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Cross Josh Johnson Off the Winter Shopping List?

11.29.09 at 8:38 pm ET
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In a recent interview with radio station 790 The Ticket in Miami, Florida Marlins GM Michael Hill said that his club will not trade right-hander Josh Johnson this offseason. In comments relayed by MLB.com, Hill said that he could say “with certainty” that Johnson, who went 15-5 with a 3.23 ERA in 2009, will open the 2010 season in the Marlins rotation.

Johnson and the Marlins broke off discussions about a long-term deal this offseason. Though Johnson will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2011 season, his salary will escalate through the arbitration process in each of the next two years. As such, there appeared a chance that the Marlins might make the right-hander available in a trade, much as they did in the offseason following the 2005 season with Josh Beckett.

But, based on Hill’s comments, it would appear that the Marlins are more inclined to keep Johnson until at least the start of the season. That does not preclude the team from dealing him either during the season or next offseason, when his value would undoubtedly remain enormous. There is little question that if the 2009 All-Star is made available, that virtually every team in the majors — including the Red Sox — will investigate what it would take to acquire the right-hander.

“From the standpoint of Josh’s future, and how he fits, and how attractive he looks, no matter what his situation is, he’s a good player, and a good pitcher,” Hill told the radio station. “I don’t ever think there would be a shortage of teams that would want to have him on their team, and we’re very fortunate to have him as a member of the Marlins.”

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