Tag: Josh Johnson

Josh Johnson Injury: Updates on Padres P’s Recovery from Tommy John Surgery

San Diego Padres starting pitcher Josh Johnson is facing another long road to recovery, as he’s reportedly set to undergo his third Tommy John surgery in the near future.

Continue for updates.

Johnson Expected to Make Another Comeback Attempt

Wednesday, Sept. 16

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports Johnson is likely going to schedule the procedure, which he previously underwent in 2007 and 2014, for next week. He’s not planning to abort his efforts to make it back to the big leagues despite the latest setback, though.

The 31-year-old starter began his throwing program with an eye on returning to the majors before season’s end as a reliever. His rehab assignment got cut short, however, and now, in all likelihood, the earliest he’ll be back would be the 2017 season.

Before he started the rehab, he talked about the extended battle he’s gone through trying to stay healthy long enough to rediscover his prior form, as noted by Beth Maiman of MLB.com.

“Being here, showing up every day, working hard, [being able to pitch again] would make it kind of easier to go through,” Johnson said. “It’s been tough, it’s been a long road, but things happen for a reason. I don’t know why right now, but it’s all part of it.”

Johnson shined for the Miami (then Florida) Marlins after the first Tommy John surgery. His best season came in 2010, when he led the National League in ERA at 2.30 while striking out 186 batters in 183.1 innings.

He appeared in just nine games during the 2011 season due to shoulder trouble, though, and he’s never been quite the same since. He hasn’t appeared in a major league game since 2013 with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Johnson signed a one-year contract with the Padres for the 2015 season, per Spotrac. That means he’ll also be a free agent this offseason, and it’s unclear whether San Diego or another team will be interested in signing him with his availability up in the air.

His numbers during his peak years with the Marlins will always lead to a certain level of intrigue. Alas, it’s a long shot Johnson will ever become an effective starter in the majors again.


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10 MLB Players Heading into Make-or-Break Seasons

Not every MLB player is looking forward to 2014. For some, the new season represents a pivotal juncture in their respective careers.

This is of course called a “make-or-break season.” While some players like Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Ryan Howard appear to be albatrosses, their contractual security is paramount to their 2014 production.

By comparison, a player like Rickie Weeks desperately needs to find his stroke in 2014. After posting a .209 batting average with an 80 OPS+ in 2013, the once elite second baseman is already playing caddy to farmhand Scooter Gennett.

And if Weeks continues to hit below the league average, the 31-year-old will not find a starting job in 2015.

Read on to see the 10 MLB players heading into make-or-break seasons.


All statistics sourced from Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com.

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How Josh Johnson Would Fit in the San Francisco Giants Rotation

The San Francisco Giants aren’t wasting any time this offseason, already filling two of three potential holes in a starting rotation that has been amongst the best in baseball for years.

Tim Lincecum was re-signed to a two-year, $35 million deal last month, while three-time All-Star Tim Hudson agreed to a two-year, $23 million deal on Monday. Two down, one to go?  

Despite having a handful of in-house options to compete for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, including Yusmeiro Petit, who pitched well in seven late-season starts in 2013 (3.59 ERA, 42.2 IP, 40 H, 11 BB, 40 K), and Eric Surkamp (2.80 ERA in 16 starts between Triple-A and Double-A), the Giants might not be done adding starting pitching. 

And if Josh Johnson has his way, he could be the last piece to the rotation puzzle. According to Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, the 29-year-old has let the Giants and the San Diego Padres know that they are his first choices to be his next team. 

Not only are the two teams a short plane ride away from his Las Vegas home, Johnson’s need to rebuild his value after a disappointing 2013 season makes each team an ideal fit because of their respective pitcher-friendly ballparks. 

After establishing himself as one of the best starting pitchers in the game while with the Marlins, posting a 39-13 record with a 2.80 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.5 K/9 in an 84-start span from 2008 until early-2011, Johnson suffered a shoulder injury that cut his 2011 season short.

When he returned in 2012, he wasn’t as dominant as in years past, although he did manage to post a 3.81 ERA with 3.1 BB/9 and 7.8 K/9 in 31 starts. Traded to Toronto last offseason, he showed signs of his old self but never fully got back on track as he spent two separate stints on the disabled list and finished the season with a 6.20 ERA in only 16 starts, including six with at least five earned runs allowed. 

