Johnson reportedly nearing deal with Padres

Right-hander Josh Johnson could be on the verge of signing an incentive-laden one-year deal with the Padres, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan. Johnson missed the entire 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April, and the Padres declined his $4 million option this offseason.

According to Passan, a deal with Johnson would likely be driven by incentives, based on how many starts the injury-riddled 30-year-old makes in 2015. Since making back-to-back National League All-Star teams with the Marlins in ’10-11, Johnson has averaged just 14 starts per year.

Signing Johnson would be another attempt by the Padres to shore up the back end of their rotation. With Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy at the top — and one of the league’s best bullpens to go along with them — the Padres one minor weak spot on the staff would seem to be quality rotation depth. They also signed former Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million earlier this week.

The Padres signed Johnson to an $8 million contract last offseason, but Johnson never made a start because of the elbow trouble. Given his recent injury history (shoulder in 2012, elbow and triceps in ’13 and elbow again in ’14) an incentive-laden deal seems to make the most sense.

-AJ Cassavell

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