Jim Johnson recorded 101 saves between 2012 and 2013 as the Baltimore Orioles closer. Now he’s in a mop up role in the Oakland Athletics bullpen and is sporting a 6.25 ERA over 40.1 innings pitched.
The O’s dumped Johnson’s salary, $10 million in arbitration, to the A’s in return for for minor league infielder Jemile Weeks. The move was heavily criticized nationally, but Billy Beane has basically been trying to find a trade partner for JJ ever since.
The Marlins appeared interested, but that fell through and ESPN’s Jayson Stark recently tweeted about another interested team — the O’s.
Sources say #Orioles & #Athletics talked about a Balt reunion for Jim Johnson a few weeks ago but Orioles ultimately decided against it
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 21, 2014
Stark reports that the Birds were ultimately the ones that turned down the deal, but it certainly appears that there was at least of a chance of Johnson coming back to Baltimore.
Johnson’s decline has been straight up depressing. I feel for the guy. Honestly, I still miss hearing “The Pretender” in the ninth inning. Nothing against Zach Britton‘s choice of “For Those About To Rock”. Johnson seems to be giving up line drives at a higher pace than his career average (21.5% / 17.9%) while his HR/FB percentage is way up (17.9% / 8.7%).
Image Credit: Keith Allison