Now three seasons removed from his shoulder troubles, teams could see Johnson as a great “buy low” candidate with tremendous upside, especially a team like the Giants, who have already committed close to $53 million in salary to their top four starting pitchers in 2014, according to MLBDepthCharts, and might not want to add too much more. 

Adding a former ace in the prime of his career at a price anywhere south of $10 million for a season in which he’s motivated by the potential of a huge payday the following offseason could be a terrific investment. When a big market team like the Giants can pencil that former ace into the No. 5 spot of their rotation, where his potential inability to rebound wouldn’t have a major impact on the team, it’s also a pretty safe investment. 

Johnson’s lone start at AT&T Park in 2013 was one of his best of the season as he tossed seven strong innings, allowing just one earned run on six hits with no walks and six strikeouts. In five career starts against San Francisco at their home ballpark, Johnson has a 2.65 ERA with eight walks and 26 strikeouts in 34 innings pitched. 

The ballpark he was pitching in wasn’t the reason that he could no longer get batters out. But a home park that he feels comfortable in—mostly because balls don’t fly out of AT&T Park and pitches thrown out over the heart of the plate are less likely to be hit over the right field wall—could do wonders for his confidence level. 

In his potential rotation-mates in San Francisco, Johnson could find much in common and, maybe more importantly, much to learn from one of the most successful groups of starters currently assembled.

Staff ace Matt Cain will also be trying to rebound from a poor season, at least by his standards, while Lincecum will be able to share his knowledge on how he finally got back on track after a year-and-a-half of struggles. Hudson, who is also returning from a season-ending injury in 2013, has been one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball since entering the league in 1999.

If Johnson can at least pitch as well as he did over a nine-start span from April 16 through July 9 (3.74 ERA, 53 IP, 53 H, 18 BB, 53 K; four starts with at least 7 IP and no more than 2 ER allowed), he’d be a great value. If it all comes together again for the 6-foot-7 right-hander, though, and he regains the form of his days with the Florida Marlins, whichever team signs him could have the free agent bargain of the offseason. 



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7 New MLB Names Who Could Become Trade Bait If Their Teams Struggle in July

There are several teams on the cusp of falling out of playoff contention, which is always fun as it opens up the potential for even more trade rumors.

Seven teams—the Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox—are currently more than 10 games back of a playoff spot, a very tough spot from which to bounce back. More could join them soon in the land of non-contenders. 

Teams like the Blue Jays (43-45, lost nine of last 14), Giants (40-48, lost 12 of their last 14), Padres (40-50, 10 consecutive losses), Rockies (43-47, lost 14 of their last 20) and Royals (42-44, lost 34 of their last 59) will need to make a decision of whether they are buyers or sellers in the next few weeks. If they play any worse than they have lately, veteran players from those teams could be shopped to contenders before the trade deadline.

Here are seven of the more interesting names that could be part of your daily Hot Stove news in the near future.

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Why the Toronto Blue Jays Do Not Need to Sign Josh Johnson Long Term

The Toronto Blue Jays have done a tremendous job remodeling their team into a playoff contender during the offseason.

No. Make that a World Series contender.

I may be getting a little ahead of myself, but the odds makers in Las Vegas have them pegged as the clear favorites.

What’s even more impressive: Almost every major player they have acquired this season is set to wear a Blue Jays uniform for at least a few years, except starting pitcher Josh Johnson. Johnson will make $13.75 million this season as his four-year contract comes to an end (originally signed by the Miami Marlins).

While Johnson will not be the “Ace” or opening day starter for the Blue Jays, he will play a vital role in the Jays success or failures this season.

But you have to wonder if Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos wants to dish out the money to have him as a staple in the rotation for another couple of years, or if will he let him walk at the end of 2013.

Beyond this year, the Jays will have R.A. Dickey, Mark Bheurle, Brandon Morrow and Rickey Romero still in their rotation. Adding Johnson makes that one of the best—if not the best—in baseball. But  how much do the Blue Jays lose by taking him away?

I think that depends on who you  replace him with. There are plenty of options available to the Blue Jays in 2014.

