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Chris Johnson came over from Arizona along with Justin Upton.
It will not be easy to follow the Chipper Jones show, but there would be at least a little bit of irony if Atlanta’s next third baseman also has the initials C.J.
In fact, it might just be fitting for Chris Johnson to follow Jones at the hot corner.
He told Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he welcomes the opportunity:
“I’m excited to play third. I know the history over there. Got some shoes to fill, going to do the best I can and try to just make sure that I play Chris Johnson’s game and obviously not Chipper Jones’ game.”
A Florida resident like Jones, Johnson played his collegiate ball at Stetson University under the guidance of Pete Dunn, who is Jones' godfather. As Rogers pointed out, that allowed Johnson, a Braves fan growing up, the opportunity to get to know the Jones family.
Johnson, 28, split his 2012 season between the Houston Astros and the Diamondbacks, and set career-bests in virtually every offensive category. Among those were 48 extra-base hits and 76 RBI while playing in 136 games.
As the less-heralded part of the trade with Arizona, which landed Justin Upton in Atlanta, Johnson brings a solid bat to a lineup that is sizing up to be one of the most powerful in the majors.
His run in Arizona was short, but that had more to do with the fact that the Braves were in need of a viable third base option after including Martin Prado in the deal for Upton.
There will not be many comparisons between Jones and Johnson besides the position they play and the home state the share. Johnson is more impatient at the plate, less likely to take walks and more prone to strikeouts than Jones.
Johnson ranks toward the bottom in most metrics defensively, as Mark Bowman of MLB.com pointed out:
The concerns about [Johnson] center around his defense. He had a -10.7 UZR/150 defensive rating last year. The only player with a lower mark was Detroit's Miguel Cabrera with a -11.2.
However, he can drive in his fair share of runs and could also shift over to first base and give Freeman the occasional day off against a tough lefty pitcher.
The starting job was not handed to Johnson upon his arrival. Manager Fredi Gonzalez will give extended looks to both Johnson and Juan Francisco, who flashed some power in limited at-bats with Atlanta last year.