The Cleveland Indians have officially released infielder Chris Johnson Tuesday, despite owing him $17.5 million.
The Indians acquired Johnson from the Braves in August, in a deal that swapped two bad contracts for one. Cleveland sent Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher to Atlanta, in exchange for Johnson — who is owed $7.5 million in 2016, $9 million in 2017, and a $1 million buyout in 2018.
Johnson, 31, hit .289/.312/.367 in 27 games for the Indians last season and .235/.272/.320 in 56 games for the Braves. He had two solid seasons for Atlanta in 2012 and 2013, prompting the Braves to give him a $23 million contract extension prior to the 2014 season.
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Johnson's release comes 10 days after he was designated for assignment to make room for newly signed outfielder Rajai Davis.