The Orioles are "trying hard" to trade closer Jim Johnson, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. This is the only remotely exciting piece of action for the O's on the tender deadline. Were he conducting his business from the middle of a swamp, Dan Duquette would likely be reminded by Yoda that there is no try.
Johnson's projected $10.8 million arbitration figure has been widely speculated to be unpalatable to the Orioles; it's already unpalatable to fans who watched him last year. Rather than just cast him onto the free agent heap, they seem determined to get something, anything, for him in exchange.
It only takes one team, but why would even one team give up anything in exchange for one year of a guy who's going to cost nearly $11 million dollars and blew nine saves last year? The Orioles seem desperate to get rid of him, which lowers their leverage even further. If they sent a few million dollars along with him, that might grease the skids a little more, though there has not yet been a report that the O's would be willing to send salary along with Johnson.
Rosenthal mentions the Dodgers as one team in the mix. If there was any team the O's could unload their $11 million closer on, it might as well be the team that was dropped into the league from a future where society has evolved beyond such barbaric concepts as money.
That team has Kenley Jansen as its closer, who has pitched to a 2.10 ERA with a 0.854 WHIP over 141.2 innings the past two seasons. Would they want Johnson as an $11 million setup man, or even a $6 million setup man? We can dream. Even if they do want him, it's unlikely they'll give up much for him, but since the Orioles are crying poor despite getting $25 million in additional revenue from the new national TV contract, just the payroll flexibility could be valuable for the remainder of the team's off-season plans.
Expecting to trade Johnson for any meaningful player would be nuts. Trading him for a nobody player would be a useless face-saving gesture. If the O's really need the money, they can't risk the fact that they might not be able to dump Johnson on anyone. If they think they can go on without Johnson, they should.
Do or do not, Orioles.