There's a fire! sale! going on at the Miami Marlins' new aquarium-slash-ballpark, and it's already sent Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers at a bargain price; the next distressed property on the block is Josh Johnson, the Marlins' injury-prone ace. Johnson's strikeout rate is down from its highs this year, and nobody's ever going to trust his arm again, but at the prices the Marlins are asking they should have no trouble getting him out the door now that Zack Greinke's gone. So: Should the Cardinals go after him?
Well, if he's as cheap as Ramirez was, yes. Even in his diminished state he's been a solidly average starter who's pitching much better than that, and he's got one year and $14 million left on his contract, which the Cardinals would have no trouble footing once Lance Berkman and Kyle Lohse's deals were off the books. He immediately improves the rotation and gives Joe Kelly the chance to excel as baseball's first set-up man/pinch runner/sixth outfielder.
The Cardinals aren't a rich team, but their outstanding farm system and their devoted fanbase gives them the chance to take on contracts, on occasion, like rich teams do. If Johnson's available, this would be a good chance for the Cardinals to flex some of their post-Pujols payroll flexibility.