Anthopoulos: Johnson Start to Start For Blue Jays


August 1, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Josh Johnson (55) pitches during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY SportsThere has been no doubt that things have not worked out for the Toronto Blue Jays in the fashion that Alex Anthopoulos drew them up this offseason. In particular, the contributions of starter Josh Johnson have been downright disappointing, something that Anthopoulos was pretty candid about during a Sunday morning media scrum. (h/t to Gregor Chisholm for the transcript).

"“Right now he’s scheduled to make his next start but there’s no question it’s been about six starts where he has been getting hit. I know he’s working hard and he’s not making any excuses at all, he continues to battle. But it’s something we continue to talk about. We have to look at alternatives at some point if this continues, it’s really start to start at this point, it’s really the only way to characterize it. Right now, he’s going to make one more start and we’ll see how he does but we’ll continue to evaluate it each time.”"

Did you catch the one line that was truly important there; “it’s really start to start at this point.”

That’s a fairly brazen declaration on the part of the Toronto GM, finally admitting that the front office is not completely blind to Johnson’s struggles, especially over the last six appearances. However, Johnson’s issues really extend back through his last eight starts.

And how bad have those last eight starts been?

Appearances: 8
W-L Record: 1-6
Innings Pitched: 37.1
Runs Allowed: 43
ERA: 8.92
OPS Against: .949
WPA: -1.886

For a pitcher heading toward free agency and trying to convince his team to extend a qualifying offer to him this offseason, Josh Johnson is doing everything he can to drive his value down. If he truly is start to start and struggles once again on Tuesday against Seattle, the Blue Jays should have no choice but to remove him from the rotation. Replacing him with Todd Redmond or any other journeyman starter will surely finish the job on killing any value he has left.

If it comes to that, you cannot blame the Blue Jays for finally pulling the plug. Yes, it is a waste of money, but the team has used the crutch of Johnson’s contract to extend his leash about as far as it can go without snapping. At some point, you just have to cut your losses, one way or the other.

It’s good to see that Anthopoulos is recognizing that. Now we just need to see that he’s good to his word.