Source says the A's have released Jim Johnson.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) July 24, 2014
#Athletics recall Evan Scribner from Sacramento and designate Jim Johnson for assignment.— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) July 24, 2014
It's sad, you know. I was expecting this news 100% this morning, and I was surprised to see that it still comes with a twinge of sadness, with a little bit of, "But ... what if?" But not much. There was no way Jim Johnson was going to survive last night's outing; there wasn't anyone connected to the A's who wanted to see Johnson take the mound in any game. The A's led by a touchdown last night and still had to pull out dramatic pitching highlights just to cling to the slim margin of victory.
You never want to root against your own players. You never want to see a look in a pitcher's eyes like the one in Johnson's when he left the mound last night for the final time. He knew it, the A's knew it, we all knew that last night would be the last chance for Johnson to turn his season around, and it wasn't even close. He faced four batters, and all four scored. If he can't be used in a game in which the A's held a 7-run lead, there are plenty of pitchers clamoring for the job in Triple-A who could do a better one. And we get Scribbles back, so there's that.
But what a way to fall. A pitcher with that many saves over the last two years literally could not get an out in the Major Leagues right now, and he went from a lead role on the best team in baseball to being DFA'd with his $10 million salary. The fall was fast, and swift, and from day one, it seemed he was doomed in Oakland.
We wish him all the best, and here's to the new chapter of the A's bullpen. Best of luck to Scribner. Your game is in two hours. LET'S GO OAKLAND!
I'll leave you with this gem from player20:
Fast forward: 2064. A ship in the Bay. Alcatraz is off in the distance.
A well dressed old man heads toward the edge of the deck. People walk by, oblivious. A root beer float takes up residence in one hand. His other hand goes into his inner coat pocket. He finds what he is looking for. A small box. Thoughts run through his mind. But he had planned this exact trip for a reason. Slowly, his arm extends out over the water. It was time. At that exact moment, he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turns around. A young man stands behind him.
"Excuse me, sir. Are you Jim Johnson?"
The old man gazes into the distance. A fog horn blares. "I once was."
The young man continues. "I thought so. My grandpa is a huge baseball fan. I read about you. You led MLB in saves two consecutive years! You were an All-Star! It’s nice to meet you, sir!"
Before Johnson could speak, the youngster had run off. Jim looks off toward the horizon again. Yes, he had once been that Jim Johnson. Major League pitcher. He had traveled the world and made more money than he could spend. He had experienced both success and failure. Those days were long past, though. This is when he realizes that his arm is still outstretched. He takes a deep breath as he pulls it back slowly. He sits the root beer float down to take a look inside the box. As if on cue, the sun decides to break through the clouds. Its rays find the contents of the box. It blinds him for a brief moment. Then he traces his fingers over the ring’s inscription: 2014 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS. He takes another look, closes the box, and returns it to his coat pocket. Then he gets his drink and walks by the young man sitting with another old man. Jim nods as he heads to the lower levels of the boat.
The boy turns to the old man. "Granddad, guess who that guy was?"
"Who, Thomas?" The young boy had been named for Hall-of-Famer Frank Thomas.
"Jim Johnson! The pitcher!"
The old man formerly known as Player20 takes a look toward Alcatraz. "Jim Johnson? Back on the West Coast? Strange. I wonder what he was doing…"