Mar 14, 2013; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Josh Johnson (55) throws against the New York Yankees during the top of the first inning of a spring training game at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

MLB rumors: Pittsburgh Pirates among finalists for Josh Johnson

Late Monday evening, it was reported that Josh Johnson indicated, through his agent, that the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres were his top two choices in free agency.

The starting pitcher wants to pitch close to his home in Las Vegas, but his salary demands may be pushing teams away.

San Francisco’s need for Johnson became less when they signed veteran starter Tim Hudson and the Padres may feel Johnson’s struggles may be too risky considering his expected cost.

Now enter the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are among the three or four finalists for Johnson’s services:

Pirates are finalists for the services of free agent RHP Josh Johnson, according to his agent. Agent says he’s considering “3 or 4″ teams

Pittsburgh obviously isn’t close to Las Vegas and Johnson’s home, but the Pirates are among the elite in the National League and could be willing to pay Johnson’s salary demand, especially if A.J. Burnett opts for retirement.

The Pirates, under pitching coach Rick Sofield have turned around a handful of starters, including the aforementioned Burnett and Francisco Liriano. Johnson could potentially be next on that list.

Tags: Josh Johnson Pittsburgh Pirates

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