Well, if the Toronto Blue Jays were looking for one last reason to NOT extend a qualifying offer to right-hander Josh Johnson, the beleaguered pitcher gave it to them on Tuesday. According to a report from MLB Trade Rumors, Johnson underwent surgery on his right elbow.
The surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews to remove bone spurs from the pitcher’s right elbow.
Johnson’s agent, Matt Sosnick, detailed the procedure to MLBtr, indicating that the right-hander will be ready when Spring Training starts. The recovery period for the procedure is 5 weeks.
Interestingly enough, the report indicated that Andrews told Johnson that the discomfort caused by the bone spurs was likely the reason why the 29-year-old struggled in 2013, but that he also found no issues with the elbow ligament, which is usually what is called into question when Dr. Andrews is on the case.
Johnson is due to become a free agent when the postseason ends, and the Blue Jays have been debating whether or not to extend a qualifying offer to Johnson. The reward of course would be that if he signed elsewhere, the Blue Jays could garner a compensation pick in the draft. However, given Johnson’s performance in 2013, a team is unlikely to look at Johnson being worth the cost of a first or second round draft pick, leaving him with only the option of accepting the qualifying offer. The Blue Jays would then be on the hook for roughly $14 million, with the hopes that Johnson can pitch tremendously better than he did this past season.
In 16 starts for the Blue Jays in 2013, Johnson struggled with injuries an ineffectiveness on the way to a 2-8 record, a 6.20 ERA, and a 9.2 K/9 ratio. His ERA was likely inflated a bit by a 18.5% HR/FB percentage and a .356 BABIP, as his xFIP was a much more respectable 3.58, but it is unknown if the Blue Jays saw anything different in Josh Johnson the pitcher on the field than they did in the box scores.