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Tigers sign reliever Jim Johnson to minor league deal

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On the prowl for bullpen arms, the Detroit Tigers have taken a flier on struggling reliever Jim Johnson. The former All-Star closer signed a minor league deal with the team today.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Last night it was reported struggling right-handed reliever Jim Johnson, recently released by the Oakland Athletics, was signed by a "mystery team."

This afternoon FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal revealed the "mystery team." The team should be no surprise, considering the state of their bullpen.

The Detroit Tigers have elected to take a flier on the 31-year-old Johnson, who not long ago was considered a top closer despite a lack of strikeouts. As the Baltimore Orioles' ninth inning man, the right-hander led the league in saves in 2012 with 51 and did so again in 2013 with 50. He was both an All-Star and finished seventh in the Cy Young vote in 2012.

But Johnson has fallen far and hard since averaging a 2.72 ERA and 1.151 WHIP over those two seasons as the Orioles closer.

Traded to the Oakland Athletics in December of last season and given a $10 million contract for 2014, Johnson was a massive disappointment out west by recording just two saves. After posting a horrendous 7.14 ERA, 2.058 WHIP, 1.22 K/BB ratio and 1.11 HR/9 in 38 appearances covering 40 1/3 innings, Johnson was released by the A's on August 1.

The cost of the Tigers signing Johnson is minimal, as the A's are responsible for paying off the remainder of that ill-advised $10 million deal.