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Padres sign free agent right-hander Josh Johnson to one-year, $8 million contract

Nov 19, 2013, 11:36 PM EDT

josh johnson toronto getty Getty Images

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com shares the following breaking news:

Free-agent starter Josh Johnson has reached agreement on a one-year, guaranteed $8 million contract with the San Diego Padres, a baseball source told ESPN.com.

The deal includes additional performance bonuses based on games started, the source said. Johnson was in San Diego for a physical exam Tuesday and the contract is expected to be announced by the club Wednesday.

The Padres are a nice fit for Johnson, who will be looking to revitalize his career after posting a rough 6.20 ERA in 2013 for the Blue Jays. San Diego’s Petco Park is one of the more pitcher-friendly environments in the big leagues — even with the recent wall tweaks — and Johnson should be able to produce far better numbers if he’s healthy.

Johnson, 29, drew interest from the Giants, Pirates and Royals before settling Tuesday with the Friars.

He had a 3.15 ERA in 916 2/3 innings with the Marlins before being shipped to Toronto last winter.

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UPDATE, 11:45 p.m. ET: Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors says Johnson can earn $1.25 million on top of the $8 million guaranteed if he makes 26 starts. Also from Dierkes: the Pirates were the runners up.

  1. djpostl - Nov 19, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    Because nothing builds your value moving forward like saying “I don’t want the pressure of playing for a contending team, have to face lineups with a DH or pitch in a park that isn’t almost as big as Yellowstone.”

    • chill1184 - Nov 19, 2013 at 11:59 PM

      “I don’t want the pressure of playing for a contending team”

      I honestly think this theory (which is applied often to players who go to bad teams) is a myth. Theres always pressure to win, at least IMO

      • djpostl - Nov 20, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        As to this specific instance, yeah… no.

        Family full of Padres fans and I assure that there is never any kind of expectation to win from them.

        I know we all like to think that every big leaguer wants to win every game, but that isn’t the case.

        Dirk Hayhurst may have ruffled more than a few feathers over the years but he was spot on, just froma common sense point-of-view, when he said that fans would be surprised to find out how many big leaguers think of it as a job and nothing more.

        They figured out they were good at it, at least good enough to have a shot at the bigs and all the cash that comes with it & will just ride that gravy train for as long as they can.

        There are plenty of guys who might want to win but cannot handle the stress of a tight race or an intense rivarly. That part is just physiology & psychology. Some people wilt under it, others thrive.

        I just think there are less of those and more of the ones who feel it’s a business than your typical fan wants to believe.

  2. NYTolstoy - Nov 19, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    Im glad the padres are making some moves but on a team that has limited payroll, to hand over a guaranteed 8 million to a guy who not only is injury prone but had an era in the 6.00 is a little more then just a head scratcher.Maybe his physical shows he’s good to go, because I honestly dont think it warrants giving up so much money. I hope he can give them 30 starts or enough of a service to be a nice trade piece come July.

    • tfbuckfutter - Nov 19, 2013 at 11:58 PM

      I don’t really think $8,000,000 is that big an investment in a starting pitcher who has really, injuries aside, only had 1 bad season (and it happened to be the only season he pitched in the AL).

      Especially when the going rate for backup utility infielders is approaching $3,000,000.

  3. gloccamorra - Nov 19, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Well, the Padres have four young pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery next Spring, and a fifth, FA Jason Marquis, just had it and is out for the year. A sixth, Clayton Richard, had shoulder surgery and elected free agency over a demotion. They ended the year with a six man rotation, including two rookies who performed fairly well, but they went out and got another injury-prone starter! There must be a trade brewing.

  4. icanspeel - Nov 20, 2013 at 12:42 AM

    Padres have quite a few potential starters now.. I have a feeling they will be dealing a SP or 2 soon.

    • ptfu - Nov 20, 2013 at 1:54 AM

      Current rotation: Josh Johnson, Ian Kennedy, Andrew Cashner, Eric Stults, Tyson Ross/Cory Luebke. Joe Wieland, Robbie Erlin, and Burch Smith are also in the mix. Casey Kelly and Matt Wisler could contribute late in the year.

