San Diego Saturdays: The Padres Should Have Kept Josh Johnson


I just didn’t get it. No, Josh Johnson isn’t the same pitcher he was early on with the Marlins and I know he didn’t throw a pitch in a Padres uniform before requiring season ending Tommy John Surgery. But the Padres signed Johnson to pitch, not as a one or two or perhaps not even a three, but low in the rotation. They were willing to pay $8 million dollars for him last season but that wasn’t meant to be. They put an option on him for 2015 but declined it. So what was the point of any of this?

Look, I get that the Padres expected more from Johnson in 2014 like… Oh I don’t know A START! But that didn’t happen. So they just toss him away? Wouldn’t it be smarter to at least let him pitch his way off the team instead of just chalking him up as a failure? He hasn’t been himself for a long time but it wouldn’t be the first time a pitcher came back from struggling to become a productive starter again.

Look at R.A. Dickey with the Mets and the Blue Jays. Look at Aaron Harang with the Braves or Chris Young with the Mariners just this past season. What about Brandon McCarthy, whose season took a complete 180 degree turn after being traded from the Diamondbacks to the Yankees. Even the Padres own Ian Kennedy fits that billing. Johnson possibly coming back and being a dominant (Well, maybe not dominant but you get the point) force on the mound was not an impossible feat.

Johnson was an animal during his time with the Marlins, going 56-37 with a 3.15 ERA and 832 strikeouts in 8 seasons. But after being sent to the Blue Jays before the 2013 season in that blockbuster trade he fell off. In 2013 he went just 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA in just 16 starts.

At age 30 Johnson is still in his prime and could easily pick it back up. Someone of Johnson’s pedigree would’ve cost the Padres about… You know what? Forget that! The Padres wouldn’t even have come close to signing him a few years back. He’s in his prime with time left to return to his old stuff but unfortunately he won’t be doing that with the Padres.

In this case, cutting your losses wasn’t the right move. One year, one more shot, $4 million dollars that’s all it would take. For a team that’s not going anywhere as far as the playoffs are concerned the chance was one the Padres should’ve taken.