Yes, I still watch South Park, in case you don’t get the reference in the title.

And… yeah, I know, when you see it now there’s not as great a chance as there used to be that you’ll witness something spectacularly brilliant. But you never know! I mean, after a few years in the wilderness you still see enough signs of life to think that, one day, they might be able to put together a really, really strong season, reminiscent of the ones you remember from a few years back when nobody could touch them. Even just getting half of what they used to be would be damn great, and maybe their more favourable new environment– you know, how they only produce one ten-show run each year now, rather than two batches of seven– will lead to some great things. Shit, maybe it will lead them to one more long-term big money contract where they really get a chance to capitalize on what greatness they still might be able to achieve!

Can’t imagine why I’m thinking that as I’m reading word from last night that Josh Johnson has, indeed, signed with the Padres.

Probably just the catchy-as-hell song.

As for Johnson, his deal is a nice one for the Padres, who get him at $8-million for one year, with a $1.25-million bonus if he makes 26 starts, and a $4-million option for next season if he makes fewer than seven. I don’t think many would have complained if the Jays had landed him at that price, but I don’t think there’s much reason to believe that they could have– and it at least falls more than short enough of the $14-million qualifying offer for us to not feel like the Jays should have just paid him that anyway.

Tim Dierkes of MLBTR figures that the Padres “got a discount approaching 20%, just for being the Padres.” It makes sense. Sure, Matt Sosnick, Johnson’s agent, made nice with some comments about how much his client liked being in Toronto and he how he would have enjoyed staying here, but if the Jays weren’t going to tie a draft pick around Johnson’s neck and force the issue, it’s hard to see why he would have chosen to do so beyond some misplaced sense of loyalty.

I say “misplaced,” of course, because while trying to do right by the club who gave up so much to get him last year would have been awfully noble, that’s just not the way that relationships between players and their clubs work– it would certainly have been more loyalty than clubs show their players as a matter of due course. Guys are shoved out, pushed aside, leveraged, and basically treated as chattel whose utility to an organization is always at the risk of disappearing. Or… it’s maybe not quite that bad, but I certainly can’t blame Johnson for not feeling he owed any big league club anything here. He’s kinda earned that right by virtue alone of being eleven-and-a-half years removed from draft day 2002 when he was selected by the Marlins (three picks, it should be noted, before the Jays took Adam Peterson in the fourth round (ugh), and one round after the Jays took Dave Bush two picks ahead of Jon effing Lester (double ugh)).


I also can’t blame Johnson for choosing the Padres– near his home in Las Vegas, and his wife’s hometown of Anaheim– either. Especially since it’s going to be a much, much more favourable environment for him to pitch in, and to hopefully earn back some of the money he lost with a disastrous 2013. After all, it will only take one team not looking too skeptically at whatever numbers he puts up for him to really cash in.

There’s risk, though, too. If he’s awful in that park, well… then maybe he’s just awful.

I tend to think it will work out OK, though (because offuckingcourse it will), and can’t help but wish him well as I try not to dwell too much on what could have been– or, perhaps more accurately, what was supposed to have been.

Shit, and if things keep going south for him, it’s not like $8-million is a bad number to live on, and the weather’s nice. Not that he had much choice in the matter anyway. No! Not because the Giants, his other reported top choice, came to terms with Tim Hudson yesterday. Because how could anyone resist this powerful (if a touch overly 2012-ish) tourism message???

Comments (107)

  1. Thanks for the memory’s JJ….. You were the player I was most excited about last offseason, what a shame.

  2. I was hoping the Jays would get him on a similar deal. Would’ve expected $10M. If he pitches to his peripherals he’ll do very well in SD.

  3. Nice read of the market by AA by not offering the QO.

    • So, you don’t understand the qualifying offer system, then?

      • Understand it perfectly, thanks. How do I not? Maybe explain yourself instead of just writing a smug and ignorant comment.

        • I think he thinks you were being sarcastic.

        • Thanks. With the $14M qualifying offer, Johnson would have draft-pick compensation attached to him, severely reducing his attractiveness to teams. Should a team decide to forfeit their first (or second) round pick, they would in essence be gambling on trading a resurgent Johnson for what may not be more than the equivalent of a first or second round prospect, all while having to gamble a large sum of money for 2014. In this scenario the most likely outcome would have been Johnson accepting the $14M QO, a proposition that AA did not feel comfortable doing.

