Oakland Athletics Make Impulse Trade For Jim Johnson

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics traded for Baltimore Orioles closer Jim Johnson late Monday night, sending second baseman Jemile Weeks to the east coast. Johnson is going to be owed $10 million-plus in salary next season because his is arbitration eligible. This trade makes sense on one end because the Athletics need a closer but it seems that the team could overpay for Johnson.

Johnson led the league in saves for the second straight year, recording 50 of them. His ERA was a 2.94, but he did have eight losses last season as well. Oakland is going to overpay for Johnson in salary arbitration this offseason. However, it is fine because the A’s have a lot of young, affordable players that have won plenty of games before. But if you could overpay for Johnson, why wouldn’t you overpay to bring back Grant Balfour?

Balfour is a fan favorite at the O.Co Coliseum after stepping into the closer role full-time with Oakland in 2012. Balfour is going to be a hot free-agent closer and if you saw Moneyball, you know that general manager Billy Beane is not going to shell out money for a closer. With Johnson, he will be paying more than $10 million for possibly a year. Johnson earned $6.5 million plus performance bonuses.

The trade seems more of an impulse decision rather than really taking a hard look at the market and making an offer to someone like Balfour, Brian Wilson or even Joaquin Benoit. We will see next season if the trade pays its dividends.

Ryan Gaydos is an MLB columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

Around the Web