When the Toronto Blue Jays traded for Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck, they knew that they would need to re-sign Josh Johnson, and that it would not be easy.
Josh Johnson will be one of next season's top free agent starting pitchers, and if he can get his slider back to being one of the nastiest in baseball and his fastball back into the 95-to-97 miles-per-hour range, there is no telling how much a team will be willing to fork over.
A good season would already have cemented Johnson's place atop the free agent heap next offseason by itself.
Well, it appears as though the negotiations won't be getting any easier.
With news breaking that Anibal Sanchez (Johnson's former Florida Marlins teammate) has signed a five-year deal worth a striking $80 million with the Detroit Tigers, the Jays front office probably just let out a collective groan.
$16 million was probably within the range of what the Jays were hoping to re-sign Johnson for.
That's not going to happen anymore.
If we compare Johnson's career numbers to Sanchez's, it's as clear as day that Johnson is the much better pitcher.
First, Johnson's career ERA is 3.15, while Sanchez has posted a 3.75 ERA for his career.
Are you nervous that the Jays may not be able to re-sign Josh Johnson thanks to the contracts handed out to pitchers this offseason?
Johnson's career WHIP is also significantly lower than Anibal's, with his 1.23 being more impressive than Sanchez's 1.35.
In terms of strikeouts per nine innings, Johnson has a career mark of 8.2, compared to Sanchez, whose career rate is 7.6.
You see, other than innings pitched, Sanchez has nothing on Josh Johnson.
Heck, Johnson made both the 2009 and 2010 All-Star games and would have been a lock in 2011 had he not needed season-ending surgery (his ERA through nine starts was a sensational 1.64).
In fact, using the same criteria, Johnson's numbers are actually better than Zack Greinke's over the course of his career.
His injury history is sure to hold him back from getting a contract the size of Greinke's, but with this year's signings, there is no doubt that Josh Johnson is in line to earn himself a contract that will pay him around $22 million per season for upwards of three years.
While the Anibal Sanchez signing may not seem all that important to the Toronto Blue Jays at this juncture, it could cause the team some major headaches when negotiations begin with Josh Johnson and his agent about re-signing.
If Alex Anthopoulos was smart, he'd try and re-sign Johnson as soon as possible, before he has the chance to really get back to being his dominant self and demand nearly $25 million a year.
All statistics in this article were gathered from baseball-reference.com.