Though one game still remains in the 2016 World Series, most teams are busy getting ready for the 2017 season. In that spirit, on Tuesday the San Francisco Giants signed former All-Star pitcher Josh Johnson to a minor league deal. Due to a bevy of injuries, Johnson hasn’t appeared in a Major League game since 2013. However, if he can stay healthy, he could be a steal for the Giants.
San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) have signed RHP Josh Johnson to a minor league contract. Hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013.
— MiLB Roster Tracker (@MiLB_Tracker) November 1, 2016
Giants Sign Josh Johnson to Minor League Deal
Johnson, 33, has the talent to be a top-of-the-rotation starter. However, he hasn’t pitched a full season since 2012, and last appeared in a MLB game for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2013. He’s dealt with a myriad of ailments, including a nerve issue in his neck. He is currently working his way back from his third Tommy John procedure.
However, when healthy, Johnson put up better numbers than most of his peers. A two-time All-Star, Johnson’s abilities are well established. In 2010, as the then-Florida Marlins ace, he recorded a 2.30 ERA, which led the National League. He anchored the Marlins rotation for years, recording sub-4.00 ERAs in seven of his eight seasons in Florida. In four of those seven seasons, that figure sat at a sparkling 3.23 or lower (though one of those years was shortened by injury).
The Giants rotation is deep, and Johnson is a longshot to capture the fifth spot. However, San Francisco does have a need in its bullpen, the weakness that almost kept them out of the playoffs and eventually ended their season. A pitcher of Johnson’s ability would go a long way toward fixing that problem, and a bullpen role would help keep him healthy by reducing wear and tear. Either way, this is a low-risk, high-reward signing for the Giants.