Athletics acquire Jim Johnson from Orioles for Jemile Weeks
The Athletics have their replacement for closer Grant Balfour. They acquired Jim Johnson from the Orioles for infielder Jemile Weeks.
Baltimore was reportedly shopping their closer for salary relief in recent weeks. Johnson, 30, is projected to earn more than $10 million in 2014 according to Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors, so the Orioles are saving a nice chunk of change with the trade.
In 74 games this past season, Johnson managed to lead MLB in both saves (50) and blown saves (nine). He had a 2.94 ERA (143 ERA+) and a 3.11 K/BB in 70 1/3 innings. Johnson also led MLB with 51 saves in 2012 and saves are an easy way to earn a huge salary through arbitration. The sinkerballer is due to become a free agent next winter.
Weeks, 26, hit .303/.340/.421 (110 OPS+) in 97 games as a rookie in 2011 but he has been unable to build on that success. He put up a .221/.305/.304 (73 OPS+) line in 2012 before spending most of 2013 in Triple-A. Rickie's little brother did manage a .271/.376/.369 line in 130 minor league games this past season.
The trade fills a need for both teams. The A's lost closer Grant Balfour to free agency while the O's have a long-standing hole at second base due to Brian Roberts' continued injury problems. Baltimore likely views Weeks as a change of scenery player.