It’s no secret the Detroit Tigers are gunning for a World Series championship.
They did, after all, trade for David Price. They do have a tremendous amount of talent on their roster. Recent history says a title in the Motor City would not be a stretch, since the Tigers have made it to the ALCS for three years running. If there’s one thing, however, in dire shape for this Tigers team, it’s the bullpen.
Joe Nathan has had possibly a Hall of Fame career, though he’s no slam dunk, but this year his candidacy has taken a hit. Joakim Soria has had his moments both in a Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers uniform, but his time in Detroit had led to a cringe-worthy ERA+ (28) and WHIP (4.500). Therefore, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network, the team has inked Jim Johnson to a Minor League deal.
According to the team’s Twitter page, he’ll report to Triple-A Toledo.
Still, this is the same Jim Johnson designated for assignment by the Oakland Athletics. Yeah, that Jim Johnson with a 53 ERA+ and 2.058 WHIP in 40.1 innings in an A’s uniform. Just think: Oakland gave him $10 million to be the team’s closer.
The Athletics are extremely lucky to have given him a $10 million deal, removed him from the role, designated him for assignment and yet still keep clicking. Perhaps there’s merit to the notion that saves are overrated, because Johnson blew 9 of them last year with the Baltimore Orioles, and his postseason track record isn’t the greatest. Granted, he did save 101 games from 2012-2013 and it’d be wrong to blame a team’s failures on one person, but his high save totals the two seasons prior to this one aren’t completely indicative about him.
By the way, how has trading Johnson worked out for Baltimore? Oh, it’s been nothing special, really, they just own sole possession of first place in the AL East and happen to have a fantastic bullpen featuring the likes of setup man Darren O’Day and closer Zach Britton. Hypothetically, if Johnson was never traded and still remained the team’s closer, would the Orioles still be up on the other four teams in the division? Possibly, but that’s hard to imagine.
With Johnson now in Detroit’s organization, he may soon get to call Comerica Park his home turf. In 8.1 innings pitched in his career there, he’s wielded a pedestrian 4.32 ERA and 1.440 WHIP. Those aren’t exactly Mariano Rivera numbers, now are they?
If Johnson is turn his season around, get promoted, produce in Detroit and help this team win the World Series, then good for him, but it’s a very big if and he has a lot to prove.