The Athletics acquired Jim Johnson from the Orioles last month and now they have have avoided arbitration with their new closer by agreeing to a one-year, $10 million contract. Joel Sherman of the New York Post was first to report the signing.
Johnson made $6.5 million last season, so he’s seeing another big raise after reaching 50 saves for the second straight year. The 30-year-old wasn’t nearly as effective last year as he was in 2012, blowing nine saves and taking eight losses, but he still had a 2.94 ERA in 74 appearances while improving his strikeout rate and inducing grounders at a high clip. He’s currently due to hit free agency next offseason.
It was a bit of a surprise to see Johnson end up in Oakland, but Billy Beane obviously felt that committing to him for one year was more desirable than signing another closer to a multi-year deal or relying on one of their young relievers and thus increasing their eventual salary in arbitration.