The San Diego Padres have inked Josh Johnson to a one-year, $8 million deal with a very interesting option: if Johnson makes fewer than seven starts in 2014, the Padres get a team option for 2015 at $4 million. That's a pretty neat insurance policy, reminiscent of the vesting option the Red Sox held on John Lackey when he had Tommy John surgery.
Formerly the Marlins' ace, Johnson really struggled in sixteen starts this year while playing for the Blue Jays. His strikeout rate (9.18 per nine) was better than his career mark, but he gave up 1.66 home runs per nine innings, and alarmingly high number. Former Mets ace R.A. Dickey struggled with home runs after the move to Toronto, too, but managed to do much better than Johnson's 6.20 ERA for the season.
Johnson would have been an interesting buy-low candidate, though the Mets might not have been able to do anything to persuade Johnson to pitch somewhere other than California. And as Jeff Kopman pointed out in our free agent profile of Johnson, the Mets might not have wanted to take the risk on Johnson.