Brian Wilson

Thoughts on Orioles closer Jim Johnson and a return to starting

Back in September, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said definitively that closer Jim Johnson would be tendered a contract and return next season.

After leading the American League in both saves (50) and blown saves (9) in 2013, Johnson figures to receive a hefty raise during his final year of arbitration eligibility. Projections suggest a salary in the $10 million range.

Most teams don’t spend that much for a closer. Only four closers were paid $10 million or more last season, and all four were signed to lengthy free-agent deals. Most closers don’t reach that kind of money through the arbitration process because closers as a whole are so...