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Long-term contract talks with Josh Johnson hits roadblock

Long-term contract negotiations with Josh Johnson may have come to an end.

"Josh obviously wanted to do something to stay long-term with the Marlins, but it doesn't look that way now,' his agent, Matt Sosnick, said today.

Johnson, 25, is entering his second winter of arbitration but was hoping to sign a four-year contract worth at least $40 million.

The Marlins were believed to be willing to go no longer than three years for about $22 million.

When the sides could not resolve their differences, the Marlins said they preferred to go year-to-year.

"They made it very clear they only wanted to talk about a one-year deal,' Sosnick said.

Don't know if the Marlins offer is accurate but if it is, 3 year/$22 million is a pretty low ball offer.  Team Johnson is locked on a four-year deal and the Marlins aren't budging from a three-year deal.  I can understand not wanting to go more than  three years with a pitcher, they tend to get hurt.  While it makes for a nice rule of thumb, however, every now and then an exception is called for.  And this would seem to warrant such an exception.  To get Johnson for a 4-year, $40 million deal, you are locking in a number one starter below the projected fair market price.  I would be willing to roll the dice on this one and I think the Marlins should, but they don't ask me.

If the two sides continue to refuse to give and it becomes obvious that there is no possibility of a deal being reached, the Marlins need to trade JJ as soon as possible, like before spring training.  The risk of waiting until after the 2010 season is that he could get hurt, or maybe even have an off-year, thus lowering his trade value.  Right now, Johnson is extremely valuable and impact pitchers are hard to come by in the offseason.  If the team is going to trade him anyway, it makes sense to do so when you know you can get a high value for him.

Hopefully this is all posturing and the two sides will continue the talks later on, but I wouldn't count on it.