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Finishing up a bitterly disappointing first season at the brand new Marlins Park, Miami is looking to trim some of their franchise record $95 million 2012 payroll.
Unfortunately for them, they back-loaded the major free agent contracts they signed last winter, making players like Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell virtually immobile.
That leaves righty ace Josh Johnson, who is entering the final year of his current deal in 2013.
While Johnson hasn’t been at his best, he’s had a solid year (3.84 ERA, 1.27 WHIP in 185 innings), and more importantly he’s managed to make 30 or more starts for just the second time in his career, answering some questions about his ability to remain healthy.
A beast on the mound at 6’7'' and 250 pounds, Johnson, 28, has boundless potential, having led the NL in ERA just two seasons ago. He’ll draw interest from all over baseball, but his uncertain contractual status may limit the haul the Marlins can expect in return…unless he’s willing to sign a below-market extension with the team who acquires him, like Roy Halladay did upon being dealt to the Phillies.