Johnson has established himself as one of the best setup men in the American League, and the organization -- which has told several teams it's unwilling to discuss offers for the reliever -- continues to have internal discussions about moving Johnson into a starting role next season.Um, what? We have Mitch Atkins, Chris Jakubauskas, and Alfredo Simon in the starting rotation and we have to wait until next year to see if Jim Johnson can start? This makes little sense to me. This season, the team could stretch Johnson out 30-50 innings more than he is in line to get which would be a headstart on next season. Plus, what is left for the team to play for this year? If your goal is to see if Johnson can start then there is nothing preventing you from figuring that out in our current situation.
What I find more revelatory is that it seems to be an acknowledgement that the current front brass is planning on 2012 to be another lets wait and see type of season. If the team planned on being competitive, they would be looking to next season as one where they fill in a spot or two with veteran pitchers and let the rest shake out. Johnson should be quite far from the conversation in this regard. He should not be held as an untouchable player due to his value as a setup man and potential (though unlikely) value as a starting pitcher. How much value can a potential middle to backend rotation arm have? It appears the modus operandi for the team, particularly with pitchers, is to run them into the ground and make them prove whether or not they can actually pitch. It makes no sense to me.
It appears just as the team signed Brian Roberts to a long term deal and then squandered the front end of his deal which is where his value was actually . . . valuable (which was incredibly obvious and that extension has long been something we have railed against here in that we highly criticized it before the contract was even writtin). It now looks like Nick Markakis' contract will also be exhuasted to no real use. It also looks like Matt Wieters' cost-controlled years may also be squandered. To be true, this is not an Oriole Little moment in time. There are good things happening in the organization. However, I have a hard time believing things are overall going in the right direction and every day it seems more and more evidence mounts illustrating how inadequate the organization might be in facing off against the superior payrolls of Boston and New York as well as against the superior innovation of Toronto, Tampa, and probably Boston, too.
Situations like these when doubt becomes feverish, I remind myself not to get too wrapped up in my own conclusions. That I need to challenge my ideas instead of easing into a comfortable pre-formed answer. One always needs to challenge their own beliefs and never grow complacent. My belief is that this team although in better shape than it was three years ago is in worse shape when it comes to competing. I'm trying to challenge that statement. Maybe you all can help.