According to the Orioles Insider blog on the Baltimore Sun’s website, Orioles reliever Jim Johnson will be optioned to AAA Norfolk to make room for starter Brad Bergesen. Johnson’s performance in the bullpen this year has been disappointing based on what he has shown the passed 2 years, but this move is somewhat surprising to me. The move was made because Johnson, unlike Matt Albers, has minor league options left, but I wonder how Johnson deals with the demotion. He has been a significant part of the Orioles ‘pen since 2008 and it seemed like he would be a fixture for years to come. Johnson struggled when he was made the closer following the George Sherrill trade and I have to wonder how much his confidence took a hit. If confidence is what Johnson is lacking, it seems like a demotion will send him spiraling further.The Orioles sent Bergesen down and recalled him quickly, perhaps they have that in mind for Johnson.
There is a looming numbers crunch awaiting the O’s bullpen. With Koji Uehara almost ready to come off the disables list, the club will need to option of release another reliever. If Albers is waived, he would likely clear waivers due to his poor performance. It is amazing that a poor bullpen, like the Orioles, has had numbers crunches over the last 2 seasons. It is one thing to have a numbers crunch at a well performing position, but t his is not the type of predicament the O’s brass wants to be in.