GM Alex Anthopoulos of the Toronto Blue Jays went all in, giving up numerous amounts of prospects and taking on millions of dollars when he pulled the trigger on last November’s blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins. Landing and then sticking with Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle, Anthopoulos thought that he had finally found that diamond in the rough that would round out the Blue Jays rotation.
Even though Reyes is the biggest name in that trade, Johnson was the guy Anthopoulos wanted first and foremost. The rest were salary dumps that Jeffrey Loria didn’t want to deal with (unless the Miami public were willing to reopen their wallets that he had already emptied for that monstrosity of a stadium he calls Marlins Park).
Anthopoulos has a lot of faith that Johnson can bounce back and show that he isn’t a one-and-done type of guy. When Johnson is healthy, he ranks among the MLB‘s best. That’s the tricky part though. Is he ever going to be healthy?
I think Anthopoulos believes Johnson will recuperate and come back strong in 2014 and prove why he still owns a very respectable career ERA of 3.40. Even though 2013 was an absolute disaster for the big righty, the fact is that Anthopoulos could potentially sign him for what I think would be a one-year contract that would see him earning less than the $14 million he earned in 2013.
There is an upside to keeping him at that price because he can bounce back just as he has before.
Johnson was virtually unstoppable in 2010, going 11-6 and posting a solid 2.30 ERA for the Marlins. Although 2011 was put to rest early because of his shoulder problems, Johnson healed nicely and regained some of the strikeout magic he had two seasons earlier, striking out 165 batters in 31 appearances in 2012.
This is what Anthopoulos wants and this is what he desperately needs. On the other hand, this is what Johnson and his agent desperately needs as well.
If the 29-year-old wants to finally sign that big long-term contract that everyone and their dog seems to want these days, he is going to have to put up some big time numbers in the K department sooner or later. I strongly believe that Anthopoulos wants that to happen in no other place than north of the border in Toronto.