Earlier Monday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Orioles were "trying hard" to trade Jim Johnson, with the Dodgers being cited as a team that the O's were talking to. As the evening unfolded, the story evolved:
Sources: #Athletics are team most involved in trade discussions for #Orioles’ Jim Johnson. #Dodgers do not expect to get him.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 3, 2013
It's curious to find the Athletics as the team who is involved, given that they're even more likely to be budget-conscious than the Orioles and you wouldn't think that they would want an $11 million bullpen pitcher either.
Perhaps the O's will be sending some money along with Johnson in these trade talks, or perhaps the Athletics think that by taking on salary, they can get a better player than they would on the open market. It could be some of both.
Though he may at times have been deservedly maligned as the O's closer in 2013, Johnson is not a terrible pitcher. He has put up a 1.135 WHIP in the last three seasons combined, with a 2.70 ERA. He's pitched nearly 70 innings each of the seasons where he was the closer. He has value to a team, if not $11M of value as a closer.
Just because the Athletics are "most involved" does not mean that a trade is a certainty or even a likelihood. It's just a reflection of what Rosenthal has heard today. What kind of player the O's might get back from Oakland in a trade was not reported.