Lefthander Brian Johnson’s time with the Red Sox might be coming to an end. Johnson was outrighted from the club’s major league roster Monday, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
Johnson had a down year in 2019 and suffered a number of injuries. The Sox placed him on the injured list with left elbow inflammation in April, and he hit the IL once more in June with a non-baseball related matter. He pitched just 40⅓ innings and put together a 6.02 ERA. His best months last season came in June and September, when he posted ERAs of 2.16 and 3.68, respectively.
Johnson did a solid job of filling in for both David Price and Chris Sale down the stretch in the opener role, but he never appeared to be a long-term option for the Red Sox. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom recently acquired Josh Osich, who could be Johnson’s replacement, and possibly an upgrade. Though he had a forgettable year in 2019 (4.66 ERA), Osich’s fastball can reach into the upper 90s. He also could fill the opener role. Johnson, on the other hand, is a soft-throwing lefty who tries to get by on finesse. Yet opponents made contact 79 percent of the time in 2019 (career opponent contact percentage is 80.7 percent).
Johnson was drafted by the Red Sox in the first round (No. 31) out of the University of Florida in 2012. Teams have a two-day window to claim the southpaw off waivers.