O's may be interested in former closer Johnson

O's may be interested in former closer Johnson

BALTIMORE -- Buck Showalter knew he wasn't supposed to talk about Jim Johnson, and he danced around the questions about his old closer for a little while, but eventually Showalter couldn't help himself. The O's manager just likes the guy too much.

"The people who do that for a living for us said that we're still a day or two away from some contractual obligations that we need to be careful about," Showalter said. "I don't mind talking. We like Jimmy. He pitched real well for us here."

Johnson, who was designated for assignment by the Athletics on July 24 and released on Friday, pitched for the Orioles for the first eight years of his career and led the Majors in saves in 2012 and '13.

During the offseason, Baltimore dealt Johnson to Oakland for infielder Jemile Weeks and catcher David Freitas. Tommy Hunter became the O's closer and Johnson began the season in the same role for the A's. After allowing five runs in his first two outings -- a total of one inning -- the Athletics bumped him from the closer's role.

When Oakland finally opted to DFA him, Johnson had a 7.14 ERA and just two saves. Still, even after his team added left-handed reliever Andrew Miller at the non-waiver Trade Deadline on Thursday, Showalter didn't rule out a reunion.

"I think he's on his way to Sarasota, [Fla.]," Showalter said. "I know [Aberdeen pitching coach Scott] McGregor is real close with him, and if he becomes completely available, I'm sure that there's a lot of people that would have interest in him, including us.

"But we're not allowed to talk about him. And I just did."

David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.