Josh. (No, not that one.)
It was pretty lousy news for the Yankees when Cliff Lee ignored all that was behooved and upset the preordained order of things by spurning Mother Nature and signing with one of the other 29 teams.
While maybe less devastating, it was still disappointing for the Rangers to learn that Lee took a less lucrative package from Philadelphia than the one they’d apparently offered, and that he cited as an overriding factor how much he loved playing with the Phillies in what was actually a shorter amount of time than he’d had in Texas, when that was a dynamic the Rangers believed was in their favor as Lee neared a decision, presumably between New York and Texas.
But the level of frustration that the Yankees and Rangers probably grappled with should be nothing like what the National League must feel, now that Lee joins a ridiculous rotation that will have most teams facing a legitimate ace more often than not in any given series. Lee is under team control through 2016. Roy Halladay, through 2014. Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, through 2012.
It’s particularly thorny for the NL East, whose Wild Card odds are impacted by the misfortune of having to fight through an imbalanced schedule that has Philadelphia popping up 18 times a year.
It’s probably not going to be any fun to be in Philadelphia’s division in 2011 or 2012 or 2013 or 2014.
You know Josh Johnson is leaving after 2013. He may not command a Cliff Lee deal, not quite at least, but he’ll be 29 that winter and will get a nine-figure deal. Johnson is 33-12, 2.94 the last three seasons (454 strikeouts and 124 unintentional walks in 480 innings, .241/.296/.342 opponents’ slash). The rest of the Marlins are four games under .500 in that three-year span.
Johnson’s $3.75 million salary last year was a crazy bargain. His $7.75 million in 2011 is an awesome deal, too. But that $13.75 million in both 2012 and 2013, while not nearly what Johnson is worth, is going to be a heck of a chunk. That new stadium in 2012 will fill up, but will the same thing happen in year two for the building, especially if the Marlins aren’t sniffing contention?
Johnson is from Oklahoma.
That four-year, $39 million contract you gave him a year ago – which was then the second largest ever given to a pitcher eligible for arbitration for the second time – doesn’t have a no-trade clause. (That could be a bad thing, actually.)
The Phillies added Cliff Lee. You guys lost Dan Uggla.
You’re not going to win a division while Johnson is still around. After that, who knows? The Phillies will be an old team at that point (they’re getting there now), though Ruben Amaro Jr. has proven that he’ll shake things up and will probably find a way to turn the roster over to keep the club in contention.
But you have no chance in the East while Johnson is still a Marlin.
And that month he missed to end the season, shut down with shoulder inflammation and a back strain? Are you worried about that at all?
Kansas City is holding Texas up for Zack Greinke. Tampa Bay holds everyone up for any of its players, and the ask on Matt Garza is surely more than it should be. Cleveland probably wants too much for Fausto Carmona, peddling the 2007/2010 version (32-22, 3.41) while dismissing the 2006/2008/2009 guy (14-29, 5.78).
But you’re entitled to ask for the player packages that the Royals, Rays, and Indians will demand. Johnson warrants it.
Get him out of the National League. Revitalize the top of your farm system, accelerate the process, pull off your Teixeira deal. You have the one pitcher in the game, assuming Seattle maintains its resolve, worthy of that sort of haul.
The stories this week say you “have no intention of trading” Johnson.
I see what you did there. Clever.
Do the right thing, Florida.
It would behoove you.