Blue Jays right-hander Josh Johnson recieved some unfortunate news yesterday when he learned that his season is officially over. Gregor Chisholm and Evan Peaslee of MLB.com reported that a visit with Dr. James Andrews revealed that Johnson's strained right forearm wouldn't require surgery but would still put an end to his 2013 campaign.
It's hard to see Johnson, who hasn't pitched since Aug. 6, cashing in on a hefty deal this winter, given his overall struggles. Johnson gave Toronto 16 starts in total this season, racking up a 6.20 ERA with 9.2 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a 45.1 percent ground-ball rate. Optimists could look to Johnson's 4.61 FIP, 3.58 xFIP and 3.73 SIERA and expect a rebound. More than 18 percent of fly-balls allowed by Johnson left the yard — an eight percent increase over the league average. Because of that unnaturally high rate, there's reason to believe more in his K/BB numbers than his home run totals. Johnson carried a 7.2 percent HR/FB ratio into the 2013 season.
It once seemed likely that the Blue Jays would extend Johnson the qualifying offer of nearly $14MM to ensure draft pick compensation if he signed elsewhere, but that's far from a given at this point. It's not inconceivable that the 29-year-old could still fetch a decent offer in a thin pitching market. At this point though, it looks likely that the Blue Jays will get stuck with the bill on a player who has not panned out for them as they hoped when they acquired him along with Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle in last November's blockbuster with the Marlins.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.