Jim Johnson and the Oriole might be headed for a reunion.
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Johnson is scheduled to work out for the Orioles and minor league pitching rehab coordinator Scott McGregor today at their spring training complex in Florida.
Johnson saved 51 games in 2012 and 50 games in 2013 as the Orioles’ closer, leading the league both seasons, but Baltimore dumped him (and his $10 million salary) on Oakland during the offseason. He posted a 7.14 ERA for the A’s, losing the closer job almost immediately, and was released last week.
If the Orioles like what they see presumably they’d sign Johnson to a minor-league deal and potentially call him up for a middle relief gig down the stretch. Oakland is on the hook for his entire salary.
Free agent lefty reliever Aaron Loup has been given a locker in the Padres’ clubhouse, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reported Sunday. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Loup received a one-year MLB deal with a club option for 2020. The Padres will shift right-hander Garrett Richards to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.
Loup, 31, began the 2018 season with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Phillies for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack at the midseason deadline. The veteran left-hander pitched just two innings in Philadelphia before hitting the injured list with a forearm strain and returned for a handful of appearances at the end of the year, bringing him up to a 4.54 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 10.0 SO/9, and 0.3 fWAR across 39 2/3 combined innings.
Assuming health issues don’t complicate his next campaign in San Diego, Loup will be added to the bullpen alongside fellow left-handers Matt Strahm and José Castillo (with the possible late addition of southpaw reliever Brad Wieck, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this year). There are worse places to be — according to FanGraphs, the Padres’ ‘pen jumped from second-worst in 2017 to second-best in the league with a cumulative 3.53 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 8.7 fWAR in 2018.