Personally, while I think having him in the rotation will be amazing and fun to watch every fifth day, I don’t think future success beyond this year warrants giving him a Felix Hernandez-type contract. And while I don’t think Johnson will be able to get that kind of money ($175 million over 7 years) from anyone, there’s reason to believe he can get a hefty payday by testing the free-agent waters.

If the Blue Jays are willing to spend money and looking at locking up a guy long term they can always resign Johnson. The players expected to hit the free agent market provide some intrigue.

  • Two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum: This is the same Lincecum the Jays could have had if they parted with Alex Rios in the infamous trade that wasn’t. How does that look now, J.P. Ricciardi?  While Lincecum was banished to the bullpen last year, I think that he has too much raw talent to not bounce back and be a very good starter once again. If he has another bad year, do the Jays look at getting him—hopefully, cheaper—than any other two-time Cy Young winner?

  • Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez: I link the two together because they are both pieces that wouldn’t bring to the table what Johnson brings, but would get the job done on the back end. If Rickey Romero bounces back to his 2011 form, do the Jays need a Josh Johnson, or would they prefer a Garza or Jimenez? I don’t think they would command anywhere near the same kind of money that Johnson would, even if both Garza and Jimenez have good years. They are steady veterans that give you a chance to win.
  • Roy Halladay: Potentially, the Philadelphia Phillies pitcher could hit the market. While Doc has stated he wants to finish his career in Philadelphia with the Phillies, I think it would be a pretty classy move to bring him back to Toronto for a couple of years to be another veteran arm in a formidable rotation.

We also can’t forget about in-house options the Blue Jays have—all those guys on the farm that were looking at being possible hopefuls for this year’s rotation before AA’s wheeling and dealing. There are guys that will start at Triple AAA, Double AA or the disabled list that would have been given an extra look, and opportunity to make the big league club in April of 2013.

But because there are a number of veterans poised to slot into the rotation, this list of candidates gets some extra time to develop their game on the farm and, barring any injury, will stay there for the whole year and compete for that supposedly vacant spot in 2014.

  • Chad Jenkins made his debut last year with the Jays. He posted a 1-3 record with a 4.50 ERA in 13 games, including three starts. Jenkins showed some promise last year, and would be most likely to be called up first in the event of an injury. Either he or J.A. Happ would get the chance to start, and I thought deserved a chance to start before the moves were made. I don’t think he figures into the team’s long term success, though, so he may not be an option to replace Johnson.

  • Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchinson are coming off Tommy John surgery and will get an entire year and off-season to regain their arm strength. Both will be looking to find a spot on the big league roster when they return, and both have a legitimate case to make. Drabek was starting to mold into the pitcher the Blue Jays hoped he would be when they traded Halladay to get him. He was 4-7 with a 4.67 ERA and a WHIP of 1.60, and improving with every start. The 23-year-old Hutchinson was called up to the big league roster almost out of necessity after the first week or so into the season. In 11 starts, he went 5-3 with an ERA of 4.60 and 1.35 WHIP. He will be 23 this year and will hope to bounce back from a tough injury at a young age. TThese guys are probably the cheapest low risk/high reward options for the Jays in 2014.

Other names you can throw out there include Dustin McGowan, Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna, Daniel Norris, Marcus Stroman, Deck McGuire and Adonys Cardona. With the exception of McGowan, it may be too soon to bring them up, but you never know how they may develop over the course of 2013.

But should injuries occur to the starting 5, some of these names may get a big league debut this season, and an extended look heading into 2014. As for McGowan, if he ever gets a lucky break and finds that his arm allows him to compete, I think the Jays will give him every chance to make the rotation.

It has happened a few times in the past where athletes perform at their best level when on their final contract year (A.J. Burnett for example threw 200 innings  went 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA and opted out, as his contract allowed after year three, his best season).

If Johnson looks like he is leaning towards cashing in on a big pay day on the market, then let him go out there and show the whole league why he deserves that money.

It’s debatable whether Johnson wants to pursue free agency. Shi Davedi  writes  in a recent article that free agency doesn’t really appeal to Johnson. While it could be something his agent told him to say, It could be true and he may want to be with the Jays for a lengthy period of time.

The Jays have a handful of options. I don’t think signing Johnson long term is an immediate need for this team.

