Update- Looks like the A’s won the Jim Johnson Sweepstakes. The Dodgers bowed out early. Probably for the best anyways. Maybe they can get the deal done with the beard instead. Hopefully. Man the offseason is weird. —-
Finally some news, but it comes out of nowhere and as somewhat of a surprise. Apparently The Orioles are trying to trade right handed closer Jim Johnson, and guess which team is in the hunt for his services? You guessed it the Dodgers. The name comes as a surprise but the part of the Dodgers looking for an extra reliever doesn’t. it’s likely Brian Wilson will not be returning in 2014, and Johnson would be a viable candidate to replace him. The one big question is, if the Dodgers do trade for him, would he be joining the club as a set-up man? Or would the club push Kenley Jansen out of the closer role again?
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 2, 2013
I would be horribly against moving Jansen out of closer role ever again. The Dodgers tried that again last season by putting Brandon League in that role and it was an utter failure. The Dodgers have tried that for the past two seasons and have had it blow up in their faces every time. Even though Jim Johnson is a much better pitcher than League is by leaps and bounds, heck Johnson and League aren’t even in the same universe, I would still be against usurping Jansen.
Now that doesn’t mean I would be against the idea of trading for Johnson, who has been a pretty good closer over the past couple of years. Johnson is an eight-year MLB veteran who was drafted by the Orioles in the fifth round of the 2001 amateur draft, and has spent his entire career in Baltimore. Johnson has posted a career 3.11 ERA and 122 saves since his MLB debut in 2006. The former all-star has had two consecutive seasons of 50+ saves, and three consecutive seasons of a sub 3.00 ERA. Last season he pitched in 74 games, and posted a 2.94 ERA, with a 7.2 Whiff per nine rate, and a 2.6 BB/9 rate in 70.1 innings pitched.
Johnson saved 50 games last season leading the American League, and tying for the Major League lead. The right hander also saved 51 games in 2012. While he doesn’t have huge strikeout stuff, he has been an effective ground ball pitcher. He’s not great but pretty good.
According to Ken Rosenthal Johnson is projected to earn 10.8 million dollars in arbitration and the Orioles are looking to shed some salary. Supposedly the Orioles are severely limited by their budgetary restraints. Another question would be who would the Dodgers be willing to trade, and what are the Orioles looking to get back?
I don’t really have a problem with trading for Johnson, as long as the price is right. if the Dodgers want to use him for the seventh or eighth innings then that’s fine. But please do not, I repeat do not remove Jansen from the closer role ever again.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Johnson is third year arbitration eligible, and made 6.5 million dollars last season. We’ll keep you apprised as this situation unfolds.