Josh Johnson is Ready for His Closeup

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old man and sea.jpgJosh Johnson's good y'all. The Lord of the Fish didn't play in his first All Star game, but the skills he's put on display this season indicate he'll have plenty of opportunities in the future. Johnson is very reminiscent of a former Marlin of much regard: AJ Burnett but with slightly more...everything. Johnson is bigger (6'7), throws a little harder, and is just a little saner. In fact they compare quite nicely, even baring an more than passing resemblance. Johnson is putting together an excellent season on the back of his solid three pitch mix and imposing stature.

The Marlins are somewhat concerned with Johnson's work load this season as noted in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He's "on pace" to throw more innings this season than his entire big league career up to this point. The Verducci Rule of limiting a pitcher to 30 more innings than the previous season may not apply to a big dude like Johnson, though he's complained of shoulder weakness already this year.

The biggest concern with any (all) Marlins studs is if not when they will trade him. The penny-pinching fish already have Hanley committed to big bucks they need to make a decision on Johnson soon. He's under team control until 2011 meaning the trade talk won't begin for a another full year. He successfully auditioned for the Yankees in June, throwing 7 innings of 3 hit ball, notching 5 strikeouts and 14 groundballs! His agent sees a big deal on the horizon, throwing out numbers comparable to his spiritual mentor Burnett.

Johnson starts tonight against the division rivals in Philadelphia, whom he's been dominant against in his career. He's young, big, and already has his Tommy John surgery behind him. The world is his oyster, mostly because of his giant hands.

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Every time I think about "The Old Man and the Sea", the image of lions on the beach is what hits me. Don't know why that particular Old Man anecdote impressed me so as a youngster. That is all.

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