You read the headline correctly. SMH. Will anyone ever learn? The Oakland Athletics should have learned that regardless of his back-to-back 50 games seasons Jim Johnson was still blowing somewhere in the vicinity of 10 saves a year.
They should have noticed at spring training when he was giving up one to two runs per innings pitched? I was there. It happened. I remember thinking, “This guy is the new closer?”
Unfortunately the answer to that was yes. From a disasterous Opening Night to the many games I don’t want to remember, Jim Johnson just could not throw a baseball anymore.
Even though the A’s didn’t want to lose the $10 million they had spent to bring Johnson over from the Baltimore Orioles the previous winter the Athletics let him go and put Sean Doolittle in his place which would have worked out better through the season if they’d had a little offense in the second half of the season but that is not what this story is about.
It’s about the Atlanta Braves signing Jim Johnson to a one-year $1.6 million contract laden with up to 900,000 in incentives. I do hope that he earns those incentives but I do believe that is just a little too optimistic.
After being let go by the A’s, Johnson was picked up by the Detroit Tigers about a week later. They let him pitch in a game and it was disaster right from the start. From his only outing in Triple-A to his first outings with the Tigers, it was just rough.
And then, the Tigers had no use for the tall right-hander either. Lucky for them he wasn’t costing $10 million dollars, just a minor league deal but the moral of the story is that Jim Johnson just doesn’t have what it takes anymore.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney the team is willing to take a risk on the sinkerball pitcher because of their pitching coach Roger McDowell who has a good track record working with sinkerball pitchers.
Part of the reason why the Braves are taking a shot w/Jim Johnson is Roger McDowell’s excellent history working with sinker ball pitchers.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 3, 2014
According to MLB.com the Braves are intending to use him in the setup role with their ace Craig Kimbrel closing.
My advice to the Braves is if you are going to use Johnson before Kimbrel be prepared for many extra inning games where Kimbrel might not even get into the games.
I don’t dislike Johnson as a person but I think that his skills were deteriorating even in Baltimore and I just think that they are not coming back after this large of a fall. I don’t know what the Braves are thinking?! All I can really say is “Good Luck with that.”