The Oakland Athletics made a move that is rare in their current model for success when they traded for closer Jim Johnson this off-season in a deal with the Baltimore Orioles.
For a team that would usually be the type to find or develop their own closer rather than overpay for one, acquiring Johnson and his $10 million contract in 2014.
That plan failed spectacularly, leading the A’s to end up going to a closer more typical of their usual style with Sean Doolittle. With Johnson struggling to get any traction in another role with Oakland, the team has finally decided to release Johnson.
Per Jane Lee, the A’s made the move on Thursday:
Source says the A’s have released Jim Johnson.
— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) July 24, 2014
Johnson has drawn trade interest from teams including the Miami Marlins and should be able to catch on with some team in need of bullpen help. Given his recent success as the closer for the Orioles in 2012 and 2013, he will likely get another chance as a low-risk move for a team in need of an arm.
Then again, his results this season have been so bad so as to at least throw up some red flags. In 38 games Johnson has a 6.92 ERA and a 6.2 K/9 mark. He wasn’t missing bats, he was getting hit hard, and he just wasn’t getting people out.
It’s hard to imagine a situation where Johnson would be more set up for success than Oakland, but that is what he will have to find now that he is a free agent. As for the A’s, they cannot be too happy about the money, but the luxury of their depth of talent is that they can choose to move on.