When Adam Boedeker wrote about the possibility of a trade for Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson on Tuesday, he pegged the probability of such a deal as six on a scale of 1-10.
You can probably jack that number up a bit in light of what went down late on Tuesday night. If you went to bed after the Red Sox edged the Rangers 2-1, you missed two moves that will have great bearing on the Rangers' trade deadline decisions.
The first was the news that Cole Hamels has signed a six-year contract extension to remain in Philadelphia. That means that Hamels will be cashing checks for a team that's been out of the race for quite a while instead of impacting the battle for the AL West crown.
A short time later, word broke that the Marlins dealt Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers, continuing a fire sale that looks a lot like the kind of thing that the Marlins were supposed to be done with thanks to their new stadium and expanded payroll. That story is one that every municipality or state asked to kick in money to help the super rich build a new playground should keep close to heart because, as always, profits matter much more to winning to most sports owners.
That message isn't one for the Rangers to take to heart, however. The message for them is that the Marlins are open for business and that Johnson, who stands to make almost $19 million through the end of next season, is the likeliest player to be sent packing next.
There doesn't look like a much better fit for his services than the Rangers. Mike Olt would be exactly the kind of cheap, everyday player that the Marlins would want to get in return for Johnson and the Rangers look like they're going to need someone to solidify the front of their rotation after all of the injuries to the pitching staff. Losing Olt would hurt, but the Rangers don't really have a place for him and the point of any prospect is to help the big league club win games.
Despite a long injury history and some slightly disappointing results this season, Johnson's a lot likelier to do that in a Rangers uniform than Olt is while racking up impressive numbers in the minor leagues. That doesn't make this thing a done deal, but the pieces of the puzzle are all falling into place.