If you're looking for the worst-case scenario for a team and its young ace - think Felix Hernandez - look no further than the Florida Marlins and Josh Johnson.
Johnson is 25, has a 34-16 record as a Marlin and, since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2007, has a record of 22-6 with an ERA of 3.34.
He's also got two years of arbitration eligibility before free agency. Sound familiar?
The Marlins and Johnson's agent, Matt Sosnick, were seeking a four-year contract and told Florida it was 'now or never.'
The Marlins offered three years - the first multi-year offer they'd ever made to a pitcher. Sosnick said they were done talking. As usual, the player involved was left a little stunned.
"I don't know if things are totally done, hopefully not. But it is one of those business things in baseball that you kinda don't want to have to go through," Johnson said.
Obviously, contract talks could re-start, though the Marlins and team president Larry Beinfest - a former Marners exec - rarely bow to pressure from agents.
It's a scenario that could play out on the sportspages and blogs here, too. For a more thorough telling of this tale, check out Clark Spencer's story.
- Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 draft pick in the country and a $15.1 million bonus baby, won't need surgery after dislocating his left knee cap during an Arizona Fall League workout.
What he will need is weeks of rest and physical therapy. The Washington Nationals front office? They'll just need therapy.
- National treasure Joe Posnanski hands out his Least Valuable Player awards, and while he doesn't win, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt gets his due.
- One of the second-tier free agents sabermatricians have always loved, first baseman Nick Johnson, is on the radar of the San Francisco Giants.
Small wonder. His on base percentage was .426 in 2009.