As we reported yesterday here at BSI, the Red Sox are interested in the Miami Marlins starting pitcher Josh Johnson. So much so that they had a scout in attendance to watch Johnson’s start against the Atlanta Braves on Monday night. The Red Sox aren’t the only team interested in Johnson as the Rangers also had a scout in attendance to watch the 28-year old, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. And what a performance Johnson delivered, allowing just one hit through six innings while striking out nine batters. He left the game with a cut on his middle finger of his throwing hand and it’s not known how serious, if it all the injury is. If Monday afternoon was any indication, the Red Sox had better move quickly and efficiently if they are serious about acquiring Johnson.
The fish were busy on Monday dealing away Anibal Sanchez to the Detroit Tigers, another pitcher who the Red Sox were said to be eyeing up, according to Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston. At first report it was both Sanchez and Johnson who the Old Towne Team were eyeing, only to learn mere hours later that Miami sent the former Red Sox prospect and Omar Infante to the Tigers for highly sought after prospect, Jacob Turner. With it, ended any and all speculation that a blockbuster deal was in the works between Boston and Miami that had many fans wondering if Josh Beckett and/or Jon Lester could be headed the other way. Carl Crawford has also been tied to trade rumors with the Marlins in a deal that had Boston acquiring Heath Bell and Hanley Ramirez. The rumors were killed immediately after they started.
There is still time and ample opportunity for Ben Cherington to make a big “splash” before this year’s deadline and acquiring Johnson would certainly fall under that magnitude. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe confirms the Red Sox interest in Johnson but he’s quick to point out that no deal is close. It has not been reported as to what the asking price for Johnson will be but given the Marlins have vastly under performed this season, they may want players who can make an impact immediately over prospects.
Johnson who has been pegged as the Marlins ‘ace’ in the past has struggled this season, producing an uncharacteristic 4.35 ERA in 113.2 innings. He has a 7.6 SO/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 46.5% groundball rate, courtesy of our friends at MLBTR.com. The two-time all-star has a career ERA of 3.16 to go with a WHIP of 1.244 and a 8.2 SO/9 compared to a 3.0 BB/9.
He’s set to earn $13.5MM this season and next before being eligible for free-agency in 2014. Considering the large and outlandish contracts the Red Sox currently have to absorb on their starting rotation (Beckett and Lackey), taking on another healthy salary in Johnson would have to be met with unloading salary via the trade route. Given Lester and Beckett’s poor performances as of late there is rampant speculation that either or both should be moved, something that could be more challenging than not.
Stay tuned as we’ll keep you up to date on all the Red Sox news, rumors and analysis leading up to the trade deadline and beyond.