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What's the catch?

Marlins' Johnson postpones decision on free agency

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Posted: Monday November 19, 2001 5:46 PM
 

MIAMI (AP) -- All-Star catcher Charles Johnson and the Florida Marlins agreed Monday to put off until Dec. 3 the deadline for him to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract.

Johnson, who filed provisionally for free agency on the final day of the filing period, has completed the first year of a five-year, $35 million contract. He had the option to opt out because the Marlins failed to complete a deal for a new ballpark.

Marlins owner John Henry said he could only afford to field a competitive team if he had a new ballpark. But Henry failed to win approval from the state Legislature.

Johnson, 30, is a native of nearby Fort Pierce where his family still lives. He played at the University of Miami, was the first draft pick in Marlins history in 1992 and helped them win the World Series five years later.

But Johnson became part of the team's payroll purge in May 1998 when he was shipped to Los Angeles in a seven-player trade that included Gary Sheffield and Mike Piazza.

He returned to Florida last season and hit .259 with 18 home runs and 75 RBIs.

Johnson could command a more lucrative salary on the free agent market. The Gold Glove catcher batted .304 with 31 home runs and 91 RBIs in 2000 while playing for the Orioles and White Sox.


 
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