Jim Johnson has led the American League in saves each of the last two seasons, but it appears the Baltimore Orioles are planning on heading into the 2014 MLB season with a new face at the closer position. Johnson is reportedly on the trade block as the 30-year-old is eligible for arbitration and he won’t be cheap — Johnson becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2015. Therefore, the Orioles are throwing out feelers to any MLB team that wants Johnson’s services.
Of course, big-time spenders like the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees have already emerged as possible suitors considering both could use help in the bullpen. One thing is for certain: the Orioles would be doing themselves a huge favor if they can find a way to unload Johnson. While Baltimore might initially miss such a fixture like Johnson, the Orioles can surely find another closer from now until opening day.
Besides, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series with Koji Uehara at closer — heading into 2013 Uehara had a mere 14 saves in four years. Baltimore has plenty of arms to throw in Johnson’s position and none of them are going to cost $10 million a year. With that in mind, stay tuned to see if the Orioles decide to deal Johnson for a plethora of prospects or if Baltimore winds up keeping Johnson on the roster for years to come.