The Pittsburgh Pirates have been operating with the mindset that A.J. Burnett won’t be back and the Pirates have intensified their pursuit of Josh Johnson who emerged out of last weeks GM meetings at the top of their wishlist.
Expectations are Johnson will pick a team this week and his Agent Matt Sosnick confirmed to the Tribune-Review Tuesday that the Pirates are on Johnson’s shortlist and among three to four teams he is considering.
Word is if the Pirates and Johnson strike a deal, it will come in around $8.5 million per season. The buzz, though, is that Johnson is likely headed to the San Diego Padres.
Sosnick when reached for comment minutes ago agreed that Pittsburgh has made a great case in that pitching in PNC Park would be a great fit for Johnson. Johnson reportedly, though, prefers to play on the West Coast. Sosnick denied that when asked.
Pitching in the American League for the first time in his career, the 29 year old Johnson struggled last season going 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA for the Blue Jays. Johnson had a great three year run with the Marlins from 2009-2011 going 29-12 during that span. Johnson posted a 2.30 ERA in 28 starts during the 2010 season.
Johnson made $13.75 million in 2012. He is regarded as one of the most talented pitchers in the game.