Let’s Not Forget About Josh Johnson
This morning, it was reported that the Padres have interest in signing free agent pitcher Brandon Morrow. While this might suggest that the Padres have a deal in place to deal one of their current starting pitchers like Ian Kennedy, it could be the Padres are just looking for more veteran pitching options. Ervin Santana made his decision MUCH earlier this season than last – and even got his coveted multi-year deal to his liking by signing with the Twins. Also, the free agent pitching market is still going to have some dramatic moments, as Max Scherzer and James Shields still have not even signed deals! So when will Johnson decide?
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He is reported to start throwing in mid-February, and it is very possible that both sides are simply waiting until after he starts throwing before even making a decision at all. After all, I appreciate the fact that Johnson has already said he feels obligated to the Padres after wasting $8 million last year by signing and not throwing a pitch. I also appreciate that as we all wrote last year – he could still be a game-changing performer – if he is healthy.
Money should not be the issue here. Whether he is healthy is the ONLY question – and where he might fit in the Padres plans for 2015. In my mind, the Padres can sign him to a club-friendly deal, and he can continue to rehab in the minor leagues. Then, he can be that push of energy late in the year when other arms are getting tired and need a day off here or there. There is no rush here to know exactly your 5-man rotation and 3 backups in December. Spring Training however would be a good place to start.
It is unlikely the Padres are going to go after any of the big name FA SPs, so maybe they are more than happy with their current stock of arms – but are okay with “taking a shot” at a few guys like Morrow and Johnson. What do they really have to lose?
In my prediction, he won’t make a decision until March of this year, and would be surprised if we hear much more about him for awhile. Don’t forget about him though A.J. Preller. There are only so many former All-Star pitchers who have stated they wish to play for your ball club.
We’ve said it before that you can NEVER have enough starting pitchers. Especially if the right trade does come up and they end up trading Andrew Cashner or Ian Kennedy. The Padres should keep going after free agents like Morrow, keep shooting for trades like the Matt Kemp deal and rumors of one still in the works for Justin Upton, but sometimes the best offer is still right in front of you.
Eric Stults anyone?