NASHVILLE – The Braves quietly avoided arbitration with backup infielder Paul Janish, signing the veteran earlier in the offseason to a one-year contract believed to be worth a little less than $1 million.
The deal went unannounced and came about after Janish agreed to put off having shoulder surgery so he would potentially be available to play for the Braves if they advanced deep into the postseason.
He had surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder soon after their loss to St. Louis in the NL wild card game. Braves general manager Frank Wren said Janish might be back by late April, but they won’t have a better idea of the timetable until spring training.
Janish hit just .186 with a .269 on-base percentage and career-worst .502 OPS in 55 games for the Braves, but was a valuable contributor with steady defense at shortstop while filling in for injured rookie Andrelton Simmons. The Braves got Janish from Cincinnati in a trade after Simmons broke his hand sliding in the last game before the All-Star break.
Janish, who turned 30 in October, dislocated the shoulder making a diving defensive play at shortstop in a Sept. 18 game at Miami. He said he sustained partial dislocations to the same shoulder at least seven or eight times in previous years, but this injury was more severe and included a partially torn labrum.
He made $850,000 last season in his first year of arbitration and was projected to make about $900,000 this year if the Braves had gone through with the arbitration process.
Janish has a .221 career average and .289 OBP with seven homers and 79 RBIs in 379 games during parts of five seasons with the Reds and Braves. His best season was 2010, when he .260 with five homers, 25 RBIs and a .338 OBP in 200 at-bats for the Reds.