Jul 14, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (32) congratulates pitcher Jim Johnson (43) after a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Blue Jays 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Baltimore Orioles trade closer Jim Johnson to Oakland A's for 2B Jemile Weeks

Earlier in the night, we brought you a report that the Oakland A’s had emerged as the leading contender in the Jim Johnson sweepstakes, and now, the A’s have apparently completed a deal to bring the elite closer to the West Coast.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX is reporting that a swap has occurred that will send Johnson to the A’s in exchange for former top prospect second baseman Jemile Weeks. On the surface, this isn’t a huge price to pay for a closer who has 50+ saves in two straight years, but the real “price” for Johnson is the $10+ million that he is expected to earn in arbitration this season.

For Oakland, they’re going all-in on a player who seems to have peaked over the past two campaigns, and they have a defined hole at the back of the bullpen with Grant Balfour exiting in free agency. However, Baltimore gets a very interesting asset in exchange for a player that they apparently had no interest in paying 8-figures to in 2014.

Weeks, a 26-year-old second baseman, was thought to be one of the “next big things” at the position just a few years ago. In his debut during the 2011 campaign, Weeks swiped 22 bases in just 97 games, and posted a very solid .303/.340/.421 slash line that earned him 1.7 fWAR in an abbreviated campaign. However, the wheels have come off a bit for Weeks in the last two seasons, and his -0.5 fWAR season in 2012 led to a near-full season in AAA last year.

I think this is a case where both teams are seemingly “winning” here, as Oakland gets their closer and Baltimore gets a reasonably young asset with some upside.

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Tags: Baltimore Orioles Jim Johnson Oakland Athletics

  • Ryne Mehan

    More importantly Baltimore gets more financial flexibility. They will use the money they saved with this to buy a bat or starting pitcher, which they need a lot more than Jim Johnson. Besides, they already have Tommy Hunter, Brian Matusz, and Darren O’Day. My guess is Gausman may be back in the bullpen as well to help bridge that gap. Hunter is lights out against righties, Matusz against lefties, and O’Day against anyone really. It was a move that had to be made from Baltimore’s perspective. Even if he doesn’t pan out Jemile Weeks is still better than letting Johnson walk and getting nothing in return. Good trade for both teams.