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Josh Johnson Wants A 4-Year Deal

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of serving as a guest of Jared Schwartz on my hometown’s main sports radio channel, 560 WQAM.  It was a great conversation where we talked about the future of the Miami Heat (whether Wade, LeBron, and Bosh was a possibility), Josh Johnson’s future with the Florida Marlins, and the development of Dynasty Athlete Representation.

The discussion about Josh Johnson was very interesting, and I thought that I would expand on it right here on

Josh Johnson‘s agent is Matt Sosnick.  Sosnick is a partner at Sosnick Cobbe Sports, and has appeared multiple times on this site.  Sosnick and I talked early in this past season, and he told me that I should keep an eye on Johnson.  He was right.  Johnson went 15-5 with a 3.23 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and struck out 191 batters in 209 innings.  Those are fantastic numbers for a starting pitcher.

Understandably, Sosnick wants Johnson to get paid.  At the same time, the Marlins want to make sure that they will retain the high caliber starting pitcher to increase their likelihood of success in the near future.  All that is separating Sosnick and the Marlins is a year and over $10 million.  Yeah, that’s all.

Sosnick is eying the contract that Zach Greinke received from the Kansas City Royals last year.  Greinke received 4-years and $38 million.  Before you say “What the hell is Soz thinking?”, realize that Greinke’s contract was signed BEFORE he went 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA and more strikeouts than innings pitched.  With those numbers, in 2009, Greinke earned the CY Young Award.  The year before, Greinke pitched very well, but his record, ERA, and strikeouts-per-innings-pitched was not as strong.  In fact, if you compare Johnson’s 2009 numbers with Greinke’s 2008 numbers, the gentlemen are quite similar…which is precisely why Sosnick is trying to use Greinke’s contract as a starting point for Johnson’s current negotiations.

But the Marlins are not pushovers.  They want Johnson to sign a 3-year deal worth $23 million.  Sosnick is not having it.  Unfortunately for Sosnick, Josh Johnson is young.  He still has a couple of years of arbitration left with the Marlins before he becomes a free-agent.  If the Marlins strike one-year deals or follow through with arbitration for the next two years, when Johnson leaves after the 2011 season, they will most likely get an additional 1st round pick and a supplemental 1st round pick (assuming that Johnson will be a Type A free agent).  Many people believe that Johnson will sign a 1-year deal for 2010 and then get traded in 2011 and never reach free-agency with the Marlins.

It is interesting to see how this one will play out.  The Marlins are known for using a tough negotiating stance and relying on their deep farm system to replace high profile players who demand a large amount of money.  They shifted course when they signed Hanley Ramirez to a 6-year, $70 million contract.  With a new ballpark opening in 2012, the team may want to also solidify itself with a starting pitcher who looks as if he has the “stuff” to be the #1 on almost any team.

There’s also another interesting fact at play.  Sosnick represents Ricky Nolasco, who is another starting pitcher for the Marlins.  Nolasco recently signed a 1-year, $3.8 million deal with the club.  He is slotted to be the #2 starter in 2010.  Sosnick holds the chips and the Marlins want them.  Sosnick is using the media a bit in order to gain some leverage on his side of the table.  Is it working for him?  He has noted that Johnson loves playing for the Marlins and that he would prefer to stay in Miami.  Does that help his cause or hurt it?

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

5 replies on “Josh Johnson Wants A 4-Year Deal”

I think most people recoginzie in the industry that Sosnick/Cobbe are a bunch of pushovers and will buckle to the Marlins. We will see what happens but I bet Matt does not get the 4th year that he is wants

That’s an unfair and gratuitous criticism by bobby rosenberg.

If Johnson played for any other team but the Marlins, Johnson would already be locked up for four years by now.

Jason –

Sosnick/Cobbe are know as pasty in the industry.

Johnson will leave for a bigger agency if Sosnick/Cobbe to get a real big time deal

The Marlins are in a predicament here. If they really think that Johnson is a big time pitcher ( I am not cnvinced he is) they should probably sign him to a long term deal like the rays did with Longoria. Otherwise, my money is that they are going to wait to see how the next couple seasons with him go and win in arbitration. I bet the latter option prevails.

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