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kj_avoids_arb_-_thank_goodness | February | 2009 Articles

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KJ Avoids Arb -- Thank Goodness

on .

And then there was one...

Kelly Johnson just avoided arbitration by signing a 1-year contract for $2.825 mill. (This is $1 mill more than Stu expected a month ago.) It's about time. He's one of our most valuable assets, and Wren really really really needs to prioritize locking him up long-term, buying out his remaining two arb-eligible years (2010 and 2011) and the first couple years of free agency. Of course, we need to do the same with Yunel and Jurrjens.

Now, of course, we have one arbitration case remaining, and it's Jeff Francoeur. He wants $3.95 million. The Braves offered him $2.8 million, almost the exact same amount they settled on with Kelly. There is no one who could reasonably argue that Francoeur is a comparable player to Kelly; Kelly's a much, much better hitter, and he plays a more important spot on the diamond. It's hard to imagine how Frenchy could win his case, but it underlines how utterly crazy his arbitration request is. He was one of the worst full-time players in all of baseball -- arguably the worst, given the number of plate appearances -- and he wants $4 million in an economy so bad that Bobby Abreu signed for $5 million plus incentives.

Anyway, it's great to get Kelly signed in time for spring training. Let's work on giving him a McCannesque contract to keep him in Atlanta for a long time.

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