In a radio interview on the Jeff Blair Show, Josh Johnson‘s agent Matt Sosnick speculated that the Jays may not be done dealing quite yet as the market for a pitcher like his client could be such that Alex Anthopoulos can’t resist flipping him for top prospects to a team like the Yankees or Texas. Sosnick felt there was a missing element to the trade because the Jays were uncharacteristically ballooning the payroll by ~$30M for 2013 alone basically overnight. If given the opportunity to shed some of that payroll while acquiring young, controllable and talented prospects, Sosnick might be right that Anthopoulos would hedge his bets.
However, considering the years and salary remaining, the Jays would likely prefer to flip the aging Mark Buehrle to a contender for prospects and use the savings towards an extension for Johnson or a pitcher from the current free agent class who is younger or has higher upside. There are legitimate concerns about whether Buehrle’s loss of velocity was masked in 2012 by his move to the NL and an extreme pitcher’s park. It’s unclear whether his stuff will play in the AL East where his 85 mph average fastball could wind up in the seats with the bandboxes in New York and Boston. At $16M AAV salary, Buehrle must produce more than 3 WAR a season to provide fair value (assuming $5M per WAR) which he just reached in Miami in 2012. With the expectation of a .5 WAR decline as he exits his prime, there is a chance his contract could be a real pain in the Blue Jays’ side by the time it ends after the 2015 season.