MLB: Josh Johnson to Retire

After pitching in parts of nine MLB seasons, starting pitcher Josh Johnson has decided to retire.

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, Josh Johnson has decided to retire. The righty signed a minor-league contract with the San Francisco Giants this off-season, but he has evidently had a change in desires over the past few months.

To many, the decision may come as a bit of a surprise given his relative youth. Johnson will turn just 33 years old later this month, but he has quite a bit of MLB experience over that time. He first broke into the big leagues with the then Florida Marlins back in 2005. Despite all the promises of his talent, seemingly perpetual injuries derailed his career.

The final blow, it seems was his third Tommy John surgery. Back in September of 2015, news broke that he would undergo the operation and miss all of the 2016 season. He had been nursing back to health, and the San Francisco Giants offered him another chance. Still, it was an uphill battle for Josh Johnson to make any real comeback to MLB. The righty has not thrown a major-league pitch in four years, and there were serious questions about how his arm would hold up after so many injuries.

His last work in MLB came with the Toronto Blue Jays back in 2013. After the team acquired him from the Miami Marlins in a massive trade alongside the likes of Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck, Johnson failed to live up to expectations. He made just four starts before landing on the disabled list with a right triceps injury.

Upon returning one month later, he lasted until mid-August before finishing the season on the disabled list with bone spurs in his right elbow. Through 16 starts that season, he posted a 6.20 earned run average, although peripherals suggested that his work was a bit better.

Johnson became a free agent after that season, and the San Diego Padres scooped him up for $8 million on the hopes that he would return to peak form. He never threw a pitch for the team after experiencing many setbacks that culminated in a torn UCL. The pitcher attempted another comeback with the Padres in 2015, but he failed to return to action and underwent his third and final Tommy John surgery.

While some people would point to how Johnson’s career ended and call it a disappointment, that would be quite unfair given how well he performed at his peak. The righty was among the best in the game when healthy, and he pitched two spectacular seasons in 2008 and 2009. Leading the National League with a 2.30 earned run average in 2009, he used a blistering fastball to amass strikeouts at an impressive rate while still maintaining a respectable walk rate.

In his eight seasons with the Marlins, he pitched over 900 innings to the tune of a 3.15 earned run average and 3.20 FIP. Sure, he may have struggled to stay on the field, and his performance dropped off quickly after departing for Toronto. Still, Josh Johnson certainly deserved his two All-Star performances and was a spectacular player.

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