          So, either way, AA did not misjudge the market. Hence, I believe your comment to be ignorant of the actual situation.

    • If the Padres got 20% off, I would have offered $10m if I was AA. Just feels like selling low – your downside is capped (easy to say when its not my money) but the potential upside is still, Imo, no2 starter. Oh well….

  4. Lets not dwell on what never happened. It didn’t work out here, goodbye.

  5. I wish him the best of luck in Whale’s Vagina and I have a feeling he’s going to kick ass (which is why I’m glad he’s leaving the AL)

  6. johnson throws a disco spiral that doesnt even come close to leaving on average the solar system of the padres park and we pay him for it what kinda tiems are these we’re living in i dont know but i miss baseball fore sure sincerley brian

  7. Atleast he didn’t join the Rays.

    Guaranteed Cy Young contention.

  8. lol kind of a pansy move to announce that the Giants and Padres are his top choices and to take less money to go to the Padres. If he goes out and throws 160 innings with a 3.50 ERA, does he expect everyone to forget that he was complete trash the year before when he was in the AL East?

    • First: Less money than what?
      Second: Yes he does. And yes, they will.

    • If he pitches to a 3.50 ERA over 160 innings, people will realize that he’s better defined by looking at his past history as one of the best pitchers in baseball, not by looking at one year in which he pitched poorly through injuries and suffered from some horrible luck.

      It’s really not that complicated.

      • uh ya it is that complicated when he then turns around and expects someone to pay him near $100 million

        • Ubaldo Jimenez was basically a replacement level player in 2012. But after returning to form he’s looking at the possiblility of $60 million+ contract. Teams look at the complete resume, not just the previous year.

          I don’t think JJ will ever get that $100 million contract now, but there’s no reason he can’t still grab a 4-5 year deal with a bounce-back season.

          • The difference though is that Jimenez has at least stayed health. Johnson is a disaster, he’s been in the league 8 or 9 years and hasn’t even cracked 1000 innings yet.

        • Why is that complicated? You’re acting as if a rebound season in 2014 would be the outlier, but a rebound would just prove that 2013 was the outlier. If he has a very good 2014, $100 million isn’t unrealistic at all.

    • I would hope the front offices knew enough to adjust for his park and division.

      league average numbers at home in petco playing against the awfull NL west more often then not, do not equal a league average pitcher.

  9. Hope they enjoy all the curveballs in the dirt.

  10. “Go Fuck yourself San Diego”

    Nice work everyone…

  11. Good deal for him and his career. Definitely a safe ballpark to attempt to adjust from being a power guy to more of a pitcher. I wish him well.

    As for anyone with resentment here in Toronto, he never asked to come here, he was traded. It’s not like he signed here, took the money and ran.

    Also, he was a Blue Jay in his Free Agent walk year, I’m sure the guy was trying his best at the time. Throwing a baseball well is a hard thing to do, especially when you are aggravated in the body part that launches the baseball.

    It just didn’t work out. Just move on. And whatever you do knuckleheads, don’t boo the guy if he ever returns here, it’s just so misplaced.

    • Unless he’s Vernon wells

    • Yeah I don’t really feel bad toward him for this. This is a nice contract for him, and he’s going to just about the best possible place for a pitcher…as far away from the AL East as he can.

    • I’m sure some gambling website already has a variety of ways to bet on the boos Johnson can expect from Toronto fans next year. It is a shame really.

      I wonder if a player like Nate McLouth would ever sign here willingly after having beer tossed at him last year from some Toronto fan? I’m not saying he or the Jays are interested, just curious in the hypothetical sense.

      • I don’t think they’d give much of a shit, if the money was there. If the beef was with the organization or the front office, I think that would be a different story. But these guys what fans are like and know it would be different when they’re wearing “our” uniform. We’re not so different than others.

        • This is true. I’m a little bit jaded maybe when it comes to the Toronto sports fan, and you are right: at the end of the day we are the same as all other sport fans from all cities.

          Nate would totally sign here at the right price.

  12. I guess I still don’t get the Jay’s thought process on this situation.

    If the guy is worth 10 million on the open market , why not just spend an extra $ 4 million and control the asset?

    Were his medicals an absolute mess?

    Are they that tight financially they couldn’t afford him?

    Do they not believe in XFIP numbers generally and just feel his stuff is gone?

