The Oakland A's have acquired closer Jim Johnson from the Baltimore Orioles for second baseman Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later or cash considerations. Johnson is set to earn upwards of $10M, according to MLB Trade Rumors' arbitration estimate.
Source: #Athletics acquire Jim Johnson from #Orioles for 2B Jemile Weeks.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 3, 2013
The Orioles were looking to move Johnson because of the raise he will earn through arbitration, though the A's might opt to avoid the process in favor of a one-year deal. Oakland's 2013 closer, Grant Balfour, is a free agent, so the club appears to have been quietly on the prowl for a replacement.
Johnson could fill that role rather well, although his exorbitant salary is something of a deviation from the Athletics typical roster-building strategy. He has finished 126 games over his last two seasons for the Orioles, earning an MLB-best 101 saves over that span. Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel has the next most with 92. However, in terms of WAR, Johnson ranks 26th among qualified relievers since 2012 due to a far from dominant xFIP (85 xFIP- in 2013, which was 48th among qualified relievers).
Weeks provides the Orioles with plus-speed and some encouraging minor league numbers. He hit .271/.376/.369 last year for Oakland's triple-A affiliate (Sacramento River Cats). Baltimore might not be done looking for options at second for 2014, but Weeks will likely have a shot at earning the job in Spring Training. The O's Executive VP of baseball Operations, Dan Duquette, has not specified a closer for the coming season, though he did say the team could add a player from outside the organization.
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