Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Big Unit...More Like Big Pooh-nit

Oh yeah...I went there.

Is Randy Johnson seriously considering leaving the NY Yankees to go back to Arizona? I know he lives in Arizona, but does he does he want to end his career by having people think that he wanted out of NY and the AL because he couldn't hack it anymore? That seems a bit strange.

He certainly hasn't made the transition very well, but I would think that he wouldn't take the first opportunity to get out, unless he feels that he doesn't have a chance to win there (which would mean that he must think there are flaws with the team).

Overall, I can see the Yankees wanting to trade him...But why would Arizona really want him back? Is he going to help them win a championship? The D-Backs, apparently, are willing to give up minor leaguers for him. You'd have to think that the Yankees would want quality minor leaguers, if that is all they were getting in return. Why would the D-Backs give up quality minor leaguers to get Randy Johnson back? Because they can't get Schilling? Seriously, this seems to be a very backwards move for Arizona, and one that I can't get my head around. Let's not forget the fact that RJ had back surgery this offseason. If he's not healed from that two things result...First, he isn't ready to open the season. Second, he can't throw his slider. Without the slider, he is very hittable.

Part of me doesn't believe any of the reports out there. Why? Because the Yankees would be looking to unload Randy Johnson to go out and get Clemens. Is that an upgrade? Absolutely. But how do they know they could get Clemens for sure? That's a pretty big gamble. If they don't get Clemens, and give up Johnson, their rotation is now:

??? (probably one of the kids)

That rotation kind of sucks. I don't see the Yankees making this move unless they have a guarantee from Clemens...And we all know how that goes...he wouldn't guarantee anything this early. Of course, throw Clemens into that rotation, and the Yankees are in pretty good shape with pitching. Sort of...


  1. Yeah, I am a bit surprised about all this talk about moving the Unit. Yeah, sure he has struggled and has not been what they anticipated, but there is only one year left on his contract. And as we saw last year, dealing “excess” pitching can come back to haunt you.

    With him coming off the surgery, it is a risk, but even though he has struggled, he has been serviceable. He pitched 200 innings and Won 17 games. Sure the ERA was 5.00, but then again so was Becketts. In fact their numbers were eerily similar. Of course with Becket being only 26 and this being his first year in the AL, etc., etc, he should get better. Then again, were his career highs in starts, IP, wins an aberration. Or were the HRs allowed the aberration.

    And I would not say the Yankee rotation sucks.

    The way I see things, they look like this

    Team A

    26 year old starter coming off 16 win season, but also career high in HRs, ERA, WHIP and career low in K/9.
    40 year old pitcher coming off solid 15 win season.
    40 year old pitcher who has averged 11 wins per season coming off injury plagued season
    Japanese dude who has never pitched an inning in MLB.
    25 year old starting pitcher coming off shoulder injury with 3 wins as a starting pitcher and 100 IP in the majors (all in last two years)

    Team B

    26 year old starter coming off 19 win season,
    37 year old pitcher coming off solid 15 win season.
    34 year old pitcher who has averaged 15 wins per season in his career, season with injuries
    Japanese dude who has never pitched an inning in MLB
    30 year old starting pitcher coming off multiple injuries with 4 wins as a starting pitcher and 100 in the last two years

    Plus both teams have some young guys who may or may not be able to step in and fill some holes. Of course our JPY guy is supposed to be much better than theirs, but you never know.

    Why does AZ want the Unit? I’m guessing they want the IP and think he would improve in the NL – the west has some good pitchers parks and with Webb and Batista, they would spare the bullpen in eating lots of innings. Plus the NL West is very weak. But still it is a curious move.

  2. I don't think Pettitte is a solid 34 year old...He's been injured. Lost 13 along with those 14 wins. Had an ERA over 4...Those are Bronson Arroyo numbers, not a front of the rotation guy. More like a number 4 or 5.

    Pavano had one good year in his career. Other than that, he's not good. He has a losing life time record, and has pitched 100 innings over the last two years combined.

    The Japanese dude is touted as a 