    Did he tell them he hates Toronto with all his heart ?

    Do they feel they can spend the money elsewhere with less risk ( that’s my take) ?

    Is all this talk of needing starters just a smoke screen?

    At some point it would be nice to know what happened here?

    • All the questions that we’ll never actually know the answers to.

      In the end, he was just an epic bust and I’m sure AA had no interest in making nice.

    • I remember posting that it was a no brainer that he would get the QO. Obviously, I was wrong. I thought that the gamble was worth it since it was only money. I still feel that JJ is going to have a great 2014. I hope he does, but also while the Jays are kicking ass.

    • On one hand, I am glad that the team is using its dollars well.

      On the other hand, I am very curious to see just exactly where these dollars are going to spent otherwise; especially since two guys we should have been all over on the FA market – Carlos Ruiz and Josh Johnson – are now off the FA market.

      I would definitely like to see some reporter press AA about his thought processes here, and how the Blue Jays came to this decision. Especially if these dollars are not spent on the SP rotation via FA/trade before the off-season closes.

      At the same time, having Johnson off the books will pretty much account for all arbitration raises (which are coming up soon). If the Jays payroll should be in the 135-150M range for next year (yes bold assumption here, I know), then they probably have about 115-125 in projected costs for next year as of now, without Johnson. This allows the team to do some damage in the FA/trade markets. I also wouldn’t mind if a couple of these dollars went towards a Colby Rasmus extension.

      On Johnson himself, while many of his numbers were fugly and some were promising last year, there was visibly a point in the season where he was no longer a Major League Pitcher. Similar to how Ricky Romero was visibily not a Major Leaguer at the end of the 2012 season, and even more-so in Spring of last year.

      I stream Jays games while listening to the radio, and while all words (especially mine) should be taken with a grain of salt, when you have guys like Jerry Howarth flat out saying JJ is not currently a Major Leaguer while asking just what on earth the Jays are going to do with him, it is not a good sign. Especially when a guy like Jack Morris, in his best attempt to defend JJ, comes up with the phrases “he’s trying his best” and “no one feels worse than JJ does.”

      All this being said, I hope the best for JJ. I hope Toronto fans do not boo him if the opportunity arises. I hope he turns it around and gets that contract he has worked most his life for. And he will turn it around… because “offuckingcourse” that would be a typical Jays story.

      • I think that’s pretty silly, saying they should have been all over those two.

        • I mean, I’m not saying we should have 100% signed them. And it is already encouraging that we have indications AA was all over Chooch.

          I’m sure he was “all over” JJ too, the cards just didn’t really need to be in our hands, as you are saying.

    • It was simply a lack of willingness to spend on Johnson. The qualifying offer and market value were very close after taxes. $14 million to pitch in Canada is probably within $3 million dollars of the $9.25 million he can put in his pocket by pitching well in San Diego. If the Jays liked the Padres deal, they could have easily come up with the difference by declining the options on Lind or Janssen, who are both arguably expendable at this point, or by trading them or others for cheaper alternatives.

      I think the bottom line was that the Jays didn’t want to spend ANY significant amount of money on Johnson.

      • Nonsense.

        • Really? So what price do you think they were willing to sign him for? I don’t think they were interested in signing him for anything above $5 mil/yr.

          • Which you base on… ?

            Oh, right. Absolutely nothing.

            • Correct to some degree :). But there is some logic to it.

              But we do know they didn’t like 14 mil, and they didn’t have much dialogue with his camp when he was entertaining offers of 8-10 mil from other teams. Further, we know that no MLB free agent with that amount of service time would be had for less than a few million. So I think it’s safe to say that if the Jays were truly serious about bringing back Josh, there number must have been between 2 and 8 mil per season. I split the difference and called it 5. Maybe it was 7, but it wasn’t 10 or more.

    • “Do they feel they can spend the money elsewhere with less risk ( that’s my take) ?”

      “Not to say we won’t take some risk, but again it comes down to how much you’re going to be paying for that risk, the opportunity cost. There’s obviously a lot of other guys out there that we still could get.” – AA

  13. I hate you Josh Johnson. No More Joshes on the Jays. You’re dead to me.

  14. Okay, 2013 Josh Johnson and 2007 Josh Towers face off in a 162 game season both with the 2013 Blue Jays as their teammates. All games played in the Rog-Mahal.

    Which team wins? JJ or JT?

