Josh Johnson Round Two?


Josh Johnson just a few years ago was one of the top pitchers in baseball. Last year the Padres signed him and had visions of a Power Four rotation of Andrew Cashner, Josh Johnson, Ian Kennedy, and Tyson Ross. Then Spring Training started and within a few weeks, Johnson was out for the season. Andrew Cashner missed chunks of time, and for good measure, prospect Cory Luedke underwent his second TJ Surgery as well.

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Yet despite all that, the Padres had one of the top rotations in all of baseball. Go figure. Josh Johnson may not yet be done – as reported by Joel Sherman on his Twitter account and other reports throughout the off-season. Yes, the Padres rejected their $4M option from last year’s 1 year deal. That means they could sign him for less. Less of a gamble seems like a good take.

To Johnson’s credit, he seems to be pretty understanding of the situation both he and and the Padres are in at this point. He is still young, still strong, and still capable of being a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. The Padres can look to another of their former skyscraper pitchers Chris Young who turned things around after years of injuries to win the 2014 AL Comeback Player of the Year.

Johnson has expressed in the past how he feels like his time in San Diego is unfulfilled at this point, in part of course since it never really even started. He knows that he got paid a lot of money last season to be in rehab, and seems eager to prove to himself, his team, and probably most importantly his teammates that he is a man of character and wants to earn his money.

The Padres will tread carefully on this one, as coming back from second TJ Surgeries is still a new area. The Atlanta Braves in 2015 will be monitoring this situation closely as well as they have two starters coming back from second TJ Surgery, and hope can be seen in the successful rehab of the Diamondbacks pitcher Daniel Hudson last season.

Is Johnson worth any money though? Pitching is the Padres depth after all. I like the idea of a $1M base contract and perhaps heavy incentives based on starts, innings, and wins that would also reward Johnson if he is able to pitch up to this potential. Currently he is a free agent, but seems more interested in staying in San Diego than anywhere else. He could provide a valuable arm to have on backup for the long summer months or spell Andrew Cashner or Tyson Ross if they have any DL stints this season. He could also provide mentorship to the younger staff and other Padres pitchers coming up.

Let’s give Josh a chance, and hope for a strong return.