MLB Trade Rumors: Blue Jays Must Hold off Josh Johnson Pursuit

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IJuly 28, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JULY 23:  Josh Johnson #55 of the Miami Marlins pitches during a game against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park on July 23, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

A series loss to the Oakland Athletics this week dropped the Toronto Blue Jays to 49-49 overall and a full 10 games back of the New York Yankees for the AL East lead. But according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, the Blue Jays remain interested in dealing for Miami Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson. 

Toronto may be wise to pump the brakes on that idea. 

While the thought of adding Johnson is a sound one for many reasons, the compensation package likely needed to pry him out of Miami is too much for an up-and-coming team like the Blue Jays to swallow. 

Why would the Blue Jays even considering sending a number of prospects south in return for Johnson? 

For starters, Toronto leads Major League Baseball in runs scored (488), and their slugging percentage is in the top five. The problem on this club isn't at the plate. It's on the mound. 

The Blue Jays rank in the bottom third of baseball in ERA (27th, 4.59), quality starts (23rd, 48) and WHIP (24th, 1.38). Their batting average against (BAA) is 19th at .258. Injuries to starters have been a big factor in the pitching struggles. 

Adding Johnson would be a start in fixing those woes. 

However, the Blue Jays would be paying a steep price for a pitcher who hasn't always been ace material this season. 

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Marlins are looking for a "Teixeira-like" package of players in return for Johnson.

Back in 2007, the Atlanta Braves sent prospects Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the Texas Rangers in return for Teixeira, who stayed with Atlanta for just a half a summer. Andrus and Feliz turned into All-Stars, while Harrison has 26 wins over the last two seasons with an ERA in the 3.00-range. 

In other words, the Marlins are expecting to raid the farm system of which ever team wants Johnson the most. That could be disastrous in the long term, even if Johnson is under contract for next season.

Johnson hasn't always been dominant in 20 starts this season, either. He's just 6-7 with an ERA above 4.00 over 119 innings in 2012. However, Johnson did just go six innings of one-hit ball in his last start. 

Another reason for the Blue Jays to be somewhat cautious in their approach comes via a report from ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, who tweeted that Johnson would prefer to be moved to near his childhood home of Oklahoma (think: Rangers) or his wife's home in Orange County, California (think: Angels). 

Toronto couldn't be further away from either locale. 

Overall, the reasons for the Blue Jays to have some interest are obvious. Despite dropping this week's series, Toronto is just four games back in the wild card race, and adding another power arm would do wonders to pick up their slumping staff. Johnson is also under contract past 2012. 

But the reasons not to pursue Johnson are more telling. The compensation package Toronto would have to send to Miami is the biggest, and I'm not sure any club would want to sacrifice that kind of talent for a player who may not want to play north of the border.