With the MLB trade deadline approaching within a week, the Colorado Rockies have traded away relief pitcher Pierce Johnson to the Atlanta Braves per Mark Feinsand.
Following the trade, Feinsand confirmed the Rockies will be receiving Tanner Gordon and Victor Vodnik in exchange for Johnson. Both are right-handed pitchers. Vodnik is also the number 10 prospect in the Braves organization.
This move should come as no surprise to Rockies fans as general manager Bill Schmidt expressed to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post at the beginning of the month that the team would likely move on from some relief pitchers at the deadline.
Johnson played exceptionally well for the Rockies as the team's closer for the first two months of the season. However, until a blown save opportunity against the San Francisco Giants in June, Johnson was removed from the team's closer role as he was struggling in save opportunities.
Johnson, 32, is currently pitching with a 6.00 ERA in 39 innings, followed by a 1-5 record and 58 strikeouts. He originally signed with the Rockies on a one-year contract of $5 million. Johnson will likely be a rental piece for the Braves as they are currently without Nick Anderson who is on the 60-day IL with a right shoulder strain.
Vodnik, 23, was a 14th-round draft pick by the Braves in 2018 right out of high school. This year, he has pitched at the AA level with a 3-1 record, 3.10 ERA with 56 strikeouts and four saves.
Throughout 2021, Vodnik showcased a pitching arsenal consisting of a 98 mph fastball, a slider with a more pronounced drop than a sweeping motion, and a changeup capable of reaching 86 mph. His fastball control is a particular strength, as he effectively targets both the upper and lower portions of the strike zone while relying heavily on it.