    How many homeruns does Edwin hit in this fantasy awesomeness?
    Does JPA hit over .210?
    Does Rajai steal 70 bags? I know they aren’t lefties but he’s gotta get on more no?
    Will Colby have a conversation with the centre fielder on the other team and come away saying “I don know whut the fug that guy wuz sayin”.

  15. I was hoping the South Park video would be posted. Stoeten never disappoints!

  16. Jeff Blair was just talking about it with Jeff Passan (i think it was him). Passan thinks SD got a great deal. If Johnson works out, SD has a great trading chip at the deadline or a draft pick attached to him. If it doesn’t their $4 million option for 2015 looks pretty good.

    They did mentio the Johnson turned down more money to go to SD so Toronto couldn’t have had him at that price.

    Wish it had worked out here. Oh well.

    • how does the $4 million option look good … won’t that mean he had Back to Back terrible seasons – unhealthy?

      none the less I wish the Jays signed him for the QO

      • not really, the option only comes into play if he makes less than 7 starts, meaning he’d go down early with a season-ending injury. it gives SD more options in that event…if they think he’s worth hanging onto, he’ll cost them next to nothing.

      • Any club option looks good, especially a cheap one on a guy who might again be a good buy low candidate. He’s been a 7 WAR pitcher, you just don’t get to hold an option on guys like that for that price.

  17. Its crazy to think back on how badly Josh Johnson in Toronto worked given how fucking amped I was watching him pitch in Spring Training in Dunedin. My friend and I were walking back from the concessions during one game and ran into AA. We both had to shake his hand and congratulate him on a crazy amazing off season. At the end of 2012 there were a lot of target names going back and forth about who the Jays should try to acquire and Johnson was my #1 pick.. so I feel partially responsible for how that worked out. Sorry y’all.

  18. Question: If you can only upgrade at one position, who do you keep as your everyday player JPA or Goins?

  19. Only in baseball can somebody have a statistically horrible year, be injured for half the season, and sign an $8 million dollar contract the following year (and it also be viewed as a bargain). Damn, I should’ve stuck it out in little league.

  20. The whole Johnson saga is strange.

    This is a guy who they expended quite a bit of prospect capital and finances on to obtain.

    For AA he was a little bit of a Holy Grail, making several attempts over the years to get him.

    Now here we are a year later and they’ve totally soured on him.

    Usually given the high cost involved obtaining him, you’d think they’d have a little more faith in terms of trying to keep him around.

    There’s a back story here, we’ll see if the media pursues it……

    • No, the story is pretty obvious.

      • I don’t think it’s obvious at all.

        If you were a beat reporter and I was your editor, I’d be kicking your ass to get out on the ground and see what the real story is.

        Pay big for a guy one year, then punt him the next?

        Come on now, at least there’s a story in terms of what the hell went wrong.

        • We saw what went wrong on the field.

          • We sure did, he was brutal.

            Injury, mechanics?

            Can he come back?

            Did he even want to come back?

            Lots of potential story angles here….

            • No, there are none.

              • I guess that’s the difference between what you do and what actual reporters do.

                You do a great job, but basically you just analyze what others do. It’s an interesting position in today’s writing marketplace.

                Certainly not reporting, not really editorial work either. You write well, but a reporter would see the obvious story angles.

                • It’s not that I don’t see what you are trying to dream the story angles into being, I’m just telling you there’s no there there. Obviously.

                  They coveted him, he didn’t pitch well, he needed elbow surgery, they didn’t think it was worth the risk/dollars to give him the qualifying offer, he felt it was better for him to go elsewhere to rebuild his value. The end. That’s the story.

                  • Well let’s leave it to the writers with actual connections to ask the tough questions then ( i.e. should they have not done more due diligence on his health? )

                    I’m sure you’ll be there afterwords to riff on their original work in your usual solid style.

    • We also expended prospect capital to get Jose Reyes and Mark B, and not very much prospect capital.

  21. I am okay with this

  22. Is the first part of this post a backhanded reference to the Blue Jays and not just South Park?

  23. My holiday next summer is a trip to San Diego. Will be going to a couple of games. Maybe see him pitch a no hitter. /groans /vomits.

  24. is it possible the Padres think he will do really well in their ball park and make him a qualifying offer netting them a draft pick when he leaves for the multi-year contract or does the option negate that? Stots any thoughts?

  25. I know lots…..

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