Friday, November 15, 2013

In the Cross Hairs: Josh Johnson

#Welp...he gone. With Ervin "Magic" Santana rejecting the Royals qualifying contract offer of 1 year, $14.1 million, he will test the waters of free agency in search of his 5 year, $112 million deal he so wishes for.  Is he worth 112 million dollars? Nah.  Will he get it? I mean... Vernon Wells once received $126 million so..who the hell knows what 'Magic' will get.  What is he worth? Perhaps a 5 year deal worth around 75 million wouldn't be too absurd.  If you want to hear a compelling argument from Santana's trio of agents, comparing their client to another former Royal..Zack Grienke, check out Jon Heyman's article from this morning, talking about some interesting points that make Santana and $112 million a plausible outcome.  As Jeffrey Flanagan reported on Tuesday, GMDM will continue to pursue a deal for Santana. On the plus side, we do get a compensatory pick in the upcoming draft if he signs elsewhere, so there's that, but hey...I've moved on. It was great having you in Royal Blue, Erv.

Let's get to the task at hand: replacing Ervin Santana. While other clubs are moving in on the services of Ervin, Bronson Arroyo, Matt Garza, Phil Hughes, and Tim Hudson, to name a few, I'd like to discuss the reports of the Royals interest in Blue Jays starter Josh Johnson.  Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted earlier this evening a potential signing for Kansas City would be the 29 year old righty, stating it would be a "possible high reward" and that he's a "good team guy." This is definitely intriguing.
Photo courtesy of

In his 8 year tenure as a Florida AND Miami Marlin, Johnson posted a 56-37 record with a beastly 3.15 ERA, along with being named a 2 time All-Star and finishing 5th in Cy Young Award voting in his 2010 campaign. The right hander logged 916.2 innings on the mound, racking up 832 strikeouts and 308 walks, a WHIP of 1.23 and giving up just 0.6 HR/9.  Prior to the 2013 season, Miami owner Jeffrey Loria decided to unload some payroll by creating a mega package including Johnson, pitcher Mark Buerhle, and SS Jose Reyes and sending them up north across the border to the Toronto Blue Jays.  Things got a little sour for Josh as a Blue Jay.  He hit the DL early in the year, came back for a dozen more starts before being shut down to a forearm injury. Coming off minor elbow surgery, Johnson is expected to be healthy and ready for Spring Training.

In his glory days with the Marlins, Josh had a lightning fastball that averaged 95 mph in 2009 and 2010, but since then, his velocity has dipped slightly each of the next years, to 92.8 mph. Along with the heater, Johnson has a slider with good movement, a curve that sits around 79 mph, and a decent changeup.  If somehow the Royals would be able to snag him off the market, his 45% ground ball rate and 31% fly ball rate would make a nice fit at Kauffman Stadium. Turning 30 in January, Johnson is well known for visiting the disabled list and if he can stay away from that list and pitch like he did in '09 and '10, he can easily be one of the top right handed arms in the game. That's the risk that comes with signing the once former ace.

Let's just say for kicks and giggles, Josh wants to come to KC.  Here's what the rotation looks like (in my world):
                                        1.) James Shields                         
                                        2.) Josh Johnson                        
                                        3.) Danny Duffy                          
                                        4.) Jeremy Guthrie                    
                                        5.) Yordano Ventura    

Moore has already gone on the record to say the 1-2 spots are already locked up.  Shields will lead it off, of course, and then Guthrie to follow.  The next 3 spots are up for grabs.  If we were to miss out on Johnson, you can already assume that Duffy will be a full-time member of the rotation, barring any setbacks and if "Ace" Ventura can figure things out, he should be a regular, as well.  Zimmer is close to ready, so in the mean time, someone will have to step up, whether it be Wade Davis or Will Smith.  There's also the risk of letting Luke Hochevar earn his way back as a starter, he was straight up filthy last year in the 'pen.  I say leave him there, but that's not up to me. 

To fill Santana's spot, we need an outside source, and I believe the ex-Marlin/Blue Jay should be the source.  A long-term offer would be way too much of a gamble for any organization to make on Johnson.  This is a bounce back season for Josh, in trying to regain his old form as a top 1-2 starter.  Reports have shown that Johnson could very well get a 'qualifying offer' type of deal, such as 1 year, $8-12 million range. I have no problem with this kind of deal.  The Royals should at least go after Johnson, before bidding on Phil Hughes.

1 comment:

  1. Next in the cross hairs... Brett Anderson...