The Marlins traded Josh Johnson in the off season to the Blue Jays with just one year remaining on his contract, and he has been a completely different pitcher since heading to Canada. Johnson posted two stellar seasons in 2009 and 2010, and received a pretty hefty deal because of it. He posted a 2.30 ERA in 2010 and was one of the top pitchers in baseball.
It was all downhill from there.
Johnson missed most of the 2011 season with a shoulder injury and has never been the same since. He had a respectable 3.81 ERA last year, but didn’t have the same zip on his fastball. His heater approached 99 mph in 2009 but has been falling ever since. He now averages around 93 mph and doesn’t have what it takes to get the job done.
Many players seem to step their game up in a contract year, but Johnson hasn’t done himself any favors. He currently has a 1.61 WHIP, which is enough to get most starters a free ticket to the minors, but the Blue Jays feel obligated to give him his starts. That might not be the case if he weren’t making $13.75 million this year.
Unfortunately for them, they’ll be forced to ride it out because the way he has been pitching, not many teams would want his services.
It looks like the Blue Jays didn’t exactly do their homework when the deal was made. The trade also involved Jose Reyes, so the Marlins could have easily been thinking of a sneaky way to get everything they could out of the Blue Jays’ farm system. Perhaps more time off would do Johnson some good because as is, he’s not helping a whole lot.