      Hopefully that group can produce five reasonably healthy, reasonably effective starters. There are a lot of “ifs” in there. Most of those guys have to show they can do it again, or at all, or avoid injury. I’ll bet the young guys will also be on pitch/innings limits too, which opens up spot starts/late season starts. Expect the Padres to make heavy use of the AAA shuttle.

  5. proudlycanadian - Nov 20, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    That contract is significantly less than the $14.1 million qualifying offer that the Jays would have had to pay him. He would have accepted $14.1 million, so Toronto quite rightly did not make a qualifying offer.

  6. sfp311 - Nov 20, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    Probably the best choice as far as teams go for Josh, not sure if there’s a better pitcher’s park then Petco. As a Jays fan, watching him pitch last year was befuddling at times. As many people have noted, his velocity and strikeout rate were not much different from his last year in Miami, but the location of his pitches was pretty shaky. It seemed like every pitch he left up and over the plate was getting crushed. Surely his home-run numbers won’t be as high but he still needs to have better control of his pitches, mainly his fastball, if he wants to re-build his value (once again).

  7. NYTolstoy - Nov 20, 2013 at 1:58 AM

    why would the jays have had to pay him that? they didn’t make him an offer and no one was gonna come close to 14 million for this guy.

  8. benrob99 - Nov 20, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    Would have been a good fit in Pittsburgh, but there’s no way our cheapskate owners are paying 8 mil. per.

  9. Black Dog - Nov 20, 2013 at 3:17 AM

    $8 million is a lot of coin for a guy who:

    Broke down after 60 innings in 2011.
    Went 8-14 with a 3.81 E.R.A in 2012.
    Broke down after 80 innings in 2013, after going 2-8, 6.20.

  10. kcroyal - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:14 AM

    This could be a steal. Wish my Royals would have signed him for the same money. 8 million is a good gamble considering the money utility infielders have been getting.

  11. aphillieated - Nov 20, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    $8 million for JJ? wow! I don’t feel that bad about the chooch and byrd deal now.

  12. nsstlfan - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    8million is a bit of a stretch in my book

  13. nbjays - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    So the Padres just paid JJ 4 million per win in 2013. Good thing they didn’t try to get Max Scherzer…

    • icanspeel - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      Padres are taking a bit of a gamble, but as long as JJ is healthy I am sure he will get more than 2 wins in 2014. With Bud Black being a former pitcher the Padres essentially have 2 pitching coaches to help him along the way with his location too since that appeared to be his biggest issue last year.

      • gloccamorra - Nov 21, 2013 at 12:29 AM

        Good point about two pitching coaches. Their pitching coach is known for not trying to remake pitchers throwing motion but for refining what they already have. Black not only won 120 games as both a starter and reliever, he was the Angels pitching coach for nine years, when the Angels had good pitching. A pitcher’s park and that kind of coaching improves the odds considerably.

  14. thepittsburghkid - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    Pittsburgh would have given him 8 in a second. I hate Pirate fans who continue to hold onto the negativity and pretend to know baseball. Chances are they started paying attention to the Pirates after the all star break last year.

    • benrob99 - Nov 20, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      Ha!!! No, it seems to me that anyone who DOESN’T think our owners primary care is about the bottom line… THEY are the ones that started watching, and caring about, the team after the all star break.

      I’ve been through EVERY single one of the 20 years of losing. And last year… while it was great, is DEFINITELY the aberration. It’s going to take WAY more than 6 weeks of Justin Morneau for Nutting to convince me he’s ready to pony up the cash to sustain winning for the long haul.

    • gloccamorra - Nov 21, 2013 at 12:33 AM

      There’s a rumor that Josh Johnson had a bigger offer but chose San Diego for other reasons. The Pirates may well have offered more than $8 million.

  15. icanspeel - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    I found this interesting…

    “According to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, if Johnson makes fewer than seven starts, the Padres would receive a $4-million club option for 2015.” Sounds like they got a little insurance too.

  16. jfk69 - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    8 million and the San Diego Zoo. Eight starts and the party begins. What the hell was I thinking going to Toronto.

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