Ryan Webb signing shows the Wisdom in trading Johnson

According to sources, the Orioles have agreed on a deal with former Marlins reliever Ryan Webb.

Ryan Webb and Jim Johnson are both very similar pitchers.  Both are ground ball specialists with below average but okay strikeout rates.  A comparison of their ratio statistics below shows just how similar of pitchers they are.

First, Ryan Webb, then Jim Johnson:

Year Age Tm Lg PA Ptn% HR% SO% BB% XBH% X/H% GB/FB GO/AO IP% LD% HR/FB IF/FB DPopp DPs DP%
2009 23 SDP NL 117 51% 2.6% 16.2% 9.4% 7.7% 33% 1.33 2.41 69% 20% 9.1% 8% 26 2 8%
2010 24 SDP NL 253 59% 0.4% 17.4% 7.5% 5.5% 22% 1.58 2.33 74% 19% 1.5% 6% 59 4 7%
2011 25 FLA NL 214 54% 0.9% 14.5% 9.4% 6.5% 29% 1.56 2.53 73% 16% 3.6% 10% 40 5 13%
2012 26 MIA NL 270 58% 0.7% 16.3% 7.4% 7.0% 26% 1.09 1.58 74% 24% 2.4% 15% 55 6 11%
2013 27 MIA NL 332 58% 1.5% 16.3% 8.1% 6.9% 33% 1.31 1.72 70% 18% 5.8% 17% 68 9 13%
5 Yrs 1186 56% 1.1% 16.2% 8.2% 6.7% 28% 1.35 1.99 72% 20% 4.0% 12% 248 26 10%
MLB Averages 45% 2.6% 18.9% 8.3% 7.6% 33% 0.81 1.09 69% 20% 7.6% 13% 11%
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/6/2013.
Year Age Tm Lg PA Ptn% HR% SO% BB% XBH% X/H% GB/FB GO/AO IP% LD% HR/FB IF/FB DPopp DPs DP%
2006 23 BAL AL 21 52% 4.8% 0.0% 14.3% 19.1% 44% 0.42 1.25 76% 41% 9.1% 8% 8 0 0%
2007 24 BAL AL 11 55% 0.0% 9.1% 18.2% 0.0% 0% 1.67 1.50 73% 13% 0.0% 33% 6 0 0%
2008 25 BAL AL 281 54% 0.0% 13.5% 10.0% 1.4% 7% 1.39 1.91 75% 15% 0.0% 10% 69 14 20%
2009 26 BAL AL 300 52% 2.7% 16.3% 7.7% 7.0% 29% 1.14 1.67 72% 18% 8.6% 10% 62 11 18%
2010 27 BAL AL 117 52% 1.7% 18.8% 4.3% 4.3% 16% 0.95 1.64 72% 25% 4.8% 5% 20 1 5%
2011 28 BAL AL 366 49% 1.4% 15.9% 5.7% 6.0% 28% 1.61 2.33 75% 15% 5.3% 10% 69 10 14%
2012 29 BAL AL 269 45% 1.1% 15.2% 5.6% 3.7% 18% 1.80 2.13 77% 13% 4.5% 9% 45 8 18%
2013 30 BAL AL 291 47% 1.7% 19.2% 6.2% 4.8% 19% 1.38 2.50 70% 21% 6.5% 10% 75 17 23%
8 Yrs 1656 50% 1.5% 16.0% 6.9% 4.8% 21% 1.38 2.04 73% 17% 5.2% 10% 354 61 17%
MLB Averages 46% 2.6% 18.3% 8.4% 7.8% 33% 0.80 1.08 69% 19% 7.6% 13% 11%
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/6/2013.

Like I said, the two relievers profile very similarly.  Johnson walks a few less batters and does a better job in limiting the extra base hits.  Webb, however, keeps the ball in the park slightly better and is younger by several years.  Most importantly, however, is that Webb will making roughly $2.25 million next season while Johnson is likely to earn $10 m (or even north of that).  The ability to replace Johnson with an equal or better pitcher for a fraction of the cost was one of the main reasons trading Johnson was a prudent move.  For those doubting that Johnson would be replaced adequately, here you go.

  The Orioles have signed Ryan Webb to a 2 year/$4.5 m deal today (Yoda not included).

The Orioles have signed Ryan Webb to a 2 year/$4.5 m deal today (Yoda not included).

Everyone still wants to see where the savings between Webb and Johnson (roughly $7.5 m to $8.0 m) will go and that's completely fair.  However, the second step of the process of trading Johnson (the actual trade being the first step) has been completed as the Orioles have replaced Johnson with a very similar pitcher for a fraction of the cost.  The next step is to put that cost savings to good use.  Based on quotes from Dan Duquette over the past couple of days, I have little doubt that the Orioles will spend the savings.  I don't buy into these half-baked conspiracy theories put forth by hack newspaper writers that this is some grand plot for Peter Angelos to save a few million dollars.  The big question is how and where the Orioles will utilize the savings.  We will still have to wait to see exactly in what manner that money is utilized.

As Tim noted, this situation requires patience.  We all want the payoff immediately but we aren't going to get it.  So we can either assume the worse and complain until something happens or just sit back and wait for things to play out.  I prefer the latter.  The Webb signing was a good step in the right direction and I am optimistic other pieces will fall into place in the near future that will paint the Jim Johnson trade in a much more positive light.