The Orioles Trade Jim Johnson To The A’s For Jemile Weeks
By Nicholas Delahanty (MLB Reports O’s Writer) Follow @Nick_Delahanty
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What the Jim Johnson Trade means for the Orioles
The Orioles completed a trade late Monday night which sends closer Jim Johnson to the Oakland Athletics for Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later.
Johnson has been one of the best closers in all of baseball, as his 101 saves over the past two seasons is the most in all of baseball.
He has been projected to make close $10 – 11 million through arbitration in 2014 – before becoming a Free Agent in 2015, so the Orioles felt it was time to part ways with the veteran right-hander.
It definitely will be a transition for Johnson, who has been with the organization since 2001. Johnson will look to fill the closer role in Oakland, as he will replace Grant Balfour, who is a free agent.
In an interview with Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports, Johnson really didn’t have an answer as to why he was traded.
“You’re asking the wrong guy. I have my own theories but I’ll keep them to myself. It’s just a new chapter. Something that’s obviously new to me. I’ll be fine, but I’m also very thankful for my past.”
Weeks seems to be the type of player that the team is looking for; being that he is under club control for many years to come.
He is arbitration eligible in 2016, and can’t hit the free agent market until 2019. Weeks had a tremendous 2011 season, as he posted a .303 batting average in 437 plate appearances as a 24-year-old.
Although he has not been close to that since, Weeks can still compete for a spot in the Orioles outfield for 2014, or might possibly be moved back to second base where he started his career to fill the void left by Brian Roberts.
As Weeks is not a guarantee to make the Orioles roster out of spring training, the club still has a lot of work to do, and now must figure out their closer situation.
Some people throughout the baseball world feel it was a total salary dump, as the club felt they could do more with the money saved.
Buster Olney tweeted on Tuesday morning that the perception through the industry is that the trade of Johnson was a “giveaway,” as the Orioles didn’t want to pay their closer that type of money to retain him.
The team has other needs they can address, such as attempting to sign some key players to long term deals (like Matt Wieters).
The team could also elect to use that money on the free agent market, and one player that could be of interest to them is Nelson Cruz.
It has been reported that the club might be interested in signing the veteran right-handed power hitter, using some of the money they saved on the Johnson deal to lure in the power bat they need.
The real question is how do you replace a guy who has possibly been one of the best closers in all of baseball over the past two regular seasons?
Looking at the closer position, the best in-house candidate is said to be Tommy Hunter, the former starter who spent the 2013 season fully as a reliever.
Hunter appeared in 68 games for the club, posting a .281 era in 86.1 innings. However, Hunter struggled against lefties, as this could be a concern for the team as they look for their ninth inning guy.
Rosenthal also reported that it is very likely the team will add a closer to compete for the job, whether it is through the free agent market or even the small possibility of a trade.
Guys such as Grant Balfour, Edward Mujica, and possibly even Fernando Rodney could be a possibility to the Orioles, who through the trade of Johnson, show they don’t want to spend too much money on a closer.
The trade of Johnson doesn’t make the Orioles a better team right now.
The void left in the ninth inning just adds to the “needs” list of the club, and they must make some type of bold move to show they are serious about contending in 2014.
In other club news, the team avoided arbitration with outfielder Steve Pearce, as they reached a one-year, $700K deal, according to Rosenthal.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners ***
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A big thanks goes out to our Guest Writer Nicholas Delahanty for preparing today’s featured article. Nicholas is a current student at Felician College, studying Broadcast Journalism with a minor in English. He served as the Broadcast and Media Relations Intern for the New Jersey Jackals in 2013, and also hosts a radio show on WRFC Felician College Radio Station called ‘Around the Bases.’ Nicholas recently started working as a broadcaster for Felician College Basketball games, and is a student-writer for the college’s monthly magazine. He volunteers as a baseball and basketball coach in Garfield, New Jersey, and also volunteers as the announcer for the town’s Junior Boilermaker Football program.
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Posted on December 3, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @MLBreports on twitter, @nick_delahanty on twitter, baltimore orioles, billy beane, brian roberts, eddie gamboa, Edward Mujica, fernando rodney, grant balfour, Jason Pridie, jemile weeks, jim johnson, matt wieters, nelson cruz, oakland athletics, steve pearce, tommy hunter. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.