Over at MLBTR it's been reported that talks have broken down and Josh Johnson does not want to sign an extension with the Marlins. I'm assuming that this will make him available for trade. So the question becomes what would it take to get him? I would expect at least 2 of our upper echelon prospects such as Ramos, Hicks, Revere, Morales, or Bromberg. Then I'm thinking they would likely be interested in a starter from our current squad that has a lot of time left. Maybe one or two of Perkins, Swarzak, Duensing, Bonser, or Liriano?
I guess if we're going to be at all realistic then I'm thinking the Twins could offer 2 of Ramos/Revere/Bromberg + Perkins and one of Swarzak/Bonser/Liriano/Duensing/Manship. Is this too much? not enough? Is it enough to get it done but not worth the cost? I figure if the Twins could make the trade and sign Johnson to a 3-4 year deal buying out his last two years of arbitration as well as a year or two of free agency then the trade would be worth the cost in prospects. The Twins rotations suddenly becomes very good headlined by Baker, Johnson, and Slowey. A backend of Blackburn and whoever is left/wins of the pitchers mentioned in the trade. The Twins still have some depth left and some good pitchers like Guerra, McCardell, and Gutierrez at AA next year as well as Kyle Gibson likely on the fast track to the majors if need be.
Then there's the money issue how do the Twins pay for Johnson? The money appears to be there as the Twins are apparently talking to free agents like Pavano and Washburn. If the Twins could sign Johnson to an extension that keeps his cost affordable over the next two years before it boosts into the 8 figure range as the Twins could have up to 25 million coming off the books in 2012 in the form of Nathan (option), Cuddyer, and Kubel. Hopefully someone like Neshek or another guy in the minors(Van Mil, Delaney, Slama, Burnett) could take over for Nathan at that point. Tosoni should be major league ready along with some of the younger prospects like Morales, Benson, and Hicks are knocking on the door making players like Kubel and Cuddyer expendable
There's also Johnson's injury history to look at. He has had tommy john surgery and has been healthy now for a year and a half making 14 starts in the second half of 2008 and starting 33 games in 2009. There are guys Tommy John works for and guys it doesn't. Johnson seems to be the latter and hopefully his arm is more injury proof than ever. There's still worry that something flares up again but really no more than with any other pitcher after this past year.
So is he worth it? Is this even realistic? Would getting Johnson mean the Twins were done with acquisitions this year and basically stick the Twins with Harris/Tolbert/Punto manning two positions in the infield? There's a lot to give up to get Johnson but also a lot to gain. I have to think that a lineup similar to last years which is what we have at the moment coupled with an Ace level pitcher and a bullpen that should be better over the course of the year would make the Twins a definite contender for the pennant next year and also prove to our stars that the Twins are serious about winning. Of course a 2B/3B along with Johnson would be even better but if I was given the choice I'd take Johnson any day of the week and twice on Sunday.