May 11, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Jim Johnson (45) delivers a pitch against the Washington Nationals during the ninth inning at O.co Coliseum. The Athletics defeated the Nationals 9-1. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Athletics shopping Jim Johnson after nearly dealing him to Miami Marlins


There’s been plenty of discussion and criticism surrounding the Oakland Athletics, stemming back to their decision over the winter to acquire Jim Johnson from the Baltimore Orioles. Many questioned the move from the onset and now that Johnson’s lost the closer’s role for the A’s, he’s also seemingly worn out his welcome in Oakland.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal relayed news early Wednesday afternoon that the A’s came very close to dealing Johnson last weekend to the Miami Marlins. Miami would have received Johnson and cash to help offset the $6.5 Million remaining on his contract this season. The A’s would have received an unnamed player and the 39th overall pick in Thursday’s MLB Draft, a competitive balance selection that the Marlins are free to deal unlike “regular” draft picks.

Miami instead sent the pick – and the $1.4 Million in slot money tied to it – to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Bryan Morris.

Rosenthal goes on to explain that the A’s were not actively looking to move Johnson, but Miami approached them about a potential deal. Oakland was apparently on board with the proposal, but it is unclear what changed on Miami’s end to deal with Pittsburgh instead. Oakland has the depth in their bullpen to have been able to make the move, particularly with Ryan Cook returning from the disabled list on Tuesday and Eric O’Flaherty expected to return in the coming weeks.

Despite Rosenthal’s assertion that the A’s were not shopping Johnson, that sentiment appears to have changed. A few hours later he passed on word from a rival executive that the A’s are willing to pick up what remains on Johnson’s salary to facilitate a trade. That report, however, has since been refuted.

 

Johnson was coming off back-to-back 50 save seasons for the Orioles before dealt him to Oakland in exchange for infielder Jemile Weeks during the offseason. Johnson’s been a terrible disappointment with Oakland, pitching to a 6.55 ERA and 1.955 WHIP through his first 22 appearances on the year. Control has been a major concern, as he’s walking 5.3 batters per nine innings – nearly twice his career average.

While the reports are mixed regarding Johnson’s potential availability, there appears to be zero reason for Oakland not to consider moving him between now and the July trade deadline. The team’s leading the charge in the AL West, but have clearly lost faith in Johnson’s ability to pitch in high leverage situations and have more than enough alternative options to round out their bullpen. Considering his struggles he may not bring back a significant return, but he’s not providing Oakland with much value in his current role either.

Tags: Jim Johnson Miami Marlins Oakland Athletics