Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors, expects that free-agent starting pitcher Josh Johnson will eventually sign a one-year deal worth a guaranteed $8 million and an additional $5 million in incentive bonuses.
With Matt Harvey all but done until the 2015 season, and the Mets in the market for a veteran starter to bolster the rotation, why not bring Johnson in for one year as he looks to reestablish his value while giving the Mets a pitcher with a solid track record in place of their lost ace?
Johnson, 29, is coming off a disappointing 2013 season for the Toronto Blue Jays in which he finished with a 2-8 record and an unsightly 6.20 ERA in 16 starts, after missing half of his season serving two stints on the disabled list with a forearm injury. His second trip wiped out the rest of his season, but he’s expected to make a full recovery after arthroscopic surgery and be ready for Spring Training.
One lone bright spot during his dismal season was that Johnson lost none of his velocity, averaging 93 mph, and posting the highest strikeout rate (9.2) of his career.
Prior to his trip into the Twilight Zone, Johnson was one of the elite starting pitchers in the National League when he fronted the Marlins’ rotation. During his eight years with the Marlins, the big righthander posted a 56-37 (.602) record with a 3.15 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and an 8.2 strikeout rate.
There’s a chance that Josh Johnson could accept a qualifying offer from the Blue Jays, but Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos may just decide to let Johnson go rather than risk paying him in upwards of $14.1 million in guaranteed dead presidents.
Given the Mets’ need and Johnson’s past performance, he could apprise the role of similar Mets reclamation projects like Chris Capuano, Chris Young and Shaun Marcum. Only Johnson has an infinitely higher upside and may even net the Mets a nice bounty should he come back strong and the Mets find themselves 15 games back in late July.