BlueJaysPlus has learned via a source that the market for Josh Johnson is saturated with the “vast majority of teams” right now at this early stage of free agency, and that the former ace pitcher wants a contract for 1 year with a base of $10+ million, with additional performance incentives added on.
It is unclear at this time which teams are in on Johnson, or which of the multiple teams interested have serious aspirations of signing him.
Johnson, 29, is coming off of his worst season as a professional according to basic metrics. When you delve deeper into his numbers, you see based on his 3.73 SIERA that he wasn’t as bad as ERA makes him out to be(6.20). He did have injury problems, pitching only 81.1 innings for the Jays this season. He was acquired from the Marlins last November in the blockbuster deal that also brought Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck to Toronto.
The Blue Jays had the opportunity to offer Johnson a 1 year deal worth $14.1 million on Monday, but decided not to do so. On Monday, BJP learned via a source (which was later confirmed by Gregor Chisholm), that the Jays were not discussing any deal with Johnson before the qualifying offer deadline. Johnson’s demands might be too high for the Jays, if the budget for this ball club ends up topping out at $140-$150 Million. That would leave between $15 and $25 million to be spent this winter, and AA might not want to use half of that on one guy who comes as a huge risk. For a team that needs to fill 4 positions(2 starters, 1 catcher, 1 second basemen), it could be better to spread it all out. As well, there could be a health problem we are not aware of with Johnson that is scaring the Jays off.
We have just talked with our source again, and have learned some interesting and disappointing news regarding Johnson. It appears as though the Jays are ready to cut ties with him. Since telling the Johnson camp on Monday that they will not be offering a QO, the club has yet to contact Johnson again, the source told BJP.
I’m disappointed, and it’s going to suck watching Josh dominate for another team next year(although it’s only week 1, so things can change).