Updates on Josh Johnson and Felix Hernandez

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According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins plan to meet with Josh Johnson’s agent Matt Sosnick about a new contract this week.
Johnson is arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter, and
figures to see his salary jump to around $4.2 million in 2010.
According to Frisaro, Sosnick will listen to offers on a contract
extension if the Marlins were to guarantee four years. The two sides
reached an impasse in November when Florida was only willing to give three.

Johnson, who turns 26 later this month, was 15-5 with a 3.23 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 191/58 K/BB ratio in 33 starts with the Marlins last season.

Speaking of young aces, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that
talks between the Mariners and the agent for Felix Hernandez are
“getting serious” and there’s optimism that a long-term deal can get done this offseason.

Anthems, first pitches and other ceremonial stuff

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The World Series is not just about the baseball. It’s about the bigger-than-usual stars singing the National Anthem, the more-famous-than-usual people throwing out the first pitch and all of the assorted to-do which surrounds the ballgames. Here is that sort of stuff for Game 1 and Game 2 in Boston.

First pitches:

  • Carl Yastrzemski will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for Game 1. Yastrzemski also threw out the first pitch of Game 1 in 2004, 2007 and 2013. The Red Sox won each of those games and each of those World Series so, yeah, go with what works, right?
  • Members of the 2004 World Series Champions will throw the ceremonial first pitch of Game 2. It doesn’t say which members, so maybe my dream of Manny Ramirez doing it will work out after all. Hey, he played for the Dodgers too, so let’s make this happen, OK?

National Anthems:

  • Singer-songwriter James Taylor will perform the National Anthem prior to the start of Game 1. This morning Peter Gammons tweeted that Taylor’s family helped build Fenway Park. Let’s file that under “interesting, but not so interesting that it’s really worth tracking down to confirm, so why not believe it?” Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.
  • For Game 2 the National Anthem will be performed by the Boston Pops, with the Tanglewood Chorus and the Boston Symphony Children’s Chorus doing the singing. The Boston Pops are conducted by Keith Lockhart, who was a career .287/.354/.425 hitter in 37 postseason games with the Atlanta Braves. I mean, at least I’m pretty sure it’s the same Keith Lockhart. Again: not interesting enough to check so, like Gammons’ thing about James Taylor, let’s assume I’m right about this.

Play ball.