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Athletics designate Jim Johnson for assignment

The fungibility of relief pitchers was made apparent this season.

Jason O. Watson

The Oakland Athletics designated relief pitcher Jim Johnson for assignment today, likely bringing an end to what has been a frustrating and dismal season for the pitcher.

Through 40.1 innings this season, Johnson has sported a career high 5.13 BB/9 - well above his career average of 2.82 - and has a HR/FB rate of 17.2%, nearly double his career mark of 8.7%. His ERA is 6.92, and while the advanced metrics paint a prettier picture, they still don't provide much hope; his FIP was 5.30, and his xFIP is 4.60, both of which would be career highs in any season where he has pitched at least ten innings.

It is quite a fall for the pitcher that led the American League in saves each of the past two seasons, and continues to illustrate the downright volatile nature of relief pitching.

Despite Oakland's best intentions of putting a little more money into the payroll, not every move can work. Fortunately, the bigger (and bolder) move of signing Scott Kazmir has gone better than expected, and Oakland's bullpen remains in strong form, with Sean Doolittle, Luke Gregerson, Dan Otero, and Fernando Abad at the back-end.