Jim Johnson Out as A’s Closer
By Ben Dieter
Apr 2, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Jim Johnson (45) walks off the mound after being taken out of the game during the ninth inning in game two of a double header at O.co Coliseum. The Cleveland Indians defeated the Oakland Athletics 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Jim Johnson began the season as the closer coming out of the A’s bull pen but that is no longer the case. The Athletics acquired Johnson from the Orioles to be their closer and paid him $10 mm to do just that, but so far Jim Johnson has fared poorly at the job, post a 18.90 ERA and a 4.50 WHIP. According to CBS Sports, the A’s will move forward with a “closer by committee” format, using a mixture of Sean Doolittle, Luke Gregerson, Ryan Cook and Dan Otero.
This is a bit of an early surprise that the A’s were not expecting from Johnson, a pitcher that has had some good success in the past. The last two seasons in Baltimore, Jim Johnson has saved a combined 101 games (51 in 2012, 50 in 2013) while having a combined ERA of 2.72 and a WHIP of 1.15. I don’t know if it is mental or physical, but something is not right with the A’s pitcher in the early goings of the 2014 campaign.
The Texas Rangers had a competition for closer in spring training, and Joakim Soria beat out former all-star Rangers closer Neftali Feliz, but has also not fared as well as hoped in the early goings. Soria has an ERA of 9.00, but most of those runs came in a non save situation against the Red Sox on Tuesday night. The Rangers still have complete faith in Soria, the Athletics do not have that same faith in Jim Johnson anymore.
So will Jim Johnson be able to turn it around? That I don’t know, but as a Texas Rangers fan, any non injury trouble that the Athletics can have is alright by me. If he is able to turn it around, then watch out, because he has been one heck of a closer. For all of those people who think the Texas Rangers are cursed this season, just look around the American League West, it seems that the Texas Rangers are not the only AL West team having early trouble.