Monday, April 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Former Marlins ace Josh Johnson off the board for Phillies

Former Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Josh Johnson. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Former Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Josh Johnson. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

His attention turned to the pitching staff, Ruben Amaro has one less hurler to eye up on the free agent market. Former Marlins ace and Blue Jays disappointment Josh Johnson was signed by the Padres on a year, $8 million deal.

The appeal of Johnson was knowing how high his ceiling was at one point, and how cheaply he would come this offseason. A nine-year MLB veteran, the 29-year-old righty's best season was 2010, when he led the NL in ERA and ERA+, giving up the fewest home runs as well at 0.3 per nine innings. He was an all-star, fifth in the Cy Young voting, and even received some MVP nods.

The year after, he was sidelined with right shoulder inflammation (after taking a no-hitter through five innings in each of his first five starts). 2012 saw a decline, and afterward JJ was part of the Marlins' massive exportation of their roster to the Blue Jays that included Jose Reyes. 

He suffered right triceps soreness and eventual inflammation again, debuting in late May to win a game and then lose six in a row. He then left the Blue Jays' roster again, due to forearm tightness, and this past October, had surgery to remove bone spurs from his throwing elbow.

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  • So - this would have been your classic "low risk, high reward" situation; though Johnson still has the name to command an $8 million salary, one year of an ace downgraded to a 3-4 starter is not too much to ask, especially for a team looking to fill four holes that used to have aces in them. Johnson could have made one start and reported straight to the DL, but he would have come cheap, and the potential for a comeback year would have been worth the small money and single year for which he apparently would have signed in order to give himself a good track record to hit free agency in 2015 at 30. 

    However, Johnson was reportedly willing to take less money to go to a team in closer proximity to his hometown of Las Vegas.

    This would have been more applicable on a team trying to "win now," which the Phillies are technically doing, but whether or not they should be is up for debate.

    Justin Klugh Philly.com Sports
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