Veteran right-hander Jim Johnson is still of interest to the Miami Marlins, after the team nearly completed a deal a month ago to acquire him before shifting gears to go another direction. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald notes that the Marlins have maintained an open dialogue with the Oakland A’s about Johnson. He notes that the two sides have even discussed Adam Conley, a left-hander struggling at Triple-A, as the potential return in such a deal.
Prior to the MLB Draft the Marlins and A’s were believed to have a deal in place that would have sent the 39th overall pick (Miami’s competitive balance selection) to Oakland in return for Johnson and some salary relief. Miami opted instead to send that pick to the Pittsburgh Pirates, obtaining Bryan Morris and using the remaining budget to bring in Kevin Gregg via free agency.
Morris has been outstanding since stepping into the Marlins’ bullpen, posting a 0.36 ERA and 1.026 WHIP in 21 appearances. Gregg, however, has a 10.00 ERA and 1.778 WHIP in 10 appearances and may find himself to be a roster casualty before much longer.
Johnson had been coming off a pair of strong seasons closing out games for the Baltimore Orioles when the A’s acquired him this past offseason. He faltered in Oakland, however. Johnson lost the closer’s role early and has managed a 6.25 ERA and 1.959 WHIP on the year, in 40.1 IP. He’s been bumped down the A’s bullpen depth chart and with the other options available in-house, he doesn’t figure prominently into the team’s plans for the remainder of the season. Moving him for some salary relief would be ideal for the budget-conscience A’s.