Why The O’s Traded Their 50-Save Closer For A Replacement-Level Second Baseman

Baltimore pulled a bit of a head-scratcher, sending Jim Johnson to Oakland for Jemile Weeks and a player to be named. As we did with Washington’s Doug Fister deal, let’s turn to Fangraphs to make sense of it:

t’s easy to explain from the Orioles’ perspective. Weeks, probably, won’t turn into anything for them, given his statistical decline and increasing age. And Johnson, for years, has been a pretty good late-inning reliever. But the Orioles aren’t a team that can afford to spend $11 million on a closer, not when there are other holes around the roster of a potential contender. This is a salary dump for the purpose of gaining flexibility, and while the Orioles are said to be looking for a closer replacement, that guy shouldn’t cost as much as Johnson will. There’ll be other money to put in other places. The Orioles will spread that $11 million around, in the hopes of being the better team for it. It’s that simple.

It’s not sexy, but I suppose it is that simple. So long, Jim Johnson. you did (mostly) good.

Up next for the O’s closer spot? Maybe big boy/flamethrower Tommy Hunter. Or fringe starter Bud Norris. Or maybe somebody else altogether. What’s Gregg Olson doing these days?

As for Weeks, I don’t know. He’ll be 27 this year and has a .258/.319/.367 line in 957 Major League plate appearances. He does play second base, though, which is bad news for Brian Roberts. And now I’m kinda bummed.

6 thoughts on “Why The O’s Traded Their 50-Save Closer For A Replacement-Level Second Baseman”

  1. So many O’s fans complained for years now about Johnson and his inconsistency. Doubt many of them will be sad now, but lets see who they actually end up replacing him with and hope its not O’Day.

    On the other hand, maybe Weeks amounts to nothing, but a change of scenery surely could do him well.

  2. Even if its a straight up salary dump I can’t believe you could not get a better offer than a guy who is not really a viable starter. At the very least O’s should have asked for a worn out/risky potential 5 starter/bullpen help/realistic prospect. Also I’m tired of hearing how the Orioles can’t afford to spend the money while in truth they are simply unwilling to spend the money.

  3. So long to the most wanted to be loved but couldnt quite get there Oriole of all time. Some of the blown saves this year were just brutal and I felt like someone should have told him to turn it down from always having it at 11 to maybe an 8 or or 9. I cant say I blame the Os for dealing him.

  4. The guy blew 10% of his save opps. It won’t be hard to replace him at all. At the very worst, you can find someone else or a platoon of relievers to blow 10% of your saves, and now you have the cap flexibility to upgrade other positions. It would have been smart to cut him, but getting something back is a bonus.

  5. Not bummed one bit. Apparently the market is pretty bare for clubs that want to take on a $10.8m closer. Im fine with Weeks. Maybe he regains his bat but probably not. Low risk, high reward. He can go down to Sarasota and battle it out with Flaherty, Schoop, and Phelps and will most likely start the season in Norfolk.

    I will only be pissed if they cut $10m and dont go spend it. Reasonable expectations: I want Feldman back and sign Bronson Arroyo to eat about 200 innings. I like Mujica but dont know if they can afford him if they manage to sign two starters. Kendrys Morales as a DH/1B wouldnt suck either. Id take a gamble on Corey Hart as a cheap DH option too.

    Biggest want would be Choo, but thats just not gonna happen. Unfortunately, I am fully expecting to resign Mclouth after he tests the market and we platoon him/Pearce/Urrutia/Reimold in LF.

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