It might be best for Toronto to cut ties with Josh Johnson

Jun 28, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Josh Johnson (55) comes out of a game against the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Full disclosure: I’m actually a Josh Johnson fan. Or at least I was.

But after yet another drubbing at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers last night I’ve completely lost my patient for the Blue Jays’ towering righthander.

Johnson still has talent oozing out of his fingertips. He’s not the flamethrower who formerly called Miami home but I always assumed his four-pitch repertoire would lead to continued success at the MLB level, or at least when he was healthy enough physically (or mentally?) to take the ball.

He’s had occasional glimpses of brilliance this season. Enough that it has taken me this long to give up on him. I attempted to find positives when they were seemingly hard to come by. I suggested a qualifying offer should be in order for Johnson as I thought that the Toronto Blue Jays should see if they can get something from the former stud.

Today that thought seems laughable, especially looking at his line from last night.

IP H R ER BB SO HR PC-ST
2.0 7 5 5 1 2 1 67-39

Despite his health issues I have always tried to see the light when it comes to Johnson. He returned to some very solid starts after he hit the DL, albeit against mostly National League West opponents, that gave me hope he still has enough left to be at least an above average major league pitcher.

Last night, even another National League West opponent couldn’t help solve Johnson’s problems. The game started off with so much hope as he sat down Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez in order. But everything fell apart for Johnson in the second. He’s now allowed 12 earned runs his last two starts after pitching very well in Cleveland before that.

Johnson has been criticized all year for nibbling around the plate and throwing far too much off-speed junk. He threw 67 pitches in 2+ innings last night and after a wild pitch followed by a questionable catcher’s interference call his night was over. Not that it mattered at that point as it was beginning to feel like a Ricky Romero start.

So where do the Toronto Blue Jays go from here? With the MLB Trade Deadline just around the corner I’m not really sure what this team can do to get better. But after supporting him earlier this season I’m done with Josh Johnson. Despite reports to the contrary, I think that the Jays would be best served to ship Johnson out-of-town before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Topics: Josh Johnson, MLB Trade Deadline, Toronto Blue Jays

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  • Andrew van Laar

    I agree. People saying they should hang onto him so they can offer him $13 and hope he turns it down to get a pick are not thinking straight. On the free agent market, I do not know if he will get that much due to 1) his horrendous performance this year (assuming it continues) and 2) his health history that showed up again for part of this year.

    What if we are stuck this type of performance again next season for $13 million? I am not willing to risk that. I would be happy with 2 ‘B’ grade prospects that have upside in return for JJ. I’d rather have that than MAYBE getting a 1st rounder or being stuck with him again.

  • http://jaysjournal.com/author/mcdougles Daniel G.

    For what? If he’s so terrible on the Jays (his 5.66 ERA is 7th worst among pitchers with 60+ innings, 0.8 fWAR, a BB/9 that’s been climbing since 2010), who exactly is going to give up anything for the ~$5M left on his contract for such a sub-par performer this year?

    As well, who’s to say that he’s just having a terrible year? It happens to a lot of pitchers (see: 2012 Red Sox pitching staff). He still has really good stuff; it’s just not working for him. Unless he’s part of yet another mega-deal trade, he’s not going to get nearly what you expect from a completed trade. A 7th bullpen guy or a utility player, at best. Maybe a low-end “prospect.”

    • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

      At this point I don’t expect much of anything in return. But I’ve seen enough to know he’s not worthy of a qualifying offer and even if he completely turns it around the rest of the way I’m at a point now I don’t even want to see him around next season. I’d take the fringyish of fringe for him now… if he ends up being great for another team, so be it. His xFIP is okay but his FIP just keeps getting worse and worse as the season progresses. I just don’t see him getting it together, even if the Jays can resign him at a big discount I would prefer if they went a different direction.

  • mike in boston

    the risk / reward analysis unequivocally supports keeping him and offering a qualifying offer. whatever value he would net in a trade + the competitive value in removing him from the rotation is dwarfed by:

    A – comp picks if he turns down the qualifying offer and signs elsewhere

    B – what you could get in performance if he bounces back next year

    C – what you could get in trade value if he bounces back next year

    when you look at the options, trading him now gives you the least possible return.

    • Andrew van Laar

      And what if he accepts $13 million and is just as bad as this year?

  • Michael Van Bommel

    It’s important the team does not overact and see if he can turn it around on his next start to show some trade value. I think if we hang on to him and send him the qualifying offer he will accept it and we will have him for another year(which is awful).

    With Happ, Drebek, Hutch, Morrow and Ricky all coming up before the season is over we should look to move him to open a spot for guys who still have a future with the organization

  • Millinneumman

    I was bullish on Lawrie but no more. He is a petulant child in an adult body. A pox on him. He should be traded for an adult player.

  • derek

    Okay if a team isn’t going to trade anything good for JJ now why would they give up a first round pick for him, where do you think the pick comes from. There were a few good FA last season that signed late because of the companies pick. Brantley comes to mind after signing with the Indians.

  • jays4life77

    Anyone saying trade JJ for nothing is insane. If you honestly would trade this guy for nothing and not care if it was just a bad season or what not to come back next year and possibly figure it out and turn everything around should give your heads a shake.
    This guy has ace or strong number 2 stuff written all over him IF he figures it out. Its funny everyone who bashes JJ but lets Morrow off the hook when they are pretty much the exact same player. Both huge huge upside if they get it and both useless if they don’t.
    I think it is def worth the qualifying offer and see if he gets it and if not big deal 13 million rogers can def afford, look at it this way, he cant get any worse but he sure as hell can get better.

    • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

      I felt that way until Monday night too… but now I’ve completely given up on him. Probably why I wouldn’t make for a very good GM. And trust me, Morrow is high up on the list of disappointing Blue Jays… he’s just been a tough guy to track down the past couple of months!