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Braves acquire Rockies reliever Pierce Johnson for two prospects

The Braves added an additional arm to their shaky bullpen by acquiring Johnson from the Rockies for two prospects.

 Pierce Johnson of the Colorado Rockies reacts after conceding a three-run home run in the top of the 10th inning to the Detroit Tigers at Coors Field on July 1, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves added another weapon to the thinnest part of their team Monday, as they acquired reliever Pierce Johnson from the Rockies for pitching prospects Victor Vodnik and Tanner Gordon, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

Johnson, who was in his first year with the Rockies, has a 6.00 ERA, 13 saves, and 58 strikeouts in 39 innings this year with the Rockies, but, as Feinsand points out, he has a 3.27 ERA in his last 12 appearances. Prior to joining the Rockies, Johnson spent time with the Cubs and Giants before spending three seasons (2020-’22) with the Padres, where he had a 3.39 ERA in 93 innings. He ranks in the 90th percentile in strikeout rate and 84th percentile in whiff rate, but he’s also in the bottom percentile in hard-hit rate and the 4th percentile in walk rate.

While Vodnik (Atlanta’s No. 10 prospect, per MLB Pipeline) and Gordon (No. 26) have yet to reach the bigs with Atlanta, it’s hard to imagine they won’t make their debuts this season on a Rockies team going nowhere. Vodnik offers a bit of boom or bust in his profile, as he’s a reliever with a fastball that’s touched triple digits in the past, he struggled with injuries in 2021 and ‘22, but has been healthy this year and has a 3.10 ERA in 40 2/3 innings in Double-A. The 25-year-old Gordon pitched okay at Double-A this year (4.61 ERA in 56 2/3 innings), but has struggled since getting promoted to Triple-A, going 1-4 with a 8.28 ERA in 29 1/3 innings.