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AL West Watch: A's Big-Money Closer Demoted

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images, NBC 5 News
    Jim Johnson.

    The Texas Rangers' pitching issues are well documented around here, but the Rangers are far from the only team in the AL West with some pitching issues. The Rangers have reinforcements coming in the coming weeks, beginning with Colby Lewis next week, so things will presumably get better soon.

    The Oakland A's, for example, are looking to defend their consecutive division titles this season, and now they're doing it with a high-dollar closer being demoted.

    Instead of re-signing Grant Balfour this winter, the A's let him walk and went out and gave Orioles closer Jim Johnson, who saved 50 games in 2013 and 51 in 2012, a big contract — fairly uncharacteristic for the A's and Billy Beane. Now, he's lost his job two weeks into the season.

    So far this season, Johnson is sporting an unsightly ERA of 18.90 and an even worse 4.50 WHIP (walks/hits per inning pitched). He blew saves in the A's first two home games this season and was booed soundly by all 300 of the A's fans in attendance.

    So take solace in this, Rangers fans. You've had your issues, but they're getting closer to hopefully be resolved. The A's have plenty of their own, and their answers are still up in the air.