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 (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 3, 2013
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.