San Diego Padres sign Pierce Johnson, continue upgrading bullpen

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 03: Pierce Johnson #58 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Seattle Mariners at AT&T Park on April 3, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 03: Pierce Johnson #58 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Seattle Mariners at AT&T Park on April 3, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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The San Diego Padres continue to bring in arms to try and create a dominant bullpen with their recent signing of Pierce Johnson.

When you have a young starting rotation as the San Diego Padres do, the best thing you can do to help them is creating a strong bullpen behind them.

That’s exactly what A.J. Preller is attempting to do this offseason.

He’s already signed the best relief pitcher available in Drew Pomeranz, and over the last week he’s brought in several upside arms on Minor League deals.

Now he brings in another big arm by signing Pierce Johnson to a 2-year deal for $5 million with a third-year team option, according to Jeff Passan.

Johanson was taken 43rd overall in the 2012 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs out of Missouri State.

Over seven Minor Leagues seasons he has a career 3.26 ERA in 467 innings with a K/9 of 9.4 and a BB/9 of 4.1.

In 2018 with the San Francisco Giants he posted a 5.56 ERA in 43.2 innings with 36 strikeouts and 22 walks. But he did allow less than a hit an inning.

The right-handed reliever pitching in Japan in 2019 and was dominant in 58.2 innings with a 1.38 ERA and 91 strikeouts to just 13 walks.

It’s hard to imagine he’ll carry over his 2.0 BB/9 and 14.0 K/9 to the Major Leagues, but he clearly figured something out over there. And there is a history of relievers going to Japan, working on things, and then coming back better than before.

Just look at Chris Martin who did the same thing and earned a two-year, $14 million deal with the Atlanta Braves this offseason.

Johnson should be another good addition to what is becoming one of the best bullpens in all of baseball.

Next. Kinsler helps the Padres and retires. dark

It’s unclear whether or not the Padres will be able to grab another starter this offseason, but at the very least they’re putting together a strong bullpen to save the young guys in the rotation.

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