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A’s designate $10 million reliever Jim Johnson for assignment

Jul 24, 2014, 1:10 PM EDT

Jim Johnson A's AP

Oakland acquiring Jim Johnson from Baltimore and agreeing to pay him $10 million this season left a lot of people shaking their heads and now the move is officially a spectacular failure. And over, too.

The A’s announced that they’ve designated for assignment Johnson, who was almost immediately stripped of the closer role in early April and has a 6.92 ERA in 38 appearances overall while allowing to hit .353 off him.

Earlier this week there were reports of the Marlins possibly being interested in Johnson at a reduced price tag, so perhaps the A’s will eat enough salary to find a taker for him rather than releasing the 31-year-old and eating the entire $10 million.

As bad as Johnson has been this season he did lead the league in saves in each of the previous two seasons and was deemed worthy of $10 million by one of the game’s smartest general managers six months ago. There are much worse reclamation projects.

  1. hcf95688 - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    About time. This guy was terrible on Opening Day then got worse.

  2. icanspeel - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    Doubt anyone will pay more than the minimum for him…

  3. chip56 - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    Billy Beane’s not perfect.

    • bisonaudit - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      It’s beyond me how anyone ever thought he was. He’s never pretended to be and even the movie includes the Jeremy Giambi disaster.

    • Glenn - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      I’ve always wondered why Billy Beane, Theo Epstein, and the like have to let everyone know how smart they are by telling everyone their great ideas. Seems like keeping them to yourself is the smart move. Why tip-off the competition? Joe Posnanski just had an article about hitting approaches quoting Zaidi of the A’s and Epstein. I don’t get it.

      • prostock75 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:01 PM

        When has Billy Beane ever told someone how smart he is?

      • Glenn - Aug 11, 2014 at 2:05 AM


      • bisonaudit - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:11 PM

        I wonder about this as well.

        I’m thinking that most of what they’re willing to talk about is probably already known inside the baseball community.

      • Glenn - Aug 11, 2014 at 2:04 AM

        Bragging about how the Red Sox scouts knew that Holiday ran on the first pitch sounded pretty private. Why tell the world?

      • randomjoeblow - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:24 PM

        All of Billy Beane’s ideas have already been known by the rest of the league. He just happened to land 3 pitchers who had phenomenal seasons at the same time, and it made all of his other moves look like genius…and then, every move he made that worked out, it was because he was a genius, of course..

        Every move that didn’t work out…never happened.

      • mazblast - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:46 PM

        Theo is the one who is always reminding everyone how smart he is–and he has a puppet GM to fire if things don’t work out, too. Billy has the national media snowed into raving about his every move, so he doesn’t have to do his own bragging.

      • Jason Gohlke - Jul 25, 2014 at 9:27 PM

        If you’ve ever heard Billy Beane talk, you know that he keeps his cards very close to his chest.

      • Glenn - Aug 11, 2014 at 2:01 AM

        Do you mean “Moneyball”? Those cards were displayed in a best selling book.

    • don444 - Jul 25, 2014 at 4:21 PM

      Well, duh? Ballyhooed and respected as he is in many corners it’s not like this is his first swing and miss on a transaction or anything even like that. Great GM who will long be remembered for his innovative thinking, but he doesn’t need to be reminded that without a World Series title on his resume there will always be those who’ll assert that he was at least somewhat overrated in the end.

  4. bisonaudit - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    The vagaries of spending money in the bullpen.

  5. sophiethegreatdane - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    JJ was a standup guy, I’ll give him that. Reporters here in Baltimore always said JJ was at his locker after every one of his league-leading blown saves last year, and willing to talk to the press.

    Seems like his sinker stopped working, and he started nibbling at the corners and consequently walked a lot of batters.

    He was a guy that I was glad to see go, but was sad that I was happy to see him go, if that makes sense.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:37 PM

      Yea, I always liked him. I hope he re-finds his form, after what will obviously be a major price cut.

  6. sportsnut101 - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    Least he got 10 million

  7. edelmanfanclub - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    Gotta give the A’s props for admitting he’s a sunk cost at this point. I’m sure he’ll rebound elsewhere. May be back as a closer in 1-2 years for a smaller market team.

