Toronto Blue Jays Opt Not To Extend Qualifying Offer To Josh Johnson
Josh Johnson will have something to prove when he takes the bump in 2014 however it is uncertain where that will take place as the Toronto Blue Jays opted not to exercise a qualifying offer to the 29 year old hurler. The Jays could bring Johnson back on a one-year incentive laden contract but that would be out of character for Alex Anthopoulos and company as the Jays typically stay away from such contracts.
Johnson was acquired by the Jays in the mega-deal with the Miami Marlins and was heralded as the main pitching piece in the deal. The J.J. experience was a nightmare from the get-go as Johnson was plagued with injuries and inconsistent production putting up numbers that warranted a trip to the minors. However, the Jays stuck by Johnson who eventually ended the season on the disabled list with an ugly line of 2-8 with an inflated earned run average of 6.20.
If Johnson does indeed move on to greener pastures it sure changes the complexion of the once lopsided mega trade that could favour the Marlins when all is said and done. One bright spot for Johnson that he can take away from the 2103 season is that he put up a career high 9.2 SO/9 rate throughout his forgettable campaign.
The Jays felt the risk of bringing back Johnson was not worth the reward especially seeing the price tag was a hair over $14 million dollars. Johnson is ranked by MLBTradeRumors as the 30th best available free agent on the market this off-season and forecast him signing with the Kansas City Royals when all is said and done.
[quote]30. Josh Johnson – Royals. Johnson, 30 in January, was limited to 15 starts this year for Toronto due to triceps and forearm injuries, culminating in October elbow surgery. With a 3.14 ERA from 2006-12, the oft-injured, hard-throwing righty will entice many teams on a one-year deal in the $8-10MM range. The Blue Jays didn’t spring for a qualifying offer, but should have interest in bringing Johnson back. Otherwise, it’s easy to picture the Royals, Phillies, Rays, Indians, Astros, Nationals, Pirates, and Cubs entering the fray. [/quote]
Hopefully Johnson wants to redeem himself and returns to Toronto at a bargain basement price in an attempt to boost his value for 2015. However, I am sure some team will dangle stupid money that will leave Johnson no choice but to explore other options. The Jays will look to utilize the money saved on other suitable arms to get the job done in the American League East.