Jim Johnson might return to elite closer status someday, but it won't be for the Oakland Athletics. They released him Friday still owing what's left of Johnson's $10 million salary for 2014.
In 2012 and 2013, right-hander Johnson saved a combined 101 games, posting a 2.72 ERA in 139 innings for the Baltimore Orioles. He made the American League's All-Star team in '12, even getting votes in the respective Cy Young and MVP contests. But even the best relief pitchers can be fickle. Traded to the A's in the offseason, Johnson allowed seven runs in his first five appearances and, even though he blew just one save, manager Bob Melvin quickly lost confidence.
His stats: 7.14 ERA with 60 hits allowed in 40 1/3 innings. He allowed two baserunners for every inning he pitched. But, there might be a landing spot for him in a familiar place:
Johnson, 31, put in six full seasons in Baltimore. Perhaps he can get himself together and help them in September.
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