Athletics Acquire Closer Jim Johnson From Orioles, Sign Scott Kazmir to Reported $22 Million, Two-Year Deal

Jim JohnsonOAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics acquired AL saves leader Jim Johnson from the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night as a replacement for All-Star closer Grant Balfour.

The A’s got Johnson on Monday for infielder Jemile Weeks and a player to be named, capping a busy day for general manager Billy Beane.
The teams announced the trade late Monday.

Balfour became a free agent after the season and is expected to command a multiyear deal. While Beane expressed confidence he could fill the ninth-inning duties from within, he opted for a trade — a common December practice for the GM and low-budget club.

The 30-year-old Johnson converted 50 of 59 save opportunities in 2013, going 3-8 with a 2.94 ERA. He was tied with Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel for the major leagues saves lead.

Johnson, who led the majors with 51 saves in 2012, earned $6.5 million in base salary this year. He also made a $25,000 bonus for finishing at least 55 games, leading the majors with 63.

Also Monday, free-agent left-hander Scott Kazmir agreed to terms on a $22 million, two-year contract with Oakland, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said. The deal is pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t made a formal announcement.

The A’s reached agreement on a $600,000, one-year contract with right-hander Fernando Rodriguez. He was one of nine arbitration-eligible players — and all were tendered contracts for the 2014 season, including first baseman Daric Barton. Barton is the team’s longest-tenured player and will provide infield depth.

Baltimore on Monday agreed to a $1,025,000, one-year contract with outfielder Nolan Reimold and an $850,000, one-year deal with outfielder Steve Pearce.

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