According to Susan Slusser of the SF Chronicle, Bob Melvin announced this morning that Jim Johnson will “get a break” from closing duties.
This comes after a rough start to the 2014 season with Johnson’s new team, compiling a 18.90 ERA and an 0-2 record in 5 games.
With Jim Johnson taking less of a role, that opens the door for the rest of the bullpen to step up and take on a bigger roles. The likely candidates to take over Johnson’s old job are Dan Otero and Ryan Cook.
Otero worked out of Johnson’s mess on Wednesday morning, coming in with the bases loaded and a 2-run lead. The lead disappeared, but he slammed the door on the Twins in the 9th and kept them scoreless in extra innings, getting his team the win.
Ryan Cook was just activated from the DL before Monday’s game, and has some closing experience. He secured 14 saves in 2012 while former Athletic, Grant Balfour was struggling.
Hopefully this is just a case of Jim Johnson needing to acclimate himself to his new team, and a lesser role will help him settle down and be productive. If he becomes dominant in this lesser role, look for him to regain the title he is paid heavily for later in the season. Until that point, the A’s have a wealth of options in the bullpen to close out games. The A’s got better this morning.