Athletics Designate Jim Johnson For Assignment

12:04pm: The A’s announced that they have actually designated Johnson for assignment, not released him (though that could obviously be the ultimate outcome of the move). Evan Scribner has been recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to fill his roster spot.

11:55am: The A’s have released right-hander Jim Johnson, a source tells Jane Lee of (Twitter link).

The 31-year-old Johnson was acquired by the A’s this offseason in a salary dump that sent Jemile Weeks and David Freitas to the Orioles. While many Baltimore fans were shaken by the deal after seeing Johnson lead the league in saves in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons, the move proved to be a wise decision by the O’s, as Johnson has struggled to a 6.92 ERA with 6.3 K/9, 5.1 BB/9 and a 56.8 percent ground-ball rate in 40 1/3 innings this season with Oakland. He lost his ninth-inning role to Sean Doolittle early in the season.

Johnson is earning $10MM in 2014 after avoiding arbitration for the final time this past winter. The A’s will eat the remaining $3.66MM on his contract if he is ultimately released. It seems unlikely that any team would claim him on waivers or trade for him as a result of that salary, though a team could show some interest if Oakland pays a large portion of the deal.

67 Responses to Athletics Designate Jim Johnson For Assignment Leave a Reply

  1. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

    Wont be long before someone takes a chance on him at league minimum.

    • Ivan 11 months ago

      I hope the Marlins are that team. he was great in baltimore and the marlins were reportadingly wanting to trade for him so now they can get him without losing a prospect

      • Casual_Economy 11 months ago

        I don’t think they were going to lose anything to get him. His value is very low.

      • deadgeorge 11 months ago

        Don’t think there was a prospect involved or else he would have been traded.

        • Ivan 11 months ago

          I remember seeing that there was a trade proposed of Adam Conley for Johnson but the Marlins were very hesitant to pull the trigger

      • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

        The Marlins were never going to trade a prospect for Johnson. They were going to trade their comp pick for him but chose instead to trade the pick to the Cubs and use the money on Gregg.

  2. Derek 11 months ago

    I’d love to see the Birds pick him back up. Hopefully, the poor guy just needs a change of scenery and the dominant stuff is still in there somewhere.

  3. sourbob 11 months ago

    Relievers sometimes have awful seasons with little warning. But barring injury, a big chunk of the ones who were good before end up good again. Johnson will be back.

  4. Bleed_Orange 11 months ago

    Back to Baltimore… can’t be much worse than what we have in the pen now

    • Lefty_Orioles_Fan 11 months ago

      No, enough is enough!
      Let him try his luck somewhere else.

    • Derek 11 months ago

      Last night notwithstanding, what’s wrong with our pen? Our back of the bullpen has been stellar, and Mac, Brach, and Webb have held down the middle pretty well.

      • Bleed_Orange 11 months ago

        Just feels like every time Matusz and Hunter get into the game they blow the lead. Maybe I’m just jaded lol

        • snowbladerp14 11 months ago

          hunter was hurt in the beginning of the season. he just had 10 straight games or so without giving up a run

        • Derek 11 months ago

          Maybe a little, haha. I agree Matusz isn’t the same player as the last couple of years but Hunter has been sick since he lost the closer job.

        • basemonkey 11 months ago

          If we’re a playoff team, then every warm body occupying a roster spot needs to contribute. I think Showalter realizes that, so he’s trying to get certain guys in a groove and productive. Matusz is one of them. Last night was a playoff atmosphere, and he needs that type of experience, of performing in a high adrenaline anxious moment. He failed, but who knows? Maybe down the road, in another moment, last night helped him be familiar with that level of intensity and perform better?

          • basemonkey 11 months ago

            Regarding Hunter, he just hasn’t been able to get much of anything going this year. Just remember the setup man role he had going last year, before he started closing. He was coming in at the 8th inning and just throwing 98 mph gas. He was great. He hasn’t gotten back to that yet, but it’s in there somewhere.

    • basemonkey 11 months ago

      Our pen has been pretty good. The overall numbers say they’re league average, but over the last month+ they’ve been outstanding against strong teams.

  5. Hopper15 11 months ago

    about time!

