There's plenty of speculation around Josh Johnson, a pitcher the Rangers scouted once again Sunday and has been on their radar for some time.
But reports out of Miami continue to show the asking price is particularly high. Johnson probably didn't increase his stock with his five-inning performance against the San Diego Padres. On the up side, he allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits with four strikeouts. On the down side, he walked six and didn't pitch as deep into the game as he wanted.
But here's how Stark termed the situation when it comes to Johnson, the Marlins and the Rangers. He says the conversation has to start with Mike Olt:
We checked back with one of the baseball men who pegged the odds of Johnson going nowhere as "95 percent" a few days ago. He told us Sunday he'd now raise those odds to "98 percent," given the asking price and concerns of all the teams in this mix.
Texas, in particular, seems especially cautious about Johnson and the hefty package it would take to get him, no matter how much the Rangers might need an ace. The Marlins have told Texas there's nothing for those two teams to talk about unless third-base prospect Mike Olt's name is on the table. And so far, the Rangers haven't been willing to lay Olt's name on any team's table, for any sort of deal. So the chances of those two clubs matching up seems like a major long shot. But the Rangers still sent a scout to see Johnson pitch on Sunday. So those chances, clearly, aren't zero.
Would you include Olt in a deal for Johnson or is that too high a price to pay for a guy who has had an inconsistent season, has seen his velocity drop a bit and had the shoulder issue last season?