[image title="p1.felix.hernandez.getty" size="full" id="14005" align="right" linkto="full" ] [image title="josh-johnson" size="full" id="14007" align="center" linkto="full" ]
the excellent Craig Calcaterra D.J. Short over at Circling The Bases, we get word of two likely Yankee targets involved in discussions that would preclude them from making it to free agency. The first link D.J. provides is from MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro:
Sometime this week the Marlins plan to have discussions with agent Matt Sosnick regarding a contract for Josh Johnson.
Whether there is movement on a multiyear deal will depend on a key factor.
Sosnick claims if the Marlins will guarantee a four-year deal then he will listen.
Arbitration-eligible for the second time, Johnson is in line to make about $4.2 million in 2010, if both sides don’t reach a multiyear agreement for the 6-foot-7 right-hander.
Johnson is just beginning to blossom as a star pitcher, with 2009 being his first full “ace” type year. He required Tommy John surgery for an elbow injury that cost him chunks of 2007 and 2008, but is now fully healthy and seems ready to take that next step into stardom at just 26. He would garner a huge contract in free agency, but is unlikely to ever reach that point. Even if Johnson does not sign a deal with Florida, they are certain to trade him to reap a return from his departure. The cost in prospects will be extremely high, and I doubt the Yankees will be willing to give up the pieces necessary to get him. The only hope may be that Johnson refuses to sign with the club that acquires him, which would allow him to test the free agent market as a 28 year old in his prime.
The second link is to a story from Nick Cafardo about Felix Hernandez:
Talks between the Mariners and Hernandez’s agent, Alan Nero, are getting serious, and there’s more optimism that a long-term deal can get done this offseason. The Mariners have been aggressive signing players (Chone Figgins) and making trades (Cliff Lee, Casey Kotchman, Milton Bradley), and consider Hernandez the building block of their franchise.
I have a hard time seeing Felix play anywhere but Seattle. Mariners GM Jack Z is a shrewd fellow, and I am sure that he recognizes that a player of Hernandez’ caliber does not come around very often. Seattle is not a small market club, and should be able to afford Felix, who can certainly be the pitching star for that franchise for a long, long time. Seattle clearly wants to contend for the next few seasons, and keeping their ace is an important element of that plan. I am sorry, Yankee fans, but it seems like King Felix is staying in Seattle.
Photo: Hernandez- Getty Images, Johnson- SI.com