  6. Danny Colston 11 months ago

    I can see the Braves jumping on something like this.

  7. norcalbb 11 months ago

    no more 0IP 4ER games!!!

    • disadvantage 11 months ago

      Hey now! It was 3ER, 4R on 0 IP. I believe Jim Johnson would like you to know that.

  8. BigEd 11 months ago

    He struggled every game he pitched in. Amazing for a guy who lead the league in saves the last 2 years with Baltimore. The A’s highest paid player at $10 mill and it’s worst player. They sure miss Grant Balfour who’s hating it in TB.

    • norcalbb 11 months ago

      the A’s are much better off without Johnson and Balfour

    • Snoochies8 11 months ago

      Don’t miss Balfour at all

      • Iconoclast17 11 months ago

        Balfour was very good in Oakland. They don’t miss him because Doolittle (for the most part) has assumed the closer’s role and they are very deep in the pen. Remember, Balfour set the franchise record for most consecutive saves. Meanwhile, Johnson set the record for most consecutive poor performances—a complete waste of $10 million. Weeks was no loss (like Barton and Taylor) but man he was awful. And, Beane stubbornly stuck with Johnson waaayyyy too long.

  9. Hoosierdaddy92 11 months ago

    Hope the Tigers snag him up and he winds up being one of the relievers that helps them beat the A’s again this year haha

    • liberalconservative 11 months ago

      Hope he is your closer in the playoffs. I would be calling my bookie and bet all green.

      • Hoosierdaddy92 11 months ago

        He’d probably be 4th on the depth chart for them at closer. If he were the closer, I’d probably short my Tigers too.

        • liberalconservative 11 months ago

          He was sixth on the A’s and still pitched poorly.

    • norcalbb 11 months ago

      I hope the Tigers get all of the washed up closers too! Would make for a short postseason for Detroit

  10. Billy Beane might be a wizard, but moves like this show that sometimes he’s just the Wizard of Oz behind the booth.

    • Brendan Purcell 11 months ago

      40 IP and only 2 losses…i’m not sure this move takes away from his wizard status at all…

      • norcalbb 11 months ago

        because the only stat that matters for a reliever, is his losses…

        • Brendan Purcell 11 months ago

          That was not my point at all. Considering that you guys are faulting Beane for this one failed experiment, it’s pretty impressive that that failure really didn’t hurt the A’s that much at all. He was a non-factor in the bullpen.

          • norcalbb 11 months ago

            I’m not faulting Beane at all, I’m faulting Johnson for be terrible

      • Are 40 poor innings worth 10 million? And if so, why isn’t he still on the team?

        • liberalconservative 11 months ago

          Its better to have a GM that makes mistakes than one that is afraid to make a mistake. hint hint phillies

          • I agree. I’m merely pointing out that Beane is not infallible. This looked like an odd move when he made it.

          • liberalconservative 11 months ago

            Bad scouting reports. JJ was still pitching well when picked up for about nothing. Beane has made many mistakes but as long as your good trade out weigh your bad trades all is good. Glad to see his trade offer for Headly from a few years ago didn’t go through.

    • bg7kd 11 months ago

      Yes Jim Johnson played poorly but lets think of it in this sense
      1) The A’s had leverage when signing Doolittle or Cook to extensions If we did not get Johnson then Doolittle and Cook would have been worth much more to sign since they get higher save totals and saves = money. Therefore we reduced the cost of Doolittle.

      2) Grant Balfour wanted a two year deal. If Billy Beane gave him the two year deal we would lose a young reliever to free agency where they could make money. Is Grant Balfour worth more than Sean Doolittle? In Billy’s eyes and most A’s fans eyes the answer should be no.

      Now I hope this is how Billy was thinking. This is how I would perceive the situation. I think in the end Jim played poorly because most A’s fans(myself included at times) did not want him here. He was not Grant Balfour who most A’s fans had started to love and adore(I was never high on Balfour, but that’s my opinion on him).

      I want to wish Jim the best of luck..

      • This looks like the Chewbacca defense.

        Let’s look at this way. It wasn’t a good trade.

