The Oakland Athletics and newly acquired relief pitcher Jim Johnson avoided arbitration by agreeing on a one-year deal, the team announced on Thursday. The 30-year-old closer will earn $10 million in 2014, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Johnson was acquired by the A's from the Orioles on Dec. 2 in exchange for Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later, which turned out to be David Freitas. He'll assume the back-end-bullpen duties vacated by Grant Balfour, who oddly enough, was close to signing with the Orioles as a free-agent earlier this offseason until a failed physical derailed the process.
Johnson is coming off of consecutive 50-plus-save seasons in Baltimore, where he posted a 3.11 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in parts of eight seasons. He will be a free agent following the 2014 campaign.
More players avoid arbitration
Kyle Kendrick, Bud Norris and Tim Collins also avoided arbitration with their clubs on Thursday, according to team press releases. Kendrick's salary will be the highest of the four, coming in at $7.675 million, per the Phillies' Twitter account.
The teams have yet to make it official, but the Pirates and Travis Snider also came to an agreement on a one-year deal, as did the Mets and Eric Young Jr., reports Sherman. Snider will make $1.2 million in 2014, while Young is set to receive $1.85 million.
Kansas City signs Guillermo Mota
The Royals and veteran reliever Guillermo Mota agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training, the team announced in a press release on Thursday.
Mota, 40, last pitched in the majors in 2012 for the Giants. He posted a 5.23 ERA in 20⅔ innings but struck out a career-high 10.5 batters per nine innings. Mota's 743 relief appearances are fifth-most in MLB since 1999, when the right-hander began his big-league career with the Montreal Expos.
Colorado agrees to deal with Michael McKenry
The Rockies signed former Pirates catcher Michael McKenry on Thursday to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training, according to a team press release.
McKenry, who will be 29 on Opening Day, hit .217/.262/.348 for Pittsburgh in 2013. Thanks to the presence of Russell Martin, he was limited to 122 plate appearances a year after posting a slug-heavy 109 OPS+ in 275 trips to the plate in 2012.
Colorado selected McKenry in the seventh round of the 2006 draft. He made his MLB debut with the team in 2010 before being dealt to the Red Sox following the conclusion of that season.