    • bisonaudit - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      Smaller than Oakland?

      • edelmanfanclub - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:00 PM

        Good catch. I should be rephrased that as “less successful.”

      • scatterbrian - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:26 PM

        Market size and attendance are not all the same thing. The A’s market is one of the largest in the country. The attendance is crappy–but on the rise–because the ballpark is a major dump and kind of a pain in the ass to get to, and ownership has effectively alienated a large segment of the market with insults and attempts to leave.

    • bisonaudit - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:14 PM

      It’s only one of the largest markets if you ignore the fact that they’re sharing it with the Giants.

  8. nvl004 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    Bring him back to Baltimore. I’d take him pitching a 6th inning here and there over Evan Meek or any other guy up from Trip A.

    • bisonaudit - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      Not for $10 million you wouldn’t.

      • mazblast - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:42 PM

        Wait until he clears waivers, then sign him for the major league minimum, pro-rated. Oakland is on the hook for the rest.

  9. geejon - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    This is what the Dodgers should do with washed-up Chris Perez instead of having him take up a roster spot that should belong to Paco Rodriquez. One the one hand Mattingly says he doesn’t want to wear out lefty J.P. Howell by going to him everyday they need to get a lefty out but that wouldn’t be an issue if Paco was with the club rather than Perez. Makes no sense to keep a horrible right-hander in your pen at the expense of a much needed left-hander.

  10. emdub52 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    So basically we gave up Jamile Weeks for nothing.

    I knew the way Beane treated Jamile last year was going to come back at him. Do a man dirty and it comes back to you. Carma is a bitch Beane.

    • Greg Weber - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      I imagine in Baltimore they’re saying they gave up Jim Johnson for nothing as well.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:39 PM

        Nah, we gave up JJ for 10 mil. :)

    • mazblast - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:48 PM

      It’s “Jemile”, and it’s not as if he had shown much in his many opportunities. I’d call the whole trade junk for junk.

  11. bmurr26 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    I bet he blows this assignment too.

  12. dunnd4d4 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    Here’s a crazy idea….DL him for some bs injury and start stretching him out in the minors. Jim Johnson was always rumored to be considered for a starting role. Maybe you can salvage some of that 10 mil if you can convert him to a starter.

  13. rrsm53 - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    I love all the GM’s on here, the last two years the guy has been pretty much lights out in saves. Anyone can fall off it happens all the time, look at Uggla. The guy will get picked up by someone and someone will notice a flaw in his delivery that the A’s pitching good Young didnt. He was the red sox ptiching coach and he stunk here and after he left a couple of the pitchers have been better since he left.

  14. kinggator - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    Beane normally rocks, but he just took a comebacker right in the “money” balls on washed up JJ. Heath Bell and Dan Harren nod in agreement.

  15. jkaflagg - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    People are bagging on Beane for this one, but nobody is 100% on personnel decisions – even some that are perfectly logical and defensible sometimes go awry. Give Beane credit for acting in a decisive manner once he determined that Johnson was not likely to help the team this year; as another poster noted, the Dodgers may need to start looking closely at Chris Perez and their $10 dollar man Brian Wilson as well…..

    • mazblast - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:43 PM

      It took him 100 games or so to decide what almost everyone knew in, say, late April.

  16. randomjoeblow - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    I’m just waiting for Rany Jazayerli to talk about how, not only was Billy Beane *brilliant* in paying $10 million for a failed closer and cutting him during the season, but somehow the Royals were actually *stupid* not to sign him to the same crappy contract…since that’s basically what he does.

  17. wisbadgfan - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    This just goes to show us that not every move works out .

    Beane has had a lot more hits than misses, so he gets a pass on this one.

  18. don444 - Jul 25, 2014 at 6:01 AM

    Talk about losing your way. His would ultimately be a stunning fall from grace if he never were to regain his form, but back-to-back AL Saves titles will earn Johnson some more opportunities in the big leagues, perhaps several, be they wholly justified going forward or not.

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