Blue Jays starter Josh Johnson has cleared waivers, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. While this means that Johnson may be traded freely to any team, as Heyman notes, a trade remains rather unlikely.
Johnson's first season outside of the Marlins organization has had some moments of promise, but has largely been a disaster. After a dominating 2010-2011 stretch was interrupted by injury, Johnson put up a 3.81 ERA over a full 2012 (albeit with a below-career-average 2.54 K/BB ratio). Entering 2013, baseball was anxious to see how Johnson adapted to the AL East. While he has shown the ability to generate strikeouts on a consistent basis, Johnson has been hit hard. He currently sports a 6.20 ERA over 81 1/3 innings, and a WHIP of 1.66.
On the bright side, Johnson's 9.2 K/9 is the best of his career, and the 3.3 BB/9 he has surrendered is not out of line with his recent track record. Johnson's FIP is 4.62 and his xFIP is a much more promising 3.60. A brief glance at two other key metrics — BABIP against (.356) and HR/FB% (18.5%) — show that Johnson has probably been a bit unlucky this year.
The big righty is owed about $4MM more for the remaining of this season, and thereafter will enter free agency. With the Jays still weighing whether to extend Johnson a qualifying offer, and no team apparently willing to take on his full salary for the rest of the year, there does not seem to be much likelihood of a deal. Of course, Johnson's last start (5 innings, no earned) was an improvement, and a string of solid outings could restore some of his luster. Either way, Johnson promises to be one of the most interesting players to watch on the free agent market for 2014.
As always, you can keep track of players that have cleared trade waivers right here.