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Josh Johnson needs a second Tommy John surgery

Apr 23, 2014, 5:02 PM EDT

San Diego Padres Photo Day Getty Images

Another sad chapter in Josh Johnson‘s injury wrecked career, as the right-hander will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery without ever throwing a regular season pitch for the Padres.

Johnson signed a one-year, $8 million deal with San Diego in the hopes of staying healthy and building up his value in the majors’ most pitcher-friendly environment, but now he’s headed for a second Tommy John surgery after going under the knife the first time in 2007.

When healthy Johnson has always been one of the best starters in baseball, posting a 3.15 ERA in 917 innings for the Marlins from 2005-2012, but he’s topped 100 innings just three times in nine full seasons and was limited to 81 poor innings for the Blue Jays last year.

Thanks to language in the contract specifically designed to kick in if he got hurt San Diego holds a $4 million team option on Johnson for 2015, which could present an interesting decision depending on how well his rehab has progressed by the end of the season. At age 30 there’s still plenty of time for Johnson to resurrect his career, but it’s a damn shame.

  1. icanspeel - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:04 PM

    Padres took the chance, and didn’t pay off… Although their pitching has been great so far, they could have used the 8M towards a hitter.

  2. chargrz - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    Horrible signing by Byrnes. They can spend $8 mil on damaged goods but can’t pay for one legit hitter.

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:50 PM

      They have a clause that pays Johnson 4M if he failed to make 7 starts

      • jwbiii - Apr 23, 2014 at 6:23 PM

        No, they have a $4m option for next season. From

        Josh Johnson rhp
        1 year/$8M (2014)

        – 1 year/$8M (2014) signed by San Diego as a free agent 11/19/13 performance bonus: $1.25M for 26 games started
        – if Johnson starts fewer than 7 games in 2014, club gets $4M 2015 option

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - Apr 23, 2014 at 6:54 PM


      • NYTolstoy - Apr 23, 2014 at 7:45 PM

        I don’t see why they would pick his Option he most likely will be out till next years All star break at the earliest. Even then who knows what he can give the Padres. Either way it was a terrible sign for the Padres, they could of used that money for some hitting depth. 8 million down the drain

      • jwbiii - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:20 PM

        NYTolstoy, Of course the Padres won’t pick up his option. Their gamble was 1/$8m (seems high to me, but it’s not my money) and 2/$12m, which is a really good deal if Johnson is healthy.

      • dondada10 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:41 PM

        The deal was never going to be 2/12 unless he made fewer than 7 starts. If he made more than 7 starts he would’ve been a free-agent again.

    • mmeyer3387 - Apr 23, 2014 at 7:45 PM

      I’m not sure GM would have known before the signing. Johnson did take a medical exam, did he not?
      Pitchers can hurt their arms at any time, who can tell when it will happen? Clearly, no one knew about major health issues. Moreover, do we know if the owner pushed for this signing.

    • dan1111 - Apr 24, 2014 at 2:14 AM

      Yes, he should have predicted that Johnson would need Tommy John surgery.

      Note that, even with this setback, the Padres might get most of a season from Johnson for $12 million, if they exercise his option. That isn’t necessarily such a bad deal.

  3. raysfan1 - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    Best of luck to him.

    So far this is the season of the UCL injury.

  4. phillysports1 - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    What a waste of money and time. It’s a shame lol

  5. xpensivewinos - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    Johnson, Quentin, Maybin, you name it. They waste money when they actually decide to spend some.

    Not like there wasn’t a track record to look at…….

    • vanmorrissey - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:44 PM

      Yes, Byrnes love affair with Quentin from when both were in Arizona brought him to SD even though he was damaged goods at the time, also. So you bump the payroll to almost $90M, yet there’s what, about $20-25M of that on the DL, leaves really a team with a $65M payroll on its active list. Which is about what we see on the field other than the as usual sufficient pitching.

  6. nymets4ever - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    i wonder if these athletes ever feel any shame when they sign for big bucks and give their teams absolutely zilch.

    • jwbiii - Apr 23, 2014 at 6:21 PM

      I wonder if these owners ever fell any idiocy when they hire these executives for big bucks who give their teams absolutely nothing?

    • jamaicanjasta - Apr 23, 2014 at 6:32 PM

      Considering many contracts are insured (especially the big ones) I’m not sure why the player should feel any shame. Shame would be the feeling of being so cheap that you pay a player $1.2 million a year until the age of 72 (Bobby Bonilla) instead of honoring a ~$5 million dollar deal for one year.

