After months of false starts and setbacks Josh Johnson was finally shut down for the season a few days ago, meaning he ended up missing the final 120 games of the year with a shoulder injury that is still described as merely “inflammation.”
Johnson has a long history of arm problems, limiting one of the most dominant starters in baseball to an average of just 119 innings per season since his brilliant debut in 2006.
And yesterday the 27-year-old Marlins ace told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald that “tall man’s syndrome” may be to blame for all the injuries:
It’s a matter of posture and a bunch of stuff that just kind of led up to it. Years and years of being tall, you’re always slouching down and bending over. You’re shoulder’s not in a good place. You start leaning over when you’re throwing. It snowballs.
Johnson apparently got that theory from a therapist and Spencer reports that the 6-foot-7 right-hander is “now paying close attention to his posture, standing straighter to relieve pressure on his scapula and wearing a customized shirt that helps keep his shoulders back.”
My initial reaction is to note that plenty of short pitchers have similarly lengthy injury histories and plenty of tall pitchers are injury free, but at this point Johnson and the Marlins are probably pretty open to ideas about how to keep him off the disabled list.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.