November 21, 2009
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Yesterday, it was reported that Josh Johnson and the Florida Marlins were at an impasse in their contract talks. The Marlins are currently offering Johnson an extension that would buy out just one of his free agent years. The general thought is that Johnson's payday should be nine figures. However, the Marlins, have shown timelessly in the past, that they are against locking up players over the long term. This could make Johnson available via the trade market.
If Johnson is available, the New York Mets should go after him as they can, for several reasons. One, he is very young-25 years old, a pitcher that young, is rarely ever available. Two, Johnson has great stuff, is a workhorse, and could be a Cy Young candidate next year. It might not take that much to pry Johnson from the Marlins.He could be cheaper in terms of prospects than Roy Halladay.
There is one risk with Johnson; early in his career, he had to undergo Tommy John surgery. However, pitchers who undergo Tommy John surgery very early on, like Mariano Rivera, often have more successful careers than guys who get surgery mid-career because their arms are not as worn down when the procedure is done.
If I were the Mets, I'd be offering at least Fernando Martinez and either Brad Holt or Jenrry Mejia plus two more prospects. Josh Johnson would be a fantastic number two starter and is young enough that the Mets could have him for a few years without an extension being necessary. They also could sign him now for a cheaper price then they would in the future.
I still feel that the Mets can be a competitive team, because they have some of the top talent in baseball in their core, but they desperately need to show their commitment to excellence by improving their supporting cast and doing so with urgency. Making an aggressive play for Josh Johnson would be a great way to do that.
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