5 Reasons Why Josh Johnson Will Dominate With San Diego Padres

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5 Reasons Why Josh Johnson Will Be Dominant in San Diego

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Johnson is coming off a disappointing 2013 season in his one year with the Toronto Blue Jays. Following a trade from the Miami Marlins, the hope was that Johnson would recapture his once-dominant form and lead the Blue Jays back to October. Poor performance and injuries got in the way of that, but that is no reason to doubt he will be anything but dominant with the San Diego Padres. There are several reasons why the Padres felt comfortable offering Johnson a one-year deal valued at $8 million for 2014 before possible incentives.

Johnson, who has a career 3.40 ERA, has always had difficulty staying on the field for an entire MLB season, having only started 33 games in just one year. In that 2009 season, Johnson won a career-high 15 games, but it was not the best season of his career. That came a year later in 2010, when the right-hander had a 2.30 ERA, which was best among NL starters and led him to a fifth-place finish in the NL Cy Young race. In those two years combined, Johnson made 61 starts. However, in the three seasons since, he has only made 56 starts.

The key for Johnson is the ability to stay on the field on a consistent basis. What separates Johnson from many others is that when he is able to play regularly, he is one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. With his recent injury now behind him, every expectation is that he will be a bona fide ace at a bargain price for the Padres in 2014.

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5. Petco Park

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It's a well-known fact that Petco Park favors pitchers with its spacious dimensions, and has the ability to turn what could be a home run in another park into a simple can of corn. Johnson’s home field in Toronto is more known for creating offense and was like a contributing factor in his unusually-high ERA on the year. Johnson can take advantage of Petco Park's dimensions to keep his ERA low and possibly bring it back to the levels he saw while playing in South Florida.

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4. Return To the NL

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Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The National League affords a pitcher the opportunity to face one less imposing threat every turn in the lineup. For the most part, opposing pitchers are automatic outs, which allows a starter to escape a potential rally and extend his time on the mound. In the American League however, Johnson had to face the likes of David Ortiz in 2013 instead of a guy like former big leaguer Brian Moehler. For the unaware, Moehler was an abysmal 9-of-188 in his career at the plate, with 89 of those coming via strikeout.

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3. Closer To Home

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Johnson lives in Las Vegas these days, which makes his new place of employment in San Diego attractive in terms of being close to his family. With a wife and two young kids, Johnson is a well-known family man who likely factored the closeness to home into his decision to sign with the Padres. Being able to see his family and spend a little more time closer to home could give the former ace a comfort level that will help him perform better on the field.

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2. Chance To Rebuild Value

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Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

It's easy to forget that Johnson is only 29 and could have a lot of good years ahead of him in the big leagues. These could be extremely profitable years as well should he be able to show that he can lead a staff again. Teams are always looking for frontline starters and with a one-year deal, Johnson can set himself up for a tremendous payday. Players often perform better in contract years and if he can stay healthy, that can easily be the case for Johnson as well.

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1. Motivated To Prove People Wrong

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Johnson is a fierce competitor, and to say that he didn't already try hard every five days would be a falsehood. He puts it all out there for his team every time he takes the mound, and that shouldn't be called into question. Having said that, everyone can be motivated just a little more, and there is a very good reason for Johnson to find that extra motivation. There are rumblings that the Padres took a big risk and paid too much for a guy who can't stay healthy and who has his best years behind him. Johnson can show these people they are wrong on both accounts with a strong season.

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