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Ranking, Grading the Top 10 Shocking Blockbuster Trades of the Last 10 Years

Two of the biggest sluggers in the game, Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton and Toronto’s Jose Bautista, give us a pretty accurate assessment of what the feelings of the players and fans in both cities are feeling after Tuesday night’s blockbuster deal that saw 12 players, including Jose Reyes, change hands.


On the heels of the blockbuster, what better time to take a look back at the past decade of blockbuster deals and see how those worked out for the teams involved?

I can’t think of one. We’ll grade the deals with the aid of retrospect, but rank them in terms of shock value.

Let’s get to it.

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MLB Trade Rumors: The Miami Marlins Know They’re Stuck with Josh Johnson

The Miami Marlins are doing the opposite of trying to sell Josh Johnson. To ask for an organization’s top prospects in return for a guy who’s been battling health issues is one thing, but he hasn’t been the World Series champion pitcher we still try to envision him as. 

The asking price for Johnson is high, unreasonable and irrational for most every team in the majors. 

According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Marlins are asking for players comparable to Jurickson Profar and Travis d’Arnau to get the trade talks going.

Josh Johnson is not worth the Texas Rangers‘ and Toronto Blue Jays‘ major league ready, No. 1 prospects—plain and simple.

Unless the Marlins are willing to lower the price on JJ, there’s no way any team is going to bite. The Rangers and Angels have reportedly backed out from trade talks involving Johnson because they feel the price tag is too high. But if the price comes down, Texas is willing to talk. 

Another issue is Johnson’s home and away split. He is definitely a better pitcher in Miami (5-4, 3.35 ERA) as opposed to his awful numbers on the road (1-3, 5.48 ERA).

Is Josh Johnson a sub-par pitcher? No. But he is not as high-priced as the Marlins organization is trying to sell him as. His 2012 numbers aren’t as attractive as his 2009-10 numbers, when he was a combined 26-11.

Since then, he’s 9-8 and has struggled with injuries.

Will JJ go at this year’s trade deadline? Possibly. According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, the Marlins want more for Johnson than the Los Angeles Angels gave up for Zack Greinke.

If that isn’t an indication of what the Marlins are trying to do, I don’t know what is.  

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MLB: The 5 Biggest Opening Day X-Factors

As Opening Day for Major League Baseball approaches (not counting the two-game series in Japan), every team, no matter how they look on paper, has a shot to win it all.

Getting off on the right foot and winning on Opening Day, while not crucial to a team’s success, can go a long way towards building momentum, especially for clubs whose expectations for the 2012 season may be on the lower side.

As with any team, there is always an “X-factor” or wild card that can change the outcome of anything from one game to an entire season. These players can be anyone from a superstar returning from injury or an “off” season, to a young player trying to make a name for himself, yet somehow can find that his performance, or lack there of, will be directly related to his team’s performance.

Who will be the biggest X-factors this Opening Day? Who will surprise, disappoint, help or hurt their teams as the 2012 season begins?

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Florida Marlins Ace Josh Johnson Placed on DL with Shoulder Inflammation

Despite a victory from the Florida Marlins last night, the team received a loss off it when Josh Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of right shoulder inflammation.

The injury is not related to the line drive hit off his forearm in his last start that came against the New York Mets, which happened to be delayed by a soggy infield caused by rain earlier that Tuesday. Johnson had not warmed up until the game was officially scheduled to be held; however, his velocity was down to 91 mph on his fastball.  

Johnson was shut down last season because of back problems. It is a familiar place for Johnson, who missed parts of the 2007 and 2008 seasons after Tommy John surgery.

Johnson led the NL with a 2.30 ERA last season and was tied with the Cardinals‘ Jaime Garcia with a 1.64 mark this season and his second with a 0.98 WHIP.

This now puts the pressure on the struggling Javier Vazquez to pitch better since the team is currently lacking internal options for starters. Sean West and Alex Sanabia are both dealing with injuries of their own.

The Marlins have called up reliever Jay Buente to replace Johnson in the rotation.

Buente was 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA in five starts since moving into the rotation at Triple-A New Orleans. He made his major league debut for the Marlins last season, putting up a 6.55 ERA in eight relief appearances.