    • Old Gator - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:05 PM

      I wonder if mutts4ever ever feels any chagrin at what a jerk he makes of himself with comments like that.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:21 PM

        At least Metts4ever writes about baseball and writes about something that matters. That’s a hell of a lot more then I can ever say for you, by the way the I think the Jerk store called looking for you

    • mmeyer3387 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:31 PM

      I’m sure he didn’t want to be hurt. Furthermore, for arguments sake lets say that he is greedy and selfish. Being hurt does hurt his future value, just a question of how much. There are a lot of pitchers that make a lot more than his salary. My understanding is that the team can refuse to pick up his contract option. The Padres have a $4 million option on him for next year. Yes, he makes a vast sum for most of us.Still, remember he has won the Cy Young award on his resume, which wasn’t that long ago. Additionally, they didn’t give him a contract for over twenty million like the Dodgers, Angles or Yankee type of contract for a foolish 8 or 10 years that takes him to late 30’s or even 40. Clearly,

      • Old Gator - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:06 AM

        These idiots – and they are legion – who get upset at ballplayers for being hurt really ought to take a good long hard look in a mirror and ask themselves what the hell they’re really saying about themselves. I’m not talking about genuine malingerers – guys like, say, the Hanster who have demonstrable track records of dogging it while healthy so that their subsequent claims of genuine injuries draw justifiable skepticism. But when guys like Josh Johnson rip a UCL, or – as a worst case scenario – guys like Carl Pavano have a string of legitimate injuries and so-called “fans” pile on them for “taking money” and “giving back nothing,” it really gets nauseating. Most of these guys, unless the injury is sudden and catastrophic, have played through pain the intensity of which a roundbottomed blog commenter shooting his mouth off about selfish ballplayers has no freaking idea.

        No one ever put a gun to an owner’s head and ordered them to sign those contracts. If the player is taking advantage of a contract, well hell, there’s another party to it that’s bound by its terms as well, you know? Fans who don’t like it should drive a nail through their foot with a mallet, then go out and play a couple of hours of pickup basketball and see how easy it is.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:23 PM

        HAHAHA old fart thinks Pavano had “legit” injuries, oh the more this fool talks the more he shows anyone with common sense how little he knows.

  7. sd619tripleog - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    How in the world did he manage to get $8 mill from the padres? I need to send my resume to his agent for a summer internship

    • jwbiii - Apr 23, 2014 at 6:17 PM

      Sosnick Cobbe Sports, Inc.
      712 Bancroft Road
      Suite 510
      Walnut Creek, CA 94598

      Matt Sosnick
      Office | 925-406-4901
      Fax | 925-406-4877

  8. moogro - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    Is anyone surprised except the Padres? He seemed hurt last year.

    • dan1111 - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:29 AM

      The low value of the contract the Padres gave him was precisely because of his injury risks. They knew they were taking a chance.

  9. insidefastball - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:11 AM

    Johnson has topped 100 innings three times over nine seasons… about a disaster. I wouldn’t waste another cent on that option.

  10. charlutes - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:36 AM

    Poor guy, if hate to have 8 million dollars.

  11. charlutes - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:36 AM

    Poor guy, if hate to have 8 million dollars.

    • Old Gator - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:14 AM

      Why poor guy? Has he complained? Nope. He’s going to grit his teeth and go through this nightmare all over again and try to come back. Would you? Do you have any idea about what going through TJ rehab is like? Twice? Easy to sit there on your fat duff pretending JJ is pleased with his situation. You are totally clueless.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:24 PM

        Do you have any idea how painful it is to read your comments on here? You are a total joke

  12. nbjays - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:07 AM

    The Jays’ decision to offer him nothing is looking pretty good right now.

    • Old Gator - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:21 AM

      Yes, but then again, if you put yourself in AA’s situation, you would probably be a lot more leery of making another mistake with someone with JJ’s history. AA knows he’s being watched after the past few seasons of medical fiascos and if there’s one mistake he probably feels he won’t get away with making, it’s signing another player with a history of frangibility.

      Why in Buddha’s name they let a guy with medical issues pitch through last season when he was clearly hurt already is beyond me – especially since changing motions to compensate for problems like knees, hips or shoulders will only cause more problems elsewhere. Someone ought to take the Jays’ trainers out behind the woodshed and paddle their nates.

      • nbjays - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:02 AM

        Gator, I agree totally. The biggest issue for the Jays’ staff has been (and still seems to be)conditioning, so, yes, someone on the coaching staff needs straightening out.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:27 PM

        nbjays you would agree with someone in a coma

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