The Detroit Tigers picked up Jim Johnson just 5 days after the Oakland Athletics released him August 1. The Tigers could stand to take the risk on the former closer, turned hardly used reliever with Oakland paying the rest of his $10 million salary. Detroit signed him to a minor league contract and after bringing him up they just had to pay him a pro-rated amount of the league minimum so yes, they could take the chance.
However, should they have taken that chance is the real question. Johnson, who had two 50 save seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, was traded to Oakland in the off season. A week into the season he was removed from the closer role and things continued to go downhill for Johnson from there.
While in Oakland Johnson pitched just 40 innings, giving up 60 hits and 32 earned runs leaving him with a 7.14 ERA. As previously noted he was finally released by the team in early August and was soon picked up by Detroit.
Detroit has had some bullpen issues this season. They had recently picked up Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers but Soria almost immediately ended up on the disabled list after a couple rough outings. Saturday, after pitching just 4.2 innings in the minor leagues and allowing two runs, Johnson was called up from Triple-A Toledo.
To find out what happened when JJ was called into the sixth inning of the Tigers’ game on Saturday use the link below: