Duquette: Orioles will tender Johnson this winter

Closer Jim Johnson –one of several Orioles who will be getting a big raise in arbitration this winter– will be offered a contract for 2014, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said prior to Friday’s game.

“Jim Johnson is one of our core players,” said Duquette, who has stressed keeping that core intact for the organization to sustain success. “Jimmy has done something historic in terms of the numbers of games he’s saved over the last couple years, so he’s established significant value. He came into the job last year, I think he had nine saves in his career and over the last two years he has over 100, 99.”

Johnson picked up his American League-leading 48th save on Thursday night and he could earn a bump up to the $8-9 million range, despite nine blown saves, which is the most in baseball.  An All-Star in 2012, Johnson hit several rough patches this season, leading to some speculation that he could be a non-tender or trade candidate, but Duquette confirmed he is in the organization’s future plans.

“I think Johnson has established himself as a top closer in the business,” Duquette said. When you look at the top save rates in the league, he’s right up there.”

Johnson became the first Oriole to record two 40-save seasons last month and he set a club record with 35 consecutive conversions from July 30, 2012-May 10, 2013. The 29-year-old right made $6.5 in 2013, a significant jump up from the $2.625 the year prior, with the two sides agreeing to middle ground (Johnson’s camp requested $7.1 million and the Orioles countered with $5.7 million) on the deal this winter.

In 72 games, Johnson is 3-8 with a 2.90 ERA.

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