Walden had 32 saves in 2011, then lost his closer's role to Ernesto Frieri and was 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA and one save this year. He became superfluous when the Angels agreed this week to a $3.5 million, one-year contract with Ryan Madson.
Walden gives Atlanta another power arm for its bullpen. His fastball has been closed at close to 100 mph, and he had 48 strikeouts in 39 innings this year.
"We've been focused on adding a power arm to our bullpen all offseason," Braves general manager Frank Wren said. "We felt if we added one power arm we would have a bullpen that would stack up with the best bullpens in our league. Jordan Walden has closing experience and the kind of arm that will stack up well in a seventh- and eighth-inning role for us."
Atlanta's rotation returns Tim Hudson, Kris Medlen, Paul Maholm and Mike Minor. Brandon Beachy, who had right elbow ligament-replacement surgery in June, could be back during the second half of the season.
Wren said there will be room for a young starter to emerge for the start of the season.
"We feel like we have a lot of guys that are lining up close to helping us," Wren said.
Hanson was expected to earn about $4 million, possibly clearing more payroll room for another offseason move. The Braves are expected to move Martin Prado from left field to third base as a replacement for Chipper Jones, who has retired.
"We're still looking for left fielder-leadoff guy, but I don't know if that is connected with this deal," Wren said. "We just felt with the way our rotation lined up next year, it would be a good fit to add a guy like Jordan Walden."
The Braves on Friday declined to tender 2013 contract offer to two former prominent members of their staff, right-handed pitchers Jair Jurrjens and Peter Moylan.
Jurrjens was 3-4 with a 6.89 ERA in only 11 games this season. He made his last appearance with Atlanta on July 31. Moylan, a former top setup man, appeared in only eight games.
Atlanta also claimed right-hander David Carpenter off waivers from Boston. The Angels claimed outfielder Scott Cousins off waivers from Seattle.