The Padres announced today that they declined Josh Johnson's $4 million team option. You may recall that the option was a provision written in by former general manager Josh Byrnes which stipulated that the club could bring him back in 2015 for $4 million if he started fewer than seven games. You may also recall that he started zero, following an injury in spring training that led to his second Tommy John surgery.
About two weeks ago, when Johnson threw for the first time since surgery, there was a lot of discussion regarding his option. One possibility that was bandied about was that the club could decline the option and sign him at a more reasonable and realistic number. In the comments of the most recently linked post, Wonko spelled out the logic of such a move.
$4M would be fine if you were getting a full season out of JJ. But he just started throwing. We’ve seen setbacks in this process before and even in the best case scenario he’d be ready to begin pitching competitively (with limits) in April. Since JJ likes SD so much it seems reasonable something else could be worked out where maybe the money isn’t fully guaranteed.
This makes perfect sense, and it seems to be what is in the works. Earlier today, Corey Brock mentioned that it was a possibility, then reiterated it on Twitter after the official announcement was made.
#Padres decline $4 million option on RHP Josh Johnson. My understanding is they'll try to work out a lesser deal. He'd like to return.— Corey Brock (@FollowThePadres) October 30, 2014
It's always nice to have guys who want to be there. Johnson was gushingly enthusiastic to be part of the organization when he was acquired, and Brock followed the above tweet with one quoting Johnson as saying he has unfinished business in San Diego.
I'd love to see him return and have another chance to work for Bud Black, as he was so excited to do. As we've seen every single season ever, you can never have too many pitchers. And if you do wind up with too many, that's just about the best problem you can have.