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Help convince me we shouldn't be trading Jim Johnson


Barnaby Graves

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Everyone (including me) loves this guy and people don't want to think we should be selling. But I am worried about his peripherals.

Two really amazing numbers stand out, his LOB% (96.9) and his BABIP (.162). That BABIP is 100 points lower than his career and the LOB% is otherworldly. We've also had a pretty crazy number of close games and as a result he's got 25 saves.

There's plenty of reasons to think Johnson is a legit great closer and that even if he regressed he would still be a very good pitcher. He throws a lot of groundballs (67.3%) and his repertoire is pretty awesome. The heavy movement on his fastball seems to be a big reason people don't make very good contact on him.

Still though, you have to imagine some of those groundballs just haven't been finding holes, and that might change. Not a lot of guys beat their xFIP by over 2 runs, and when those guys are relievers... probably the most volatile of all players in year-to-year WAR... that just screams "sell high" to me.

Now, there's another problem though. You're unlikely to find a buyer for Johnson with the players we want if we wanted to stay competitive, since any buyer for Johnson is already competitive. Ergo, you're not getting a guy already contributing to his major league team. It'd be a different story if we were selling everything but I can't imagine anything more distasteful to the fanbase right now than to trade Jim Johnson for two nice pieces at A or high-A or something.

I don't know. Thoughts? If he was traded what would you want back?

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Everyone (including me) loves this guy and people don't want to think we should be selling. But I am worried about his peripherals.

Two really amazing numbers stand out, his LOB% (96.9) and his BABIP (.162). That BABIP is 100 points lower than his career and the LOB% is otherworldly. We've also had a pretty crazy number of close games and as a result he's got 25 saves.

There's plenty of reasons to think Johnson is a legit great closer and that even if he regressed he would still be a very good pitcher. He throws a lot of groundballs (67.3%) and his repertoire is pretty awesome. The heavy movement on his fastball seems to be a big reason people don't make very good contact on him.

Still though, you have to imagine some of those groundballs just haven't been finding holes, and that might change. Not a lot of guys beat their xFIP by over 2 runs, and when those guys are relievers... probably the most volatile of all players in year-to-year WAR... that just screams "sell high" to me.

Now, there's another problem though. You're unlikely to find a buyer for Johnson with the players we want if we wanted to stay competitive, since any buyer for Johnson is already competitive. Ergo, you're not getting a guy already contributing to his major league team. It'd be a different story if we were selling everything but I can't imagine anything more distasteful to the fanbase right now than to trade Jim Johnson for two nice pieces at A or high-A or something.

I don't know. Thoughts? If he was traded what would you want back?

Think the real question is, why do you wanna trade him? We're 5 games outta first place. You don't sell. IF someone offers the world you gotta take it, but he shouldn't be shopped!

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Think the real question is, why do you wanna trade him?

For the reasons listed... I think he's likely to regress and if you can sell him off as a 1.20 ERA closer, now is a good time for that.

We're 5 games outta first place. You don't sell.

This is the other thing I'm dealing with. Personally I think the team isn't a playoff team anyway but I'm probably swimming against the current by saying that.

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I am all in favor of selling high. If not during the season then during the offseason.

Everyone says how Riveria is the gold standard of closers, and he is, but take a look at how the Yankees are doing with him on the DL.

Relief pitchers are replaceable.

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We don't need to sell him. He can be an important cog going forward. That said, if we get a Bedard like offer, we need to listen. I'll take three top notch prospects for JJ right now.

Bedard like return? Three top notch prospects?

I would hope you would be willing to trade a relief pitcher for that type of package.

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Everyone (including me) loves this guy and people don't want to think we should be selling. But I am worried about his peripherals.

Two really amazing numbers stand out, his LOB% (96.9) and his BABIP (.162). That BABIP is 100 points lower than his career and the LOB% is otherworldly. We've also had a pretty crazy number of close games and as a result he's got 25 saves.

There's plenty of reasons to think Johnson is a legit great closer and that even if he regressed he would still be a very good pitcher. He throws a lot of groundballs (67.3%) and his repertoire is pretty awesome. The heavy movement on his fastball seems to be a big reason people don't make very good contact on him.

Still though, you have to imagine some of those groundballs just haven't been finding holes, and that might change. Not a lot of guys beat their xFIP by over 2 runs, and when those guys are relievers... probably the most volatile of all players in year-to-year WAR... that just screams "sell high" to me.

Now, there's another problem though. You're unlikely to find a buyer for Johnson with the players we want if we wanted to stay competitive, since any buyer for Johnson is already competitive. Ergo, you're not getting a guy already contributing to his major league team. It'd be a different story if we were selling everything but I can't imagine anything more distasteful to the fanbase right now than to trade Jim Johnson for two nice pieces at A or high-A or something.

I don't know. Thoughts? If he was traded what would you want back?

I can't give out rep so I'll just say: nice post.

It depends on what we can get for him, but yes, theoretically, now would be a good time to trade him. Little chance it happens, though, as GM's (maybe rightly so) don't like to send that kind of message to their clubhouse/don't want to cause potential turmoil there.

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First, I understand the premise for the thread. If we were our usual terrible selves I'd be all for trading him. With that said we need to get rid of this loser mentality. We are in the playoff chase. Why in the world would anyone be considering trading players? Not only that, but trading an All-Star player. If Duquette traded JJ right now Adam Jones full be well within his rights to go straight to the GM's office and punch Duquette square in the face.

We may not make the playoffs. We are probably playing above our heads. But right now we are the 2nd best team in the toughest division in baseball. There should be zero talk of trading away talent.

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I can't give out rep so I'll just say: nice post.

It depends on what we can get for him, but yes, theoretically, now would be a good time to trade him. Little chance it happens, though, as GM's (maybe rightly so) don't like to send that kind of message to their clubhouse/don't want to cause potential turmoil there.

So you don't mind going back to Gregg closing? Isn't it nice to have a closer you know when he comes in, games over?

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Bedard like return? Three top notch prospects?

I would hope you would be willing to trade a relief pitcher for that type of package.

I understand but look at whats out there and the contracts they have. I keep hearing the Mets are interested in Huston Street or K-rod both of whome (i believe) have contracts of 8-10M/yr and are far far less effective. I doubt we get two top notch prospects but thats what it would take for me to trade him right now

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So you don't mind going back to Gregg closing? Isn't it nice to have a closer you know when he comes in, games over?

Of course I would mind! Thankfully that's not within the realm of possibility. Gregg is about 10th in line for the closer's role after Johnson.

If Duquette traded JJ right now Adam Jones full be well within his rights to go straight to the GM's office and punch Duquette square in the face.

And that's the argument why I wouldn't actually trade Johnson, and why he won't actually be traded. If we were playing Baseball Manager and just doing highly-accurate simulations, it would make sense to trade Johnson, but things are a lot more complicated than that when you factor in players' pyschologies. You don't just trade a guy like Jim Johnson without it having a major effect on the other players.

But if that weren't the case, yes, I would trade him given the right package. His value is as high as it's going to get, and likely will drop a bit, so from a philosophical standpoint, it's the ideal time to trade him. Hence why it's a good post.

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I understand but look at whats out there and the contracts they have. I keep hearing the Mets are interested in Huston Street or K-rod both of whome (i believe) have contracts of 8-10M/yr and are far far less effective. I doubt we get two top notch prospects but thats what it would take for me to trade him right now

As long as they have a realistic shot I am not recommending the O's trade JJ this season (Unless it is a stupid offer). If they are out of the race or during the offseason, go for it. He is looking at a sizable raise in arbitration and I like my relievers young and cheap.

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