Jim Johnson (johnsji04)
James Robert Johnson
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 5", Weight 224 lb.
- High School Union-Endicott High School
- Debut July 29, 2006
- Final Game September 29, 2018
- Born June 27, 1983 in Johnson City, NY USA
Jim Johnson was signed by the Baltimore Orioles and scout Jim Howard as a 5th round pick in the 2001 amateur draft. He was a starter in his major league debut for the Orioles on July 29, 2006, but has been a full-time reliever ever since. In 2009, he got a chance to be used as a closer for a stretch, when injuries and ineffectiveness depleted the Orioles' bulppen. He went 4-6, 4.11 with 10 saves in 64 games, but was slowed by injuries in 2010 and lost the job. In 2011, he had a very solid season as a set-up man, with a record of 6-5, 2.67 in 69 games, while picking up 9 saves.
In 2012, manager Buck Showalter installed Jim as a full-time closer and he had a storybook season. He led the American League in saves for the entire season, made the All-Star team, and set a new club record for saves when he picked up his 46th of the year on September 21st. The previous record had been held by Randy Myers since 1997, the last time the Birds had been in competition for a postseason slot before that season. Johnson's outstanding work at the back end of the bullpen was of course one of the reasons for Baltimore's surprisingly successful season. He ended with 51 saves, then finished the Orioles' 5-1 win over the Texas Rangers in the Wild Card Game on October 5th. He pitched four times in the ALDS against the New York Yankees, and while he did save both of the Orioles' wins in the series, he gave up 6 runs in 4 1/3 innings and was charged with the loss in Game 1 on October 8th, when he gave up 5 runs on 5 hits and a walk after coming in to pitch the top of the 9th with the score tied at 2; Russell Martin led off that fateful inning with a solo homer, and it was all downhill from there. he was also charged with a blown save in Game 3 on October 10th, when he failed to preserve a 2-1 lead in the 9th: this time, it was Raul Ibanez who victimized him with a solo homer with one out, and the Yankees won the game in extra innings. After the season, he was named the winner of the Rolaids Relief Award in the American League
Johnson had another very good season in 2013, as he once again led the American League in saves, picking up 50 this time. However, his record was only 3-8, his ERA rose from 2.49 to 2.94 and he did have 9 blown saves, including in three consecutive outings from August 9-14. He did finish the year strong, with 9 saves and an 0.69 ERA in September, but the Orioles fell short of the postseason. On December 2nd, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics in return for 2B Jemile Weeks and was expected to take over from Grant Balfour as the A's closer in 2014. However, his first few appearances with the A's were nothing short of disastrous. he gave up a pair of 9th inning runs and was charged with a 2-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Opening Day, March 31st. In his next appearance, April 2nd, the Indians touched him for 3 runs in the 9th for a second blown save and a second loss in as many games. After a couple of scoreless innings and his first save of the year, against the Seattle Mariners on April 6th, he had another meltdown on April 9th, when he allowed 2 runs to the Minnesota Twins in a third of an inning, allowing the Twins to come back from a 4-2 deficit in the 9th. At that point, his ERA stood at 18.90, with 9 hits allowed in 3 1/3 innings and manager Bob Melvin announced he was relieving Johnson of closer duties until he managed to straighten things out. But he was unable to work things out; while the Athletics were taking off in the standings and Sean Doolittle was putting up exceptional numbers as the new closer, Johnson continued to struggle. On July 24th, he had an ERA of 6.92 in 38 games when the A's decided to bite the bullet and have him designated for assignment, willing to swallow the remainder of his $10 million contract. On August 5th, the Tigers signed him to a minor league contract, hoping that he could regain his lost form and help out the major league team at some point. Two weeks later, he was headed back to the big leagues after 4 minor league outings. He made 16 appearances for the Tigers with a 1-0 record but his ERA was 6.92 as he issued 12 walks in 13 innings. He became a free agent after the season and signed a one-year with the Atlanta Braves hoping to get his career back on track. However, on November 30th, the Braves brought him back on a one-year contract worth $2.5 million.
Whatever was wrong with Johnson in 2014 seemed to disappear with the Braves in 2015. The team was reluctant to give him too much responsibility at first, given his recent struggles, but got over its concerns as he pitched very well. When closer Jason Grilli went down with a season-ending injury on July 11th, he stepped into the breach. He was 2-3 with a 2.25 ERA and 9 saves in 49 games when on July 30th, he was one of a package of pitchers traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for some younger players and some salary relief. Joining him on the trip to the West Coast were a still injured Bronson Arroyo, Luis Avilan, Jose Peraza and Alex Wood, while Paco Rodriguez and Héctor Olivera Jr., both also injured, and prospect Zachary Bird headed to Atlanta. However, with the Dodgers, he seemed to revert to the problems that had plagued him the previous season, as his ERA was a terrible 10.13 in 25 games, with a record of 0-3 and a save. For the year, that gave him a 4.46 ERA in 72 games. He was not used in the postseason and was given his release immediately after the Dodgers were eliminated.
- AL All-Star (2012)
- AL Rolaids Relief Award (2012)
- 2-time AL Saves Leader (2012 & 2013)
- 30 Saves Seasons: 2 (2012 & 2013)
- 40 Saves Seasons: 2 (2012 & 2013)
- 50 Saves Seasons: 2 (2012 & 2013)