Padres starter Josh Johnson finally began playing catch for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in April, MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports. The veteran righty is expected to begin a throwing program over the coming months.
The Padres hold a $4MM option over Johnson by virtue of his injury-shortened 2014 season. That could still be a steep price to pay given the uncertainty, though last year’s Gavin Floyd contract comes to mind as an equivalently-valued payout for a recovering pitching arm.
San Diego’s decision must be made within three days of the conclusion of the World Series, says Brock, meaning the club will have little time to gauge his progress before acting. As Brock notes, the Padres have a solid cast of rotation options already, though Johnson could make particular sense if the team is inclined to deal away one of its better pitching assets for help elsewhere.
As Brock previously reported, new GM A.J. Preller has said that the team has a “positive feel” for Johnson, though he implied that a straightforward exercise of the option may not be the likeliest scenario. “We’ll try to go down the road with him and try to present something to him that makes sense to him,” said Preller.
The team was clearly impressed by Johnson despite his inability to contribute on the field, as he was an active part of the organization during his rehab. For his part, Johnson expressed admiration for the way he was treated. “I look at it [his time in San Diego] as unfinished business,” said Johnson. “… I’ve actually learned more this year than any other year in the past put together. And as far as the organization goes, I couldn’t have hoped for anything better.”
They could sign him and flip him for perhaps a mid-level prospect. He might be able to give 150 innings, or he might also be able to do 70-80 in the bullpen as he regains his strength. It’s not the worst investment
I don’t see a sign and trade as likely in most situations given the human element involved. There are a few things at stake beyond the game for a player. It might not be written in the contract, but a basic agreement of good faith needs to be applied.
There is no sign and trade in MLB…
What is the status of a contract that does not contain a no trade clause? It’s certainly possible to see players dealt within the season.
Yeah … they absolutely could pick up his option and immediately trade him.
I think it’d be more likely they not exercise his option and allow him freedom in the market…just as a sign of goodwill.
I don’t really consider it sign and trade in baseball the same as in the NBA. I just feel it breaks the games moral code to under false pretense sign a player just to deal him without his prior knowledge. Certainly some players sign over the winter and realize they are potential deadline chips.
Out in Left Field
Quite a few arb eligible players are signed and then traded as are guys on minor league deals.
Arbitration is basically a team option,not a free agent contract.
Recognizing that the union won’t let a player negotiate away already guaranteed salary, would they let him do something like negotiate to add a 2016 option?
If so, something like a $2M 2015 salary with a $3M (thereby actually increasing his guarantee) buyout against a $10M 2016 option (with innings count escalators) might make sense for both sides, yes?
its not guaranteed, the padres hold an option on his season
Another ‘team friendly’ deal? Just say no!
Like the shocker they handed out to Gyorko you mean?
I said at the time i thought was a massive risk based on little evidence, and 2014 backed that up, at least with Johnson there is a resumé there, but after two TJ’s?
At $4m i guess it could be worse.
Gyorko was injured so that jury is out
He still managed to play 111 games while putting up his dreadful numbers.
Id say thats more than a fair sample size and if the injury was hampering him that much then thats on him, he should have said as much and not played and focussed on recovery.
He was cold, injured, and actually hit solid down the stretch. It was a lost season.
Aside from 4 games in July, September was the only month he hit over .217 all year, and that was propped up by a .329 BABIP.
In my opinion it was a needless, way too early extension at the time and its proven so, so far.
So far…. but I’m buying low from anyone that’s ready to throw him under the bus.
He had elite power for a.2B if he stays there….that’s worth taking serious. He’s probably not going to be a high average hitter…but his babip will be helped by power numbers. I don’t care about his contract.. I’m not paying it. I’m looking at the ball player
Im not paying it either but this website is all about contracts to a certain degree, so to disregard contracts when talking players and production is a little pointless.
He has had a couple of big power seasons in the minors…join the list of hundreds of others who could do that but not transfer it to the big leagues.
He may well prove me wrong and crank out a monster year next year…but i doubt it.
He had 23 HR as a rookie playing 2B with half his games in San Diego. Sure..he’s not a sure thing…but if 2014 can in any way be attributed to health then its early to call his contract a loss
It may well turn out to be a bargain, who knows, none of us sadly can see the future, my main point of contention is they handed $35m to a guy based on less than 500 big league at bats who, despite good power, struggled to get on base even then, i just thought at the time they should have waited.
Hindsight is an great thing we all know that, but had they not given it to him last year and he produced the same numbers that he actually did, would they have given it him now?
The answer is clearly no, i just think they jumped the proverbial gun way too early.
Unfortunately, they got unlucky in the first year of the deal. No…he might not put a .350 obp…but he’s talented and was highly touted almost universally prior to the season. He’s a sleeper
Out in Left Field
Byrnes jumped the gun and that is part of the reason he is gone. Gyorko still has a real good shot at being the .260/.350/.400 hitter with 20+ hr at 2B they were expecting him to be all along and that is well worth the $7 mm AAV of his contract
I agree, he still could be, but you agree with me that they jumped the gun way too early as well, so…agreement reigns.
They have him for 2m next year and 4 the next…the top single season rate is 13m. I think there’s a solid chance the Padres get their value.
Out in Left Field
He made $511k in 2014 and only makes $2 mm in 2015. At this point his salary is far from outrageous or expensive even for a small revenue club. He also had a big power season for a 2B or even a 3B in the majors his rookie year and there are not a handful that have done that. So doubt all you want. The guy hit .260/.347 after he returned from an injury that you or I probably would be bedridden with, not playing 2B for a major league club. If he can come back and reprise that, we are ALL going to be quite happy with him at 2B.
Out in Left Field
.329 BABIP is not extraordinarily high, in fact it is on 19 points above average.
How many starters have had two TJ surgeries and gone back to the rotation?
Scott Feldman is the most recent one I can think of. His talent level before the first surgery was well below JJ’s, and he’s come back with a few nice seasons here.
It will be interesting to see what Luebke looks like in February as well.
I’m an idiot and don’t know what I’m talking about. Feldman’s only TJ surgery was in 2003.
Hudson got back to the D’Backs this last summer but I haven’t heard whether he is going to get a shot at starting again in 2015.
There’s a bunch of guys about to give it a go… Medlen and Beachy for the Braves are likely to be back in the rotation mix. Daniel Hudson I believe as well… I know Chris Capuano made it back after his second TJ. But yeah, the list of relievers is much longer.
Medlen and Beachy haven’t made it back yet. Hudson hasn’t started in the Majors since 2012. It’s extremely uncommon for guys to succeed after their 2nd TJ.
Yep, especially starting pitchers. Capuano appears to be the lone exception.
he said the same thing to the blue jays, “unfinished business”
Who, in their right mind, would have any thought in their head, that would resemble a “positive feel”, unless they were pumping up the situation, looking for a trade partner. The guy is “made of glass”……..
That headline is dangerously clickbait-like.
$4M no brain decision. Pretty likely another team would offer JJ a $2M+ incentive deal, so Padres at best might save a couple million, which in baseball terms is pennies.
$2M to the Padres is a lot. Just ask Chris Denorfia.
Seems like a no brainer pick up to me. At $4M if he sucks, you just DFA him. $4M is pocket change to an MLB roster. If he is even an average at best pitcher, you’re only paying him $4M. If he’s anything close to his former self, you have the best bargain bin deal in baseball.
I am sure the Padres had Johnson’s contract covered by insurance; therefore, they probably still counted his salary in their PR campaign with the fans, but did not have to pay it. I say let Johnson go, $4 million is a lot to the Padres to risk, given the depth of starting pitchers they already have.
Your certainty is poorly grounded in reality. Most pitcher contracts are now pretty uninsurable. Johnson’s would have been completely so.
Scherzer’s got insurance on his arm, so I’m not so sure your assertion is true.
I find it hard to believe that a team couldn’t find a single insurer even if the rate is high.
Teams don’t typically get insurance on one year deals.
Who do you get for 4 million that potentially puts up better numbers than Johnson? Starters get injured all the time, so it seems like a good depth move for the Padres.
Vandals Took The Handles
I don’t know what the love affair is with this guy and AJ Burnett.
Once every 3-4 seasons they have a good year. The rest of the time they’re treated as top of the rotation pitchers.
It seems like teams treat them like #3 starters which is fair. Josh Johnson is getting ridiculous with injuries… but that one solid season is worth something
Out in Left Field
3 solid seasons.
I was referring to a previous post that said he had one out of four.
I was meaning “that one solid” season where he stays healthy and wins 15 in the future
Out in Left Field
You are probably right about that. Dont you think that Preller is thinking about something like a 1-1.5 million minor league deal with incentives if he goes over 15 starts that could take it higher or a 2 year deal for $14-15 million with an option for 2017 with 2015 being less than the $4 million option now.
I think Preller, while in the business of representing ownership, is also likely to want to display good faith in his dealings with players.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s the allure of a guy who posted a WAR of 5.5, 6.1, and 3.5 in 2009, 2010, and 2012. His one “down” year was due to injury in 2011. He was having the best year of his career (1.64 ERA) over 60 innings before being shut down. And he’s relatively young – only 31 starting next season.
Obviously, 2013 and 2014 were completely lost years. But even 2013, he pitched very poorly and was still worth about $3M over just 80 innings. Outside of not pitching at all, 2013 represents a worst case scenario in terms of performance. And if he manages to repeat that disaster he’s still worth close to the value of the contract.
To me it’s a no brainer. Johnson is the kind of guy that just needs to get 4-5 starts under his belt. If teams have any degree of confidence that he can be useful moving his contract and getting a prospect or two in return should be incredibly easy. Only way that I don’t bring him back for $4M is if I’m 75%+ sure that he won’t pitch at all next year.
It certainly appears to be an easy decision. It’s just the timing of the matter. If he blows the elbow in his fall throwing program…that’s an issue. They’ll work something out.
I would just approach the situation like my taxes. Go in denial and ignore.