A Goodbye Too Soon For Johnson

 Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Last night Jim Johnson was traded away to the Oakland A’s for Jemile Weeks and a future player to be named later. Trade rumors were swirling yesterday as it seemed the Orioles were working hard to trade away Johnson in order to get rid of Johnson’s heavy salary. However, this move may have been made too soon by the Orioles organization.

Although many Orioles fans are happy Johnson is gone, this trade very well might have been a big mistake. Since the beginning of the 2012 season, Johnson racked up 101 saves. This is the most by any closer in the MLB in the past two seasons. You cannot deny that his numbers are fantastic.

Yes Johnson had nine blown saves this past season. Yet, doesn’t every baseball player in the majors have an off year? Chris Davis struck out 199 times in his great 2013 season, but are the Orioles thinking about trading him away: No. No baseball player is perfect all the time. In sports great players can mess up from time to time, which is why you have teammates to help you out and pick up the slack when times get tough.

Johnson had the second most saves in Orioles history. I understand that his salary was heavy and it is hard paying a closer that much, but I do not think the Orioles organization and Dan Duquette should have been so hasty in trading him away.

And even if you can justify trading away a 2012 American League All Star Player, how can you justify who the Orioles got in return? Weeks played in only eight games this past year and had only one hit this past season. I understand his minor league statistics were solid with a .271 batting average and a .376 OBP this past year, but he has been in the minor league system since 2008. Obviously there is something about him that the A’s did not like which is why he stayed in their minor league system.

I am willing to believe that Weeks will be a great addition to the Orioles roster, but his stats just do not prove it to me.

Even if his bat comes on when with the O’s, where is he going to play in the field? According to reports, Weeks can play centerfield, shortstop, and second base. Last time I checked we have those positions locked up with Jones, Hardy, and Roberts/Schoop.

What the Orioles need right now on the roster is pitching and trading away Johnson creates a big hole in the closer position because I truly believe hitters have figured out that Tommy Hunter‘s most dangerous pitch is his fastball and that is it.

I am looking forward to seeing what the Orioles will do with Weeks and who else they will pick up. Although right now it is not making too much sense, Duquette and Showalter have great minds for the game and they will make the moves that will put the Orioles in the best position to be competitive with the behemoths of the American League East.

Topics: Baltimore Orioles, Jemile Weeks, Jim Johnson

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  • LarryMcVA

    Mike,

    I understand your reasoning about JJ, he was terrific for a long time. I support our players in good times and bad but something happened to JJ the last part of 2013.

    It wasn’t just the 9 blown saves, Even when he survived the inning, he was a disaster, taking double play dribblers and throwing the ball into center fields, colliding with people covering first. Just one thing after another. It would have been worse if not for the Os excellent fielding. He turned into Calamity Jim and we cringed when he came into the game. On the last day of the season, he was given an ovation when he came onto the field then proceeded to almost blow the game.

    The fact that no one was willing to give up players for a Reliever with those stats is very telling. The Yankees just lost Rivera and could have easily afforded 10 million to replace him but apparently, they were not interested.

    Incidentally, in your BIO that appears at the top right, I believe that should be Gino’s as in Marchetti.

  • Dave Gruber

    The closer situation has gotten very interesting in the AL East. With Johnson traded, Rivera retired and Rodney no doubt pitching elsewhere next year that only leaves Uehara and Janssen as returning closers. As much as I like Koji no way he repeats his 2013 season. With the way those teams battle each other I say whoever comes up with the most reliable closer will win the division.

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