Talking about Jim Johnson

Taking the advice of family and friends, I bought 12 cases of bottled waters in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. Meanwhile, I spent a large part of my childhood drinking out of a garden hose.

I'm a survivor.

I'll be brief this morning, as I continue to charge the batteries on my laptop and iPhone and stack my canned goods. I'm afraid that I'll run low on Beefaroni. I may need to make another grocery store run before the weather really turns bad.

Folks laughed when I threw away my electric can opener and bought a manual one. Well, who's laughing now, people? Who's laughing now?

Seriously, be safe. And my feelings won't be hurt if power outages reduce the amount of time you spend on this blog. Just make it up later.

Johnson delivers orange wide.jpgJim Johnson is arbitration-eligible again. He was Super Two in 2010. Let the debate begin over how much you'd pay a closer.

Johnson earned $2.625 this season, and he really earned it. He saved 51 games in 54 chances to become the 10th pitcher to record at least 50 saves in a season since it became an official statistic in 1969, and nothing that happened in the playoffs diminished his accomplishments. I voted him Most Valuable Oriole and would do it again, though I had no problem with Adam Jones taking the honor. Both men deserved it.

Johnson, who made his first All-Star team this year, is lined up for a hefty raise, whether he goes to arbitration or settles with the Orioles. My question is whether the Orioles should attempt to sign him to a long-term deal.

Is a closer worth that kind of commitment? Plenty of observers will say it's foolish to throw a lot of money at a ninth-inning specialist unless it's Mariano Rivera, the pinstriped exception.

During Saturday's edition of "Wall to Wall Baseball" on MASN, I joked that the Orioles may as well make Johnson a starter if they're going to extend his contract and dig deep into their wallets. In reality, they're more likely to avoid arbitration again and settle on another one-year deal with a significant increase in his salary.

I'd keep Johnson in the bullpen and find my starters elsewhere, but not everybody agrees.

Speaking of Johnson, he's the first pitcher to have fewer than 60 strikeouts (41) at the time of his 50th save, according to Elias.

After giving up six earned runs against the Athletics on July 27, Johnson recorded 21 saves in 26 appearances and allowed only 12 runners into scoring position. In those 26 games, he permitted 17 hits, walked four and struck out 16 over 25 innings, and opponents batted .195 against him.

Johnson didn't allow an earned run in 10 innings over nine appearances in extra-inning games. He posted a .231/.310/.269 line in eight appearances with the game tied and a .158/.234/.188 line in 33 appearances when the game was within a run.

Here's where Johnson's value really showed, in my eyes: He was 2-0 with a 0.80 ERA and 20-for-21 in save opportunities against the American League East.


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