7:01pm: The deal does indeed include $6.25MM in achievable incentives based on games started, with triggers ranging from his fifth to 33rd start, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.
4:10pm: The Padres announced today their widely expected signing of right-hander Josh Johnson to a one-year deal. Previous reports indicated that Johnson, a client of Sosnick/Cobbe Sports, would earn $1MM plus incentives. To clear room on the 40-man roster, the Padres designated Jake Goebbert for assignment.
Assuming previous reports remain accurate, 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. In total, his $1MM contract can reach $7.25MM if all of the incentives are reached.
The 30-year-old Johnson (31 at the end of this 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.
The 27-year-old Goebbert, meanwhile, was acquired from the Athletics along with a player to be named later (Ronald Herrera) in exchange for Kyle Blanks back in May of 2014. Goebbert made his big league debut with the Padres this season, hitting .218/.313/.317 in 115 plate appearances. Goebbert hit a strong .296/.410/.539 with 14 homers between the Padres’ and Athletics’ Triple-A affiliates in 2014.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported the terms of the contract last month.