Mike Axisa tackled this topic earlier, and it was one I was hoping to get a jump on as the news came over a slow baseball weekend that Josh Johnson and the Marlins are at a stalemate in negotiations after Florida offered him a pitiful three-year $21 million extension.
The good news is that Johnson will certainly be leaving Florida. The slightly less good news is that he’s not a free agent until after the 2011 season, which means anyone interested in acquiring Johnson will have to pay a king’s ransom. Mike speculates that a package including one of Joba/Hughes, Jesus Montero and two lesser prospects might get it done.
As excellent as Johnson is — a ridiculous 3.06 FIP (7th-best in baseball, right behind Doc Halladay) and 5.5 WAR in 2009 (and as Mike notes, as much as we want Joba/Hughes to succeed in pinstripes, it’s unlikely that either would end up developing into an even better pitcher than Johnson is right now) — I’m not sure the trade makes a ton of sense from the Yankees’ perspective. Granted, you’d get two cost-controlled years of one of the best young pitchers in the game, but sacrificing one of your own top two young pitchers along with one of the best hitting prospects around looks like an overpay. It also flies in the face of the way the Yankees have been conducting business these last few years.
When was the last time the Yanks made a big-time trade in which they had to part with at least one significant prospect? Probably the Randy Johnson deal in the winter of ’05, and that one didn’t even sting that badly as Dioner Navarro wasn’t anywhere near as heralded as Montero is.
If the Yankees were somehow able to pry Johnson from the fish using one of Joba/Hughes and an assortment of non-Montero prospects, then by all means, make it happen. Otherwise, I have no problem waiting Johnson out so he can pitch to new Yankee batterymate Montero in 2012.
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