A’s agree to deal with Kazmir, trade for closer Johnson

Carlos Osorio/APA’s starting pitcher Jesse Chavez takes his hat off after being relieved in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s loss in Detroit.

The A’s and general manager Billy Beane had a busy first day back from the Thanksgiving weekend.

Oakland agreed to terms on a $22 million, two-year contract with free-agent left-hander Scott Kazmir and later Monday traded infielder Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later to the Baltimore Orioles for closer Jim Johnson.

The 29-year-old Kazmir went 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA in 29 starts and 158 innings last season for the Cleveland Indians. It marked his return to the big leagues for the first time since making one poor outing for the Angels in 2011.

With the pending acquisition of Kazmir, the A’s have filled a rotation spot with a veteran starter as they had hoped to do. That means the two-time defending AL West champions won’t necessarily continue to pursue a new deal for 40-year-old 18-game winner Bartolo Colon.

Kazmir will join a rotation featuring Sonny Gray and A.J. Griffin.

In the 30-year-old Johnson, the A’s have a replacement for Grant Balfour, who is a free agent. Johnson is coming off back-to-back 50-save seasons. He is eligible for arbitration this year, where he is expected to earn in the neighborhood of $10 million.

Weeks was once a highly touted prospect for the A’s, but has fallen out of favor in recent years.

Meanwhile, the A’s agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Fernando Rodriguez on a one-year contract. Rodriguez was acquired in a trade with Houston last February that also brought Jed Lowrie to the A’s. Rodriguez was one of nine arbitration eligible players on the A’s roster.

The other arbitration-eligible players tendered contracts by Monday’s deadline were outfielders Josh Reddick and Seth Smith, infielders Daric Barton, Brandon Moss and Jed Lowrie, relief pitchers Jerry Blevins and Jesse Chavez, and catcher John Jaso.

— Staff, wire report

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