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Washinton Nationals: Week 2 in Review

Trips to Miami have been less than stellar for the Washington Nationals, and through the first two of a three-game set against the Marlins, nothing has changed.

The Nats blew leads on consecutive nights and were up against Florida ace Josh Johnson in the series finale. A Marlins’ sweep looked about as likely as Pudge Rodriguez hitting into a double play.

Somehow the Nats kept pace with the big hurler, driving up his pitch count (translation: striking out a bunch), and forcing him out of the game after 6 innings. And wouldn’t you know it, the Nats pulled it out in 11 on a two-run jack by Adam LaRoche. 

In any other year, the Nats lose that game in devastating fashion, and they lose about seven more in a row after. Things are different this year.

Will it result in 85 wins?


But you won’t see any of those 10-game losing streaks this year, and that’s a start.

Let’s get on with it…



The Nats did well to split their three games this week after dropping the first two. Tuesday, poor defense led to an extra-innings loss to the Fish. The Nats blew a four-run lead Wednesday, but came back to beat Florida in extras on Thursday. On Friday, Pudge came through with a two-RBI single to beat the Mets. New York came back Friday with a win to set up the rubber match Sunday, which the Nationals took in 11 innings.


Game of the Week

Thursday’s 5-3 win over the Marlins

As I mentioned above, if the Nationals lose this game, they go into a tail-spin.

The fact that they won on a day where Josh Johnson was starting, and the Marlins got out to a early two-run lead makes it all the better. Jayson Werth’s solo shot to cut the lead was huge, not only for Werth’s confidence—which has to be suffering after a tough start to the year—but also the Nationals season. Up to that point, the Nats had yet to get a hit off of Johnson, but that hit showed them they could score off the Cy Young contender.


Player of the Week

Tyler Clippard (4 G, 6.1 IP, 8 K, 1 H, 2 BB, 0.00 ERA)

Let’s ignore the fact that Jim Riggleman is running this guy into the ground already (6.1 innings in a week?) and just focus on how brilliant Clippard has been. Whenever the Nats need a strikeout, Clippard gets it. Without Clippard, I’m not sure the Nats win a game this week. He is easily the MVP of the team through two weeks.


Dud of the Week

Mike Morse (2-14, 2 BB, 2 RBI, 4 K)

I had high hopes for Morse coming into the season, as did every Nationals fan after his amazing performance in spring training, but it appears Morse left his swing in Viera. With Zimmerman facing a possible stint on the DL, it is imperative for Morse to find his swing and fast.


This Week on a Scale of 1 to 10

I’m giving the game this week an eight. Wins in Florida are not easy to come by for the Nats, and coming back after a disappointing loss Saturday to take the series in New York was huge for the team’s confidence going forward. And they’re going to need it with Zimmerman possibly out for a couple of weeks.


Random Diatribe of the Week

The Nationals bullpen has been a revelation in 2011. Unfortunately, they may not be around for much longer if they continue on this pace. Drew Storen and Clippard have combined to pitch 15 innings in only nine games.

The Nationals have to find another arm out of the pen they can trust. The Nationals can officially call up players they sent down to start the season on Sunday, which means Colin Balester, who pitched well enough to make the club out of camp, may be on the way.

Henry Rodriguez, who hit triple-digits on the gun last year with Oakland, pitched well in his minor league rehab assignment. Help may be on the way and the Nats need it.


NL East Power Rankings

1. Philadelphia Phillies

If the Phillies ever vacate this spot, I’d be surprised. The Phils overcame a six-run defeat at the hands of the Mets to reel off four out of five to end the week.

2. Atlanta Braves

They’re last in the standings, but that will happen when you play the Phillies. There’s no doubt, they’re No. 2 with a bullet

3. Washington Nationals

The Nats, Mets and Marlins have all played each other with each team coming out of it 3-3. The Nats go on top because they played every game on the road.

4. Florida Marlins

Hanley Ramirez has to start playing like a franchise player if the Marlins expect to flirt with 80 wins.

5. New York Mets

A promising start to the week went up in flames as the Mets lost four out of their last five to end the week.


Up next for the Nats: Jayson Werth and the Nats get their first crack at the Phillies before the Marlins come to DC for the weekend.

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