After a flurry of rumors throughout the day on Monday, the saga of the Orioles exploring trades with Jim Johnson came to a close late at night, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
Source: #Athletics acquire Jim Johnson from #Orioles for 2B Jemile Weeks.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 3, 2013
Weeks will be 27 years old before the start of the 2014 season. He spent most of 2013 in Triple-A Sacramento, where he batted .271/.376/.369 in 130 games. That is not an awful on-base percentage, to be sure, and shows that Weeks may be one of those players who is aware that by taking four pitches out of the strike zone, you get a free pass to first base.
In three big league seasons, Weeks has played in a total of 223 games, nearly all at second base, batting .258/.319/.357, a much less inspiring batting line.
The Orioles must have really wanted to clear Johnson's salary. Weeks is not even arbitration eligible until the 2016 season and not a free agent until after 2018, but who cares? What good is having cheap years of an average-fielding, poor-hitting second baseman? I guess we will find out. They could have just kept playing Ryan Flaherty and that would have been fine with me. They also hopefully have Jonathan Schoop waiting in the wings.
It's not much surprise there is little to be had in return for an $11 million reliever. Johnson saved some big games for the Orioles in 2012 and blew some big ones in the playoffs. He saved about as many games in 2013 and blew more big ones in the regular season. He has one year before he's a free agent. Why not just keep him instead of take only Weeks?
The Orioles announced in a press release that there would also be a player to be named later in the trade. That may take place after the Rule 5 draft, once it's known who has been selected or not from the Athletics organization.
Maybe Duquette's scouts see some upside remaining in Weeks - that is a respectable minor league on-base percentage, after all - or maybe they just really wanted to dump Johnson on someone. So long and thanks for all the blown saves, Jim. Good luck out there, unless the O's find themselves in competition for a wild card spot with the Athletics, in which case you can feel free to keep blowing all the saves you like.