Ruben Amaro is focused on starting pitching at the Winter Meetings, and he has reportedly found at least one that he likes. 27-year-old righty Steve Johnson, a minor league free agent, has actually intrigued the Phillies before now, but that interest has apparently reinvigorated in San Diego.
"Since my arrival at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, I've heard that the Phillies and Mariners are among the teams with interest in Johnson... The Phillies have tried to acquire Johnson in the past and he could remain close to home by signing with them."
Johnson has appeared in 21 games in his two-season Major League career. In 2012, he tossed 38.1 innings in four starts and several relief appearances, allowing only nine earned runs for a 2.11 ERA and 1.070 WHIP. He struck out 46 and walked 18.
The next season, he showed up in only 15.2 innings for Baltimore over the course of nine games, and fared much worse. He walked almost as many hitters as he did in 2012 (13) in less than half the innings. He allowed 14 hits and 13 earned runs as he was bounced from the Major League roster to Triple A Norfolk in accordance with injuries on the big club.
He was outrighted off the Orioles' roster in late October, and is currently recovering from surgery on a spur in his throwing shoulder.
Kubatko's reference to Johnson remaining close to home comes from the pitcher's hometown of Baltimore being in closer proximity to Lehigh Valley and Phialdelphia than, say, Seattle, the other team said to be interested in signing Johnson.