The Detroit Tigers made a low-risk move, signing Jim Johnson to a minor league deal. First reported by Ken Rosenthal, the move comes as the Tigers continue searching for solutions to a bullpen that is currently backing up one of the best rotations in baseball.
Johnson was cut by the Athletics earlier this season after posting a 7.14 ERA in 40.1 innings. His struggles were surprising, considering his recent success before being sent over in a trade from the Baltimore Orioles. Across 2012 and 2013, Johnson posted 101 saves with a 2.72 ERA across 139 innings. And though his peripherals suggested regression (his FIP was nearly three-quarters of a run higher), there wasn't anything to suggest that he was going to simply fall off the table.
The Tigers are hoping that is the case, and perhaps a mechanical adjustment or something minor can be changed to get Johnson back on track. It would be a boon for Detroit if he did, as they currently hold the worst bullpen ERA (4.53) of any team with a winning record.
Detroit made several moves to address their bullpen, including trading for Rangers closer Joakim Soria, but the early returns on Jack have been rough, as Soria has given up six runs (five earned) in his first 2.2 innings with the Tigers, which is half of the total runs he gave up with the Rangers in 33.1 innings before being traded.
Johnson might be able to give them some middle relief in the future, but even if he doesn't, it's a short-term, low-risk move for the Tigers to keep around and hope that he finds his form again.