A pair of veteran free agents who struggled in 2013 have found new homes and short term deals.
The San Diego Padres are taking a chance on free agent pitcher Josh Johnson. Johnson who was part of the blockbuster Toronto Blue Jays – Florida Marlins trade one year ago, did not receive a qualifying offer from the Blue Jays after a disastrous 2013 season.
The one-year deal is for $8 million guaranteed, and also includes bonuses of a further $1.25 million should Johnson start 26 or more games next season.
Johnson, 29, was 2-8 last season with with a 6.20 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, and 83:30 strikeout to walk ratio in just 81 1/3 innings pitched for the Blue Jays last season. He also had issues with arm pain and was eventually shut down for the year by Toronto.
The Padres are hoping that Johnson can regain the form that once made him one of the most promising young pitchers in the major leagues. He had a 3.15 ERA in 916 2/3 innings over eight seasons with the Marlins before being traded to Toronto.
The San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals were also reportedly interested in Johnson.
Meanwhile the Cleveland Indians have signed free-agent outfielder David Murphy to a 2-year $12 million contract. Murphy was with the Texas Rangers for the last seven years.
Murphy, 32, hit just .220/.282/.374 with 13 homeruns in 436 at bats, in what was a disappointing 2013 season for the left-handed hitter. Those numbers are significantly down from his career .275/.337/.441 slash lines. He has 86 career home runs in 849 career games.
Murphy is expected to platoon with Ryan Rayburn in the Indians outfield. It is also believed that this means that Drew Stubbs will not be back with the Indians next season.
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