Late last night news broke that Josh Johnson had come to an agreement with the San Diego Padres on a free agent contract. The details aren't 100% confirmed as of yet, but it seems that the details being rumoured are fairly accurate. Jeff Passan broke the news and he says the contract:
is worth a guaranteed $8 million and includes another $1.25 million if Johnson reaches 26 starts. Sources told Yahoo Sports that beyond the standard deal, a unique clause exists: Should Johnson make fewer than seven starts in 2014, the Padres would hold a $4 million club option for 2015...
Well, that's pretty good isn't it? It was reported that Johnson had his eyes set on either San Francisco or San Diego as his destination (do you blame him?) and after the Giants signed Tim Hudson, the Padres were the clear favourite. Supposedly, Johnson had offers that were at the very least equally as good as the one from San Diego, but he decided that living and pitching in San Diego was worth it. If you're looking for a quick rebound year before lining yourself for a bigger payday, then Petco Park is definitely a good choice.
The contract is a pretty big win for the Padres as they minimize risk with the cheap 2015 option if Johnson doesn't deliver in 2014. They also were able to keep the base salary very low and even with the 26 start bonus of $1.5 million, the contract is very affordable. An $8 million contract should provide somewhere between one and two wins, which Johnson has accumulated in six of his seven major league seasons with more than 15 starts. In short, if Josh Johnson's 2013 campaign was a blip instead of a warning sign, then this contract is a bargain for the San Diego Padres. There's a clear risk that Josh Johnson will never regain his form and will drift into the abyss, but that possibility would only cost the Padres $8 million. Considering the team has solid starting pitching depth already, this is a risk they can afford to take.
In terms of the Blue Jays, it is clear that Alex Anthopoulos didn't value Josh Johnson at $14 million, but would he have been happy with $8 million? I can't possibly see Anthopoulos turning down the opportunity to sign Johnson to this contract, which would mean he never got a chance to match this deal. Appearing on Sportsnet yesterday, the GM said:
I followed up last week just to see where they were at with it," Anthopoulos said. "The door is still open, the conversation is still there, but I get the sense that there might be better options for him in some other spots.
That quote seems a little strange considering an $8 million offer is not that substantial. I wonder if Anthopoulos had abandoned the idea of bringing Johnson back and let him go elsewhere without much of a fight.
The question for you folks is whether you would have been on board if Josh Johnson returned to the Blue Jays on the deal that he agreed to with the San Diego Padres. Personally, the answer is an absolute yes as the risk is fairly minimal and the possibility of a massive rebound year is well worth the $8 million price tag. What say you?