Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting that the Toronto Blue Jays will not extend starting pitcher Josh Johnson a qualifying offer before tonight’s 5pm deadline. The Blue Jays can still sign Johnson, but so can any other team once free agency begins on Tuesday, and if he signs elsewhere the Jays will not receive any sort of compensation for his loss.
Entering the season it looked as if qualifying Johnson would have been an easy decision, but after a season from hell that included 2 DL stints and a 2-8 record with a 6.20 ERA, things got a bit complicated for the Toronto front office. To make matters even murkier, Johnson underwent a surgery to remove a bone spur and loose bodies from his elbow this offseason. While his agent claims Johnson is now pain free, it only added another variable to the equation.
The Jays would have needed to extend Johnson a qualifying offer of $14.1 million – the average of the top 125 salaries in baseball – to qualify for draft-pick compensation if he signed elsewhere. The Jays clearly believe that Johnson is not worth that amount to them, and will either attempt to resign the big right hander at a more affordable rate, or let Johnson walk and be someone else’s problem for the 2014 season.