Jim Johnson - Orioles closer

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Orioles are in trade talks with the Dodgers for a deal that would send closer Jim Johnson to LA. Rosenthal says the Birds are “trying hard” to move JJ, who is projected to earn more than $10 million in arbitration this season.

Johnson’s value on the trade market is high, despite his large salary. He has totaled 101 saves over the past two seasons including an American League leading 50 in 2013. Last season, Johnson posted a 2.94 ERA, 3.11 K/BB and 1.280 WHIP, his highest since 2010. He was an All-Star in 2012 and received Cy Young votes for his role in the O’s playoff run.

Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors points out that the Orioles have been linked to a few big name free agents this offseason, but would have to shed some payroll to make them happen. Initially, we were hearing rumblings about the O’s trading Matt Wieters. Dealing Johnson makes much more sense as his value is higher and the Birds have a few internal options to replace him.

Should he be dealt to LA, Johnson would likely be pushed to a setup role behind Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.