Aug 6, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starter Josh Johnson delivers a pitch against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

MLBtr: Blue Jays Josh Johnson Estimated to Get $8 Million on Free Agent Market

What I love about reading MLB Trade Rumors is not only their uncanny ability to dig up the latest rumors and whisperings, but also their tremendous insight as baseball writers. Their articles do a great job of not only breaking down a player or team, but also the business of baseball as a whole.

As an example, Jeff Zimmerman published a piece on Thursday that tries to create an accurate estimate for what this year’s crop of free agent starting pitchers will gain on the open market this winter. Admittedly, Zimmerman mentions that these models are far from accurate, and it’ll likely get broken when the first domino falls. However, they are often a fun window into what we can expect this winter. And with the Blue Jays shopping for pitchers, it’s certainly worth a look.

Admittedly, the Toronto Blue Jays will be faced with many difficult decisions this winter. The first of which will be whether or not to offer Josh Johnson a qualifying offer before he hits the free agent market. After looking over Zimmerman’s model, that could be a stupid decision to make.

Zimmerman sees Josh Johnson scoring a 1-year deal in the range of $8 million. That’s a a far cry from the $14.1 million price tag that would be attached to a qualifying offer. If the Blue Jays make the offer, Johnson will no doubt accept such an offer in order to rebuild his value for a multi-year deal next year.

Now, Josh Johnson could feasibly have a home in Toronto again next season, but the $8 million price tag would be a whole lot easier to swallow on a reclamation project than would be the $14.1 million. There is mutual interest between the two parties to possibly explore a 1-year deal as well, so it is a realistic possibility that we see Johnson again in Toronto. Both parties believe that Johnson is better than the 2-8 record, 16 starts, and 6.20 ERA he posted an abbreviated 2013 season.

Adding to that possibility is the fact that the remaining free agent market is less than encouraging. Add in the thought of having to pay some of the salaries below projected by Zimmerman, and Alex Anthopoulos’s already wary attitude toward the free agent market gets marginal at best.

Ricky Nolasco – 3-years, $36 million
Ubaldo Jimenez – 3-years, $39 million
Bronson Arroyo – 2-years, $24 million

Needless to say, the Blue Jays aren’t likely to take a big bite out of either of those three. There is still the possibility that they put in an offer of Ervin Santana, but he’s likely to come at a significantly higher price tag than the Blue Jays want to pursue. The same will likely be said, unfortunately, for Masahiro Tanaka.

So, Josh Johnson could be the best available option. And at a price of $8 million, maybe I’m not so adverse t that as I once thought.

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  • brad

    I wonder if he would accept a two year 6-7 per year type contract with incentives. I would be much happier if that was the type of thing they were offering him. If a team is going to take a chance on a guy, it is much more effective if the payoff is 2 years of cheap production rather than 1(while only spending 6 mil more total than a 1 year 8 mil contract…. which isn’t too bad if it goes tits up)

    The team shows faith in the player by showing they want him for the entirety of their 3 year competitive window and guaranteeing money for 2 years and the player shows faith in the team by signing for two years at a reduced rate(beleiving he can rebuild his value after only 1 year) because they are taking a chance on him. Seems like a win win to me

  • revolu888

    The problem with not giving him a qulifying offer is that you now leave him for other teams to try and make him right. And if he signs elsewhere, you get nothing for it, especially if he turns around and becomes kinda good again. His FIP and xFIP was alot better then his era or record would suggest.
    And now that Lincecum has resigned at such a high aav relative to his performance, and given the nature of the free agent market, I would not be surprised if GM”s actually offer him close to the qualifying offer if we don’t resign him. That of course changed if we extand the qualifying offer and it’s pretty much a lock we get JJ returning to our rotation.

  • bob l.

    let him walk. there are other options. drabek was probably their best pitcher in 2012 before the injury. hutchison also pitched well. stretch out mcgowan this winter and give him a shot at the 4 or 5 slot. OR look at what the cardinals are doing right now. they have 2 rookie pitchers in their WORLD SERIES rotation and had ,i believe 12 rookies pitch for them this year. instead of selling the farm system, bring up stroman. bring up sanchez. bring up nolin. who knows maybe next year there will be a different bird in the big show!

    • david s

      Much as I like having a sportscar like McGowan starting I think his history shouts out bullpen. Spring training may show his efforts to retrain as a starter may show benefits, but I think we should be grateful he can pitch at all after all his injuries.

      I am less confidant about Drabek. I do not think he has what it takes to be a lights out pitcher in the AL East especially for a team that wants to contend. He was fine for a .500 team, but we need a power pitcher to compete against the Yankees, Boston, etc. Perhaps Hutchinson would be best used for depth as well.

      I do believe in Stroman as a potential 5th place pitcher but he is still young, only 21. Wacha and Kelly are 23 and 26 respectively. Kelly only had 15 and 16 starts the last two years. Wacha only had 15 starts. They are making a splash now because they are relatively fresh and uninjured.

      It might be too much too expect for Stroman to be a 5th starter just yet.

      No, I think Johnson and one more power pitcher are needed. Depth we got. We need first line pitchers… now.

  • david s

    Simply said, I think we need to take a chance and resign him for the year. He wants to rebound and his upside is very good. Hopefully, his operation will bring him back to form. Kyle F. is right. The price is right if one looks at the other FAs. If JJ does not work out, at least there is more depth now than last year… much more.