It’s been pretty clear for a long time that Josh Johnson wouldn’t throw another meaningful pitch this season, but it took until Thursday for the Marlins to make it official.
“You rewind this whole thing we thought it was gonna be a two-week thing and that was four months ago,” Marlins baseball operations president Larry Beinfest said.
Indeed, Johnson has been on the DL since May 21 with right shoulder inflammation. He’s gone without a major setback since, but he also hasn’t progressed nearly as the Marlins hoped. He’s just getting back on a mound now, and while the Marlins might have been tempted to try to aim for a late-September return as a reliever if they were still in the race, there’s certainly no point to trying it now.
Johnson, in the second year of a four-year, $39 million contract, will make $13.75 million each of the next two seasons. He’ll probably be worth the money if healthy, but he’s had just one season as a major leaguer in which he’s made 30 starts. He was 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA in nine starts before getting hurt this year.
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.