The 2013 Toronto Blue Jays were a disappointment, and that’s putting things rather mildly.
After making a series of high-profile moves in the offseason, the team limped out of the gates and were never really ever to put it all together, finishing 74-88 – last place in the American League East. This is due, in part, to a horrendous road record of 34-47 and a starting pitching corps that failed to live up to expectations.
Former big league ace Josh Johnson was a big part of that rotation’s shortcomings.
Despite being a dominant force at the front end of the Marlins’ rotation for the better part of a decade, Johnson took a major step backwards in 2013 with Toronto.
He went just 2-8 with a mile-high ERA of 6.20 in 16 starts, after much of his season was lost due to lingering injuries.
The Blue Jays are now faced with the question of whether or not to offer Johnson a qualifying offer this winter, and for several reasons, I believe they should extend the offer and take a chance with the 29-year old Johnson.
Just one season ago, in 2012, the right-hander had a very respectable 3.81 ERA in 31 starts, notching 165 strikeouts. The 8-14 record left something to be desired, but given he was playing for the Marlins, who rarely provided run support, it’s quite understandable.
He was a National League All-Star in back-to-back seasons in 2009 and 2010, emerging as one of the game’s best. In ’09, Johnson went 15-5 with a 3.23 ERA in 33 starts. He also notched 191 strikeouts – a career high.
Despite a less impressive record, in 2010 he lowered his earned run average by almost a whole run to 2.30 while making 28 starts and striking out 186 batters.
The proven track record of success is there. If Toronto doesn’t extend a qualifying offer, Johnson could prove to be the ‘one that got away’ in years to come.