Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 5
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports Jim Johnson has been signed to a minor league contract by the Detroit Tigers:
Source: #Tigers sign Jim Johnson to minor-league deal.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 5, 2014
The Oakland Athletics spent the July 31 trade deadline upgrading their roster, but the team started August by cutting ties with one of the few players that hasn't worked out for general manager Billy Beane this season.
According to the team's official Twitter account, former closer Jim Johnson has been released by the A's:
#Athletics release RHP Jim Johnson— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) August 1, 2014
The move is not a surprise since Johnson was designated for assignment on July 24 and would have had to accept a minor league assignment to remain with the team since he has too much service time to be sent down without consent.
Now that Johnson can pick his next destination, there are likely to be a few teams lining up to at least speak with him because relief pitching is always in demand. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times speculated the Rays could get involved because of the risk/reward potential:
The 31-year-old was eligible for arbitration, coming off consecutive seasons with an ERA under 3.00, 101 saves for the Orioles and an All-Star appearance in 2012.
What is Jim Johnson's future role in MLB?
Johnson eventually agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal with the A's after the trade and started the season as their closer. That quickly imploded on manager Bob Melvin when the right-hander allowed five runs in his first two games and had an ERA of 7.14 with 60 hits allowed in 40.1 innings before being designated for assignment.
Relief pitchers, especially closers, are always a volatile market, but Beane took a chance on Johnson last winter by acquiring him from Baltimore for Jemile Weeks. The A's have compiled the best record in baseball despite essentially wasting $10 million.
As for Johnson, he's just 31 years old and coming off back-to-back 50-save seasons in the American League East. If he gets put in a low-pressure environment, some team can get decent value for the next two months.
If nothing else, it'd be hard to do worse than Johnson did from the start of the season through July 23 with Oakland.
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