Josh Johnson Leaves Toronto Blue Jays With More Questions Than Answers Going Into All-Star Break

By Thom Tsang
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Well, at least the Toronto Blue Jays don’t have to worry right now about whether or not they’re going to be able to extend Josh Johnson at the end of the season.

At this rate, even if the rumors turn out to be true about the team being sellers and making the righty available, it’s difficult to imagine that the return would consist of a whole lot on what was one of the team’s biggest offseason acquisitions going into the 2013. That’s just one question that the team will have to contend with and needless to say, it’s not a question they expected to come up.

After Johnson’s latest turn though, how can it not?

Once again showing the maddening inconsistency that led him to a 4.62/1.51 ERA going into the Blue Jays’ final game before the All-Star break, the right-hander could not avoid giving up the fireworks in a six-inning, seven-run outing against the divisional rival Baltimore Orioles.

It should be no surprise that four of those runs came off the bat of Chris Davis (who the bluebirds would probably like to not see again this season), but the most frustrating part? Johnson was once again better than the final line indicated between the disastrous early innings, giving up seven hits and walking just one while striking out seven.

So really, just what kind of talent does Toronto have in Johnson here?

He looked to be back in form in his first three turns after coming off the DL, but that was regressed into only an occasional display of brilliance mixed with a whole lot of frustrating bad habits — trying to power through hitters when he should be mixing things up at times, and being too fine when he should just attack hitters in others.

In short, though a 4.44/1.33 ERA/WHIP through 46.7 innings is a whole lot better than the 6.86/1.88 that he carried through four starts in April, this is still not the pitcher that the Blue Jays traded for.

And while that means his price tag is likely to come down as he nears free agency … does the team even want to extend him, given his injury history and the troubles he’s had adjusting to the AL? Will Johnson even necessarily want to stay with Toronto?

With just a couple of weeks before the non-waiver trade deadline, these questions will have to be answered reasonably soon — it’s just that the Blue Jays wanted to have to answer none of them, that’s all.

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