MLB Trade Talk: If Marlins Put Josh Johnson on Waivers, Should Yankees Pursue?

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IAugust 4, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 03:  Josh Johnson #55 of the Miami Marlins throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals during a game at Nationals Park on August 3, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

I really wanted the New York Yankees to get Cliff Lee if he fell to them on waivers.

In fact, if anyone has known me long enough to follow my work, you'll remember that I have wanted the Yankees to get Lee dating all the way back to my very first story on this website in June of 2009.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were the team that was awarded the claim on the Phillies' 33-year-old lefty, and Ned Coletti and Ruben Amaro, Jr. have until Sunday to work out a deal.

So Yankee fans, we can all cross off Lee from our wish list of players we'd like to see in the Bronx.

It's alright, though. We still have the rest of the month of August to figure out if we want to pursue a player through waivers.

When reading Buster Olney from ESPN's blog, I got an idea.

What if the Miami Marlins put Josh Johnson through waivers?

Clearly, they are not contending this year and Johnson was in a ton of rumors this past July as part of many trade scenarios—though none of which really involved the Yankees.

The 28-year-old is 7-7 with a 3.85 ERA with 118 strikeouts in 133.1 innings in 2012. What's been great about Johnson in 2012 is that he's been healthy, making 21 starts so far this season.

Back on November 11, I did a story on whether the Yankees should pursue Johnson in the offseason, and some of you thought it would be too risky because of his health.

Well, here we are almost nine months later and Johnson has remained healthy. He's also owed about $19 million through the 2013 season, which would be a lot less than picking up the $25 million per season that Lee would have been owed if claimed.

Now, again, what if the Marlins put him on waivers and he falls to the Yankees?

Should Brian Cashman claim him and try to strike a deal?

I'll be honest, I'd hand over Dellin Betances at this point if that's the kind of player it will take for the Marlins.

I don't know if I would consider Manny Banuelos or Mason Williams, but I wouldn't be 100 percent opposed to it in a deal for Johnson.

Let's be realistic, look at the Yankees' rotation right now: CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia. Then, in a month, throw in Andy Pettitte.

It's a good rotation. But is it a World Series rotation? Could it contend with the Angels, Tigers or Rangers?

My gut feeling says no on August 4.

If Cashman swung a deal to get Johnson, paired him with Sabathia at the top of the rotation, and added in Pettitte and Kuroda, that's a solid group to go to battle with during October.

I know the Yankees are trying to take the whole $189-million-payroll-before-2014-thing into consideration. We all know this.

Right now, I don't care about 2014. I care about October of 2012. Anyone else who claims to be a Yankee fan should too.

Cashman should care about that also, and so should Hal Steinbrenner. His dad surely would have cared about October in this kind of a deal. He would have given Cashman the green light to make it if it meant raising another trophy in October.

Making a deal for Johnson would both serve in the short- and long-term future of the team by solidifying a rotation with two strikeout pitchers who can dominate a lineup.

It's a big "if" though—if the Marlins decide to put Johnson on waivers.

If they do, and he drops to the Yankees, I honestly feel like they should take a chance and claim him.

If they have to inherit his salary, so be it. But knowing Miami, the Yankees would likely have to give back some prospects for the Marlins ace.

A lot of you want the Yankees to do something to enhance their chances for the World Series.

Adding Johnson would be that type of move.

Would Cashman do it though? Only time will tell.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.


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