This past weekend, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reported that the Marlins and the agent for starting pitcher Josh Johnson have reached an impasse in their contract negotiations. It appears the Marlins were looking to lockup Johnson and buyout Johnson's final two arbitration years. But Johnson's agent Matt Sosnick is looking for big money. So both sides have agreed to move on.
Here is what Frisaro wrote:
Without getting into specific dollar figures, Sosnick said the Marlins offered three years with a club option for a fourth.
Johnson's camp was hoping the deal would at least match what Kansas City's Zack Greinke signed before the 2009 season. The Royals' ace, recently named the American League Cy Young Award winner, signed for four years at $38 million.
Sosnick goes on to say the following about Johnson's future in Florida:
Sosnick feels 2010 will be Johnson's last with the Marlins, if the team wants to maximize his trade value. Since the Marlins aren't revealing their intentions, that is purely speculation.
In the past, the Marlins retained pitchers A.J. Burnett and Carl Pavano in their final arbitration years, and then received Draft pick compensation when both opted for free agency. On the flip side, Josh Beckett, Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera were dealt before their final years of arbitration.
"We disagreed on the years, which is fair," Sosnick said. "As far as our feelings are concerned, and I feel very strongly that this is true, that Josh either signs a long-term deal now with the Marlins, which is not going to happen, or he gets traded after this year and the Marlins can get some value back.
This tells me the Marlins won't be listening to too many offers for starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco anytime soon. With Johnson reaching free agency in 2011, dealing outfielder Jeremy Hermida to Boston in early November, and the fact that the Marlins are looking to deal second baseman Dan Uggla, the team will be in a bit of a rebuilding stage in 2010 and 2011.
It is way too early to speculate on what teams will be interested in Johnson, but there will certainly be a long line of suitors including the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Cubs among many others. The Marlins will be smart to see what the Indians got for Cliff Lee with a year and a half left on his contract and start listening to offers come the July 2010 trade deadline.
I am sure Larry Beinfest will not waste this opportunity like J.P. Ricciardi did with Roy Halladay last July.