Josh Johnson, Miami Marlins

Royals Interested in Trading to Acquire Marlins’ Ace Josh Johnson

According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, the Kansas City Royals may have interest in acquiring 28 year-old starting pitcher Josh Johnson from the Maimi Marlins. The righty may be the next piece dealt away by the Marlins, who have already traded SP Anibal Sanchez, INF Omar Infante and 3B Hanley Ramirez.

The Marlins dropped $191 million on three “elite” free agents in the off-season, SS Jose Reyes, SP Mark Buehrle , CL Heath Bell. For the investment, the Marlins currently find themselves in 4th place (of 5) in the National League East division at 45-53,13.5 games behind the Washington Nationals.

The Marlins Ace will require a very high price from a potential Marlins trade partner:

An official of one club that spoke with the Marlins’ brass told the Daily Rumble on Wednesday that he would estimate the odds Johnson stays in Miami at “95 percent.”

This, that official said, is not Wayne Huizenga’s Marlins. And what’s transpiring now is not a fire sale. It’s a statement, mostly, that the Marlins of Hanley Ramirez and his friends had proven they couldn’t win and wouldn’t win. So they’re looking for a whole new recipe. But they’ll move Johnson only for a monster return.

An executive of another club reports the Marlins say they will trade Johnson only for a package centered around a young, star-caliber player who isn’t arbitration-eligible. So who’s that? Mike Trout? Stephen Strasburg? Chris Sale?

The list of clubs that are likely to make a run at this guy — or already have — includes the Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays and Royals. But the message they’re hearing back from the Marlins is that Johnson is the toughest player on their roster to trade, with the possible exception of Giancarlo Stanton.

On the season, Johnson is 6-7 (20 starts) with a 4.14 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 105 K in 119.2 IP. Johnson missed the second half of the season in 2011 with a right shoulder injury. Johnson also missed time in 2010 due to injury.

Surveying the deadline landscape | Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

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