Padres sign free agent right-hander Josh Johnson to one-year, $8 million contract

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Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com shares the following breaking news:

Free-agent starter Josh Johnson has reached agreement on a one-year, guaranteed $8 million contract with the San Diego Padres, a baseball source told ESPN.com.

The deal includes additional performance bonuses based on games started, the source said. Johnson was in San Diego for a physical exam Tuesday and the contract is expected to be announced by the club Wednesday.

The Padres are a nice fit for Johnson, who will be looking to revitalize his career after posting a rough 6.20 ERA in 2013 for the Blue Jays. San Diego’s Petco Park is one of the more pitcher-friendly environments in the big leagues — even with the recent wall tweaks — and Johnson should be able to produce far better numbers if he’s healthy.

Johnson, 29, drew interest from the Giants, Pirates and Royals before settling Tuesday with the Friars.

He had a 3.15 ERA in 916 2/3 innings with the Marlins before being shipped to Toronto last winter.

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UPDATE, 11:45 p.m. ET: Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors says Johnson can earn $1.25 million on top of the $8 million guaranteed if he makes 26 starts. Also from Dierkes: the Pirates were the runners up.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

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The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.

In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.

The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.

Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”

It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.

It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.