DEC. 29: The Padres are preparing to announce their deal with Johnson and could do so as soon as today, Passan tweets.
DEC. 22, 2:22pm: Sosnick tells ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick that an agreement isn’t in place, and Johnson has not taken a physical (Twitter links). If and when a contract gets done, Sosnick tells Crasnick, it will take a few more days.
1:54pm: The Padres and right-hander Josh Johnson are now in agreement on a one-year deal worth a guaranteed $1MM that can reach $7.25MM total via incentives, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Johnson, a client of Sosnick/Cobbe Sports, was said to be on the verge of an agreement late last week.
Johnson will receive $500K for making his fifth start, $1MM for his 10th start, $500K for his 15th start and $1MM for his 20th. He will then earn $250K per start for starts 21-33, according to Passan.
The 30-year-old Johnson (31 next month) signed a one-year, $8MM deal with the Padres last offseason coming off a down season with Toronto. However, Johnson underwent Tommy John surgery in April and never made a start wearing a Padres uniform. His contract contained a conditional $4MM club option that triggered in the event he made fewer than seven starts, but the Friars declined that option and chose to re-sign him to an even lower guarantee. Though Johnson had the ability to test the open market, it was widely expected that he’d return to San Diego, as agent Matt Sosnick said more than once that Johnson felt he has “unfinished business” in San Diego.
It’s been two full years since Johnson was fully healthy, but there’s little denying what an impactful arm he can be when healthy. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA/2.41 FIP over the course of 183 2/3 innings with the Marlins in 2010 and has a career 3.40 ERA in 998 innings at the Major League level. Staying healthy has never come easy to Johnson, however, who has topped 180 innings just three times since debuting in 2005.
Johnson is the second injury-prone, high-upside arm that the Padres have added this offseason. GM A.J. Preller also inked Brandon Morrow to a one-year, $2.5MM contract that is heavily incentive-laden as well. Those two will give the Padres some rotation depth beyond a front trio of Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy. Right-hander Jesse Hahn, who pitched well out of the Friars’ rotation in 2014, was dealt to the A’s in the Derek Norris trade, and fellow righty Joe Wieland went to Los Angeles in the Matt Kemp deal. Johnson and Morrow will compete with Robbie Erlin and Cory Luebke (who is recovering from his second Tommy John operation) for spots in manager Bud Black’s rotation. Johnson, however isn’t likely to be ready to pitch on Opening Day, as his operation came on April 24 last season.