        • bg7kd 11 months ago

          I guess that’s a difference of opinions. The A’s potentially would save more then the 10 million they lost.

          • Jim Johnson was a good not great closer making too much money as a result of the arbitration system, which has no idea what to do with closers. He didn’t even need to be an option and he shouldn’t have been.

          • Iconoclast17 11 months ago

            The trade was OK because Weeks is not a good player. The money is paid by the owners because Oakland is a welfare recipient in their structure, crying poverty and collecting the hand-out every year. Still, Johnson was an epic fail, as you assert. And, last night’s game is exhibit A in how NOT to use a bullpen. Trying to please Beane, Melvin kept forcing Johnson into games—even in easy situations with big leads. No way Doolittle and Gregerson should have pitched last night save for Bean’s intransigence on getting rid of Johnson.

  11. Snoochies8 11 months ago

    Man, it’s really too bad he didn’t work out. He just had no command/control whatsoever. He’ll turn it around though, even through all of his struggles he still had some of the best stuff in the bullpen. Once he goes back to figuring out where his pitches are going he’ll be fine

  12. josebatista89 11 months ago

    I hope the Mets pounce on him.

  13. Jeff McMillan 11 months ago

    This guy has great stuff. Closing got to him. But with 5 pitches stretching him back out to be a starter might be what he needs.

  14. Seamaholic 11 months ago

    How’s a DFA for a highly paid veteran work? Assuming he declines the designation, he then becomes a complete FA? Is he subject to waiver claims?

    • deadgeorge 11 months ago

      He can be claimed, but the claiming team would have to pick up his remaining salary. He does not have trade protection or ten and five rights or anything. If he passes through waivers, it is then highly unlikely that he will accept a minor league assignment, and at that point he will be released and become a free agent.

    • I believe with more than 5 years of service time he can reject a minor league assignment.

      For players with less than 5 years of service time, if they have been DFA’d more than once within a certain period of time they can also elect free agency (could be slightly off here though).

  15. deadgeorge 11 months ago

    I dont know if the author cares, but Johnson actually lost the closer job to Luke Gregerson, who then lost the job to Sean Doolittle, who then struggled, which led to a closer by committee, from which Doolittle eventually emerged with the job.

    • Iconoclast17 11 months ago

      So, essentially the writer is correct—Doolittle is the closer.

  16. selw0nk 11 months ago

    Finally! :)

  17. Jack Cox 11 months ago

    My guess is someone takes a chance on him and asks him to fix his stuff. I bet you if the Rays get a hold of him he turns out to be something amazing.

  18. bobbleheadguru 11 months ago

    Sometimes is it just mental. Genius pitching coach could just make something up to “fix him”. As long as he believes, that is all that matters.

    “Just move 2 inches to the left on the rubber and release a 1/4 inch lower.” Does not really matter if there really is anything there. Just make him think that all he needs to regain his confidence.

    “Placebo effect” not possible in Oakland anymore. He need a change of scenery. Perhaps he goes back to Baltimore.

  19. Gumby65 11 months ago

    Yet somehow, Chris Perez still has a job.

  20. disadvantage 11 months ago

    Where is the commenter with the username Jim Johnson when you need him?

  21. GetToTheChoppa 11 months ago

    Well the padres need a closer. Give Black and Balsley some time with him and he may turn it around.

  22. willywater88 11 months ago

    Why did the A’s make this move in the first place? Acquiring high priced relief pitchers is very un Billy Beane like.

  23. agureghian 11 months ago

    The good news is Evan Scribner is tearing it up in AAA.
    8.14 k/bb

  24. tierlifer 11 months ago

    The pride of Union-Endicott High School

  25. Sage 11 months ago

    If he doesn’t get claimed (which, with that salary, he won’t), and elects free agency, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Brewers pick him up. Change of scenery, maybe he gets it back together.

  26. Gold 11 months ago

    I think the Orioles should pick up Jim Johnson again. I don’t think that the atmosphere in Oakland helped him any, and I am sure the constant booing didn’t help along with the annoying back round noise the fans make. I think if he were to head back home things might just work out for him more. However, I would get him on a minor league deal instead of a major league deal and let him build his confidence back up.

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