Update: In addition to the $8 million base salary, Johnson will receive an additional $1.25 million if he makes 26 starts in 2014. However, if he is starts fewer than seven games, the Padres will gain a team option for 2015 valued at $4 million, reports Blue Jays play-by-play announcer Mike Wilner.
Free agent starting pitcher Josh Johnson and the San Diego Padres have come to an agreement on a guaranteed one-year, $8 million contract, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The deal is expected to be announced Wednesday.
Johnson could make even more money in 2014. There are additional bonuses for games started next season. He took his physical for the team on Tuesday. Health is the biggest concern for him going forward: Johnson has dealt with shoulder inflammation multiple times and made just 16 starts for the Blue Jays in 2013 due to a variety of injuries. Johnson also had surgery on Oct. 1 to remove bone spurs from his elbow.
Over those 16 starts, Johnson struggled in Toronto. Though his strikeout rate was the highest of his career, he posted a 6.20 ERA and 1.66 WHIP. Some of those struggles can be chalked up to his injuries, but he never really was able to string together several good starts in a row. When fully healthy, he has shown the ability to be one of the best pitchers in the game. He was a Cy Young candidate in 2010 with the Marlins when he had a 2.30 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 28 starts.
The Padres may have found a nice fit in Johnson. The team has a number of options for the starting rotation, but none with the upside of the 29-year-old. If he does re-injure himself, they will have someone to fill in. If he stays healthy, he could anchor the San Diego pitching staff.
Johnson figures to slot in with Ian Kennedy, Eric Stults and Andrew Cashner in the Padres' rotation. Tyson Ross and Joe Wieland are among those who could contend for the fifth spot.
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