Tigers, not Orioles, sign A’s castoff Jim Johnson

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Jim Johnson worked out for the Orioles after being released by the A’s and most people assumed he was ready for a reunion in Baltimore, but not so fast says Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

Johnson has signed a minor-league deal with the Tigers, where he joins Joe Nathan, Joakim Soria, and Joba Chamberlain in a bullpen that’s been overhauled since last year.

Johnson was a mess in Oakland, posting a 7.14 ERA in 38 appearances, but he saved 101 games as the Orioles’ closer in 2012-2013 and came into this season with a lifetime 3.11 ERA in 360 games.

As a $10 million closer he was a disaster for the A’s. As a minimum-salaried middle reliever he might prove useful for the Tigers. And maybe he’ll get a chance to face the A’s in the playoffs.

Cubs have considered trading Ben Zobrist

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The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma reports that the Cubs have considered trading super-utilityman Ben Zobrist in order to free up payroll space, which would allow the club to address other areas of the roster.

Zobrist, 37, is entering the final year of his contract and will earn $12 million in 2019. According to Cot’s Contracts, the Cubs project to have an Opening Day payroll of about $204.5 million, just a hair below the luxury tax threshold of $206 million. The Cubs have notably been absent from the free agent marketplace, particularly involving Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, due to luxury tax concerns.

Last season, Zobrist hit .305/.378/.440 with nine home runs, 58 RBI, and 67 runs scored in 520 plate appearances. He played all over the field, logging 100-plus innings in both outfield corners and second base while also spending a handful of games at first base. With Addison Russell serving a 40-game suspension to open the 2019 season, Javier Báez will handle shortstop and Zobrist figures to be the starting second baseman.