SBD/Issue 85/Franchises

Marlins Sign Johnson To $39M Deal Days After Pledge To Spend

Johnson Is First Marlins Pitcher To
Sign Long-Term Contract Since '02
The Marlins and P Josh Johnson Thursday agreed to a four-year, $39M contract extension, just two days after the team pledged to "raise payroll," according to Clark Spencer of the MIAMI HERALD. The agreement "follows closely on the heels of an unprecedented three-party agreement" by the Marlins, MLB and the MLBPA in which the Marlins "promised to increase payroll as dictated by the Basic Agreement." Johnson is the "first Marlins pitcher to have a long-term contract since Jeffrey Loria took over as owner in 2002" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/15). In Ft. Lauderdale, Juan Rodriguez notes the contract was "not a cause-and-effect situation." Johnson is set to make $3.75M this season and $7.75M in '11, "salaries the Marlins already had budgeted" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 1/15). Also in Ft. Lauderdale, Ethan Skolnick wrote, "Were they pushed by the recent joint letter from Major League Baseball and the players union, essentially warning them to stop pocketing all that revenue sharing loot? Perhaps. But I don't care." The Marlins needed to "start showing their fan base that they were serious, and they needed to do so before they moved into the new stadium that required significant public funding." Skolnick noted that is why he "took exception to David Samson's assertion ... that the team would start spending money after it saw how fans responded to the new stadium" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 1/14). ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes, “Within hours after getting their wrists slapped by the powers within the industry for not spending enough, the Marlins spent to lock up Josh Johnson” (ESPN.com, 1/15).

SUNNY SKIES AHEAD? In West Palm Beach, Greg Stoda notes perhaps the Johnson extension is a "sign of things to come, with a new stadium set to open in 2012." It would be "fun to see what" Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest "could build if Florida were to nudge" last season's $36.8M payroll just a little higher. Stoda: "It's a waste to shackle Beinfest's genius with such strict economic constraints" (PALM BEACH POST, 1/15).

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