Jim Johnson Reportedly Agrees to Minor League Contract with Detroit Tigers

R. Cory Smith@@RCorySmithSenior Writer IAugust 5, 2014

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Just four days after he was released by the Oakland Athletics, the Detroit Tigers have reportedly signed closer Jim Johnson to a minor league contract.   

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the news on Twitter:

Johnson scuffled earlier in the season with the Athletics, holding a 4-2 record with a 7.14 ERA, 28 strikeouts and 23 walks during 40.1 innings with just two saves. That's a stark difference from his stretch between 2012 and 2013, in which he collected 101 saves and held a 2.72 ERA.

The former All-Star has fallen on hard times but is still just 31 years old and might have more in the tank for the Tigers. That's exactly what Detroit is hoping for after securing David Price to strengthen the rotation.

Prior to his release from Oakland, Fox Sports' Gabe Kapler offered his thoughts on the reliever:

If he can [reduce his walk rate], he'll be a valuable piece of a bullpen again, but Oakland didn't think it would happen quickly enough. The data is compelling enough to make a tough decision and designate Johnson for assignment.

So what about the GM out there betting on the come with Johnson? 

Wagers on horses with the longest odds have made folks rich before, at least temporarily.

Joe Nathan has struggled in 2014, running his ERA up to 5.45 despite having 22 saves. While Joakim Soria was acquired ahead of the deadline from the Texas Rangers, he currently holds a 16.88 ERA through 2.2 innings thus far with Detroit.

If Johnson is able to make it back to the big leagues, he could offer another closer option. Nathan is 39, so Johnson also gives the team a younger arm moving forward if he can return to form in the minors.

In what has already been an arms race through the midway point this season, the A's and Tigers will likely keep building for the postseason. Johnson proving to be a vital part of the bullpen might make this a huge move later in the year.


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