.

Tater in Afghanistan

July 31st, 2012
8:43 pm

Shhhwwwww….glad I didn’t have to use the F word. You know….first.

Higg Papi

July 31st, 2012
8:53 pm

ALWAYS been a huge fan of Reed Johnson. He was actually my favorite player back when I played in high school and he was in Toronto. Just a hardcore baseball rat. Gritty and full of hustle, not to mention stats that rival some of the game’s best. Perfect addition.

Darryl Blackberry

July 31st, 2012
8:59 pm

This guy is Klesko-esque in his intensity. Glad to have him, and glad to hear he’s happy to be playing for the Bravos!


July 31st, 2012
9:01 pm

Hold on, it says he’s never been traded, but he’s played for the Blue Jays, then played for the Cubs?


July 31st, 2012
9:03 pm

I guess from the free agent signing. However, he made it seem like he’s never been on other teams.


July 31st, 2012
9:05 pm

hey DOB nothing about tarp off????

Big Cubbie Fan Forever

July 31st, 2012
9:05 pm

I was sorry to see Reed go. I always liked him & the way he plays the game. Hope he can help the Braves out this year & the Cubbies get him back next year (One can hope)


July 31st, 2012
9:25 pm

nice addition a proven MLB ballplayer


July 31st, 2012
9:34 pm

Nice reaction by Reed to the trade. Contrast with Dempster. Sure glad we didn’t end up with him!


July 31st, 2012
9:36 pm

A welcome addition to our Braves. He appears to be a classy guy and a baller! Welcome to Braves Country, Mr. Johnson!


July 31st, 2012
9:49 pm

heck if Tosca thinks he’s good..that’s all I need.

(wait, didn’t Tosca once say he thought Uggla was team’s best hitter?)

Quack Quack

July 31st, 2012
9:54 pm

Welcome to ATL Reed, we’re glad you’re here!!

Nice game so far by Medlen & Team!! Go Philthys (just for this series ;-) )


Eric in Tampa

July 31st, 2012
10:02 pm

Johnson’s “good nights’ sleep” is going to be a lot shorter thanks to this rain delay! Good to have him on board, I think he’ll make an impact. Need Hinske to get it going


July 31st, 2012
10:09 pm

For the fans who do not know Reed Johnson just sit and enjoy him. Great Great pickup for the Braves.


July 31st, 2012
10:11 pm

glad there’s finally a “johnson” in Atlanta


July 31st, 2012
10:18 pm

Welcome to Atlanta, Reed! I hope you can continue pinch hitting at a high level. We really need your RH bat.


July 31st, 2012
10:31 pm

He’s probably asleep in the dugout right now!


July 31st, 2012
10:53 pm

Isn’t it amazing and wonderful that the bandwagon Phillies fan that have come to these blogs over the past few years have been so conspicuously silent???

I’ve always liked the Phillies team…Utley, Howard, Rollins, Halladay, etc. But god I swear, the Philly fans are one miserable group!!

lee maye

August 1st, 2012
12:29 am

JJ mops up tonight. Hopefully, to Gwinnett tomorrow. We need to keep Gearin and the lefty Avilan up. At least until Hanson returns. Only 31 days until rosters expand: Need Constanza and Durango for speed; Mejia for a RH bat, and Pastornicky back up for the infield.

Good hitting by Pastornicky and Francisco tonight. Francisco hot with 9-19 streak. Where were the fools that wanted him released? Given the chance next year, Francisco will hit about .265 with 25 HR and 75 RBI’s. Book it.

We don’t need a 3B. We need a LF and a CF. Put Prado at 2B and trade Uggla .209 and 185 K’s. Wren will now have about 38 mil to spend on the team, 51 mil if he can find a taker for Uggla.

Jim Pierce

August 1st, 2012
6:57 am

Uggla is fine. And he will get going again. Probably at a time when the rest of the guys aren’t hitting. His defense is stellar, and his attitude and hustle are the same. Leave Dan alone.


August 1st, 2012
8:24 am

Carroll, nice backgrounder. You deserve your own logo, BTW!


August 1st, 2012
10:02 am

No, Uggla is not fine. He is a SURE OUT and not just an out but a STRIKEOUT. Which means runners do not move up or score. Another word for “streaky” is inconsistent. Uggla is not “streaky”, he is INCONSISTENT. He needs to work it out in the minors, not here at the BIG SHOW.


August 1st, 2012
10:19 am

With almost any other 2nd baseman in baseball, the Braves would be 6-8 games ahead of the Nats. Uggla has cost them a good ten wins with his poor at-bats and lack of range in the field.


August 1st, 2012
10:47 am

archie, Uggla is 3rd in runs and 5th in RBI among all MLB second basemen.

Amber Girl

August 1st, 2012
11:26 am

Good morning Mr Rick. Why is everyone down on Mr Uggla? He is still a Brave. It is OK if I call you Mister. Just showing respect.


August 1st, 2012
12:38 pm

Hopefully we’ll meet the Rangers in the World Series this year. Maholm will get a start and a win in the series and Reed Johnson will take Dempster deep to clinch it for the Bravos. Man, would that be great or what??


August 1st, 2012
1:32 pm

His name is Zack Greinke :) @ approx. 18-20 mil/yr

Just got back so I know I’m late, but this statement… Greinke isn’t signing for less than what Cain got in AAV. He already turned down a Cain-esque offer. He’s getting more than $20M a year. Greater than $21M a year for Greinke.

September 24th, 2013
9:42 am


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