San Diego, CA - According to Jerry Crasnick, the San Diego Padres made a free agency splash last night by signing starting pitcher Josh Johnson to a one-year contract worth around $8 million. While he is coming off of a down year with the Toronto Blue Jays, he is still a very talented pitcher. At the age of 29, his youth is quickly passing him up, but he certainly does have a few good years ahead of him.
Johnson went 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA and 83 strikeouts on the season with the Blue Jays. Obviously those numbers are not what you’d think of from a top three pitcher in a rotation, but he’s certainly more than capable of helping out San Diego’s staff. He has some things to work on, but he has the work ethic and ability to get back to the potential that he showed when he was with the Marlins.
Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com has reported that Johnson can earn up to an extra $1.25 if he’s able to make 26 starts. That is obvious motivation for Johnson to get into the best shape that he can and work hard this offseason to reach the full level of his talent. If he makes less than seven starts, the Padres would get a $4 million option for 2015.
Johnson was looking for a one-year contract where he could work to beef up his stock on the open market for last year, but San Diego wasn’t one of the teams that he was expected to consider. They aren’t likely going to compete for a playoff spot, nor are they his best bet to win games at a high clip either. That being said, he’s going to be relied upon and he’s going to be able to showcase his full talent even if he’s unable to win a good amount of games.
This deal completely relies on Johnson being able to stay healthy, but he is confident in his ability to play well this year. The Padres need starting pitching and Johnson certainly could be a top of the rotation type of player. Overall, this is a good move for both sides and it will be very interesting to watch how it pans out.
Evan Massey is the Lead Editor for Pro Sports Extra. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.