Indians cut ties with Chris Johnson, despite owing him $17 million

Chris Johnson hit .289 with one homer and seven RBI in 27 games with the Indians last season.
David Richard

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.

Johnson's release comes 10 days after he was designated for assignment to make room for newly signed outfielder Rajai Davis.