07/30/12 6:50 PM ET
JJ wants to stay but knows it's out of his hands
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
Drafted by the Marlins in 2002, Johnson has made it clear that his priority is to remain with the only franchise he's ever known. But the decision is out of his hands.
"This is all I know," Johnson said. "They've had me from the very beginning. I feel I owe it to them. The guys here are awesome. This is my favorite team ever to have been on, for sure. The guys here are great. We have fun."
It hasn't been a vintage Johnson season, and the Marlins are measuring interest to see if a team presents a trade package tempting enough to take.
In 21 starts, the 6-foot-7 right-hander is 6-7 with a 4.04 ERA. He's been healthy, making 21 straight starts, but on Sunday he walked a season-most six in five innings in a no-decision against the Padres.
The shaky start appears to have turned away some teams.
But if you look at his body of work, Johnson has been impressive. He's 54-30 with a 3.13 ERA. Still, a few years ago he was regarded as one of the top right-handers in the game.
He missed most of the 2011 season with inflammation in his right shoulder, and he's struggled this year with consistency.
"Yes, I want JJ here," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I think we all do. There is no doubt. I think he's a great kid, great pitcher, great arm. I keep saying, I'm not the GM. I don't want to be the GM. That's a job I never will take. They have a job to do. I guarantee you, if somebody put a nice deal, a nice package and they like it, it is what it is."
Whether Johnson stays in Miami appears to be coming down to what another team is willing to pay. The Marlins would also have to feel the offer is enough to trade a two-time All-Star who is under contract for $13.75 million in 2013.
Strong indications are that Johnson will remain with the Marlins, but everything is subject to change until the Deadline passes.
The last few weeks have been tough on the team and the players who have been rumored to be on the move.
"You try not to read stuff," Johnson said. "But it's everywhere, like here."
Johnson noted that he walked past a TV in the hallway at Turner Field on Monday, and the topic was trade rumors. At the time his name wasn't mentioned.
"Nothing was on about me, but you see things," he said. "Crazy things can happen. It could be one second, one team [is] saying, 'Nope, we're good.' And then all of a sudden, they call back an hour later, saying, 'Never mind, here are four guys or five guys,' and then all of a sudden, I'm out of here. We know that can change quickly. It's crazy."
Johnson added that the players will have a sense of relief after the Deadline.
"If anybody is going anywhere, get it out of the way, and then we don't have to worry about anything else," he said. "We don't have to answer the questions. When you're walking into the clubhouse, you're looking to see if front-office guys are in there, and if you're going to get pulled in there. Things like that."
Guillen noted that the Marlins are not necessarily looking to trade away Johnson, they're just seeing what may be out there.
"I don't think they're going to say, 'Take JJ and give us your broken bats and BP balls,'" Guillen said. "Every name is out there. Last couple of days, it was JJ, JJ, JJ. And then all of a sudden, JJ pitches five innings, and now it's [Josh] Beckett, [Cliff] Lee and the kid from Tampa Bay [James Shields]. When you're in that situation, at this point, everybody is out there."