The frustrating performance of Jim Johnson as the Orioles closer has opened the door for discussion among fans about whether he would even be deserving of being tendered a contract as he entered his final year of arbitration. The contract would mean a guaranteed raise by the nature of the process, with his record of saves the past two seasons earning him far more money than blown saves will cost him.
Given that, it was fair to question whether he could possibly be worth to the Orioles whatever salary he might negotiate or be awarded for next season. However, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette has put an early end to the speculation before Friday's game, telling reporters that Johnson will be tendered a contract.
Johnson, who is making $6.5 million in his third year of arbitration as a Super Two player, will probably end up with a contract in the realm of $9 million for 2014. In essence, the O's are making a multi-million dollar wager that Johnson will be more like the pitcher who saved 51 of 54 games in 2012 than the pitcher who saved 48 of 57 games so far this season.
The Orioles are now far enough out from a wild card position that even if you say something like, if Jim Johnson had just blown four fewer games, the Orioles would be in the playoffs. At six games out, that is no longer true. There has been plenty of other blame to go around for the O's this season. Johnson was a crucial part of the success in 2012 and the O's are banking on that being the case again in 2014.
What do you think of this decision?