Oakland acquiring Jim Johnson from Baltimore and agreeing to pay him $10 million this season left a lot of people shaking their heads and now the move is officially a spectacular failure. And over, too.
The A’s announced that they’ve designated for assignment Johnson, who was almost immediately stripped of the closer role in early April and has a 6.92 ERA in 38 appearances overall while allowing to hit .353 off him.
Earlier this week there were reports of the Marlins possibly being interested in Johnson at a reduced price tag, so perhaps the A’s will eat enough salary to find a taker for him rather than releasing the 31-year-old and eating the entire $10 million.
As bad as Johnson has been this season he did lead the league in saves in each of the previous two seasons and was deemed worthy of $10 million by one of the game’s smartest general managers six months ago. There are much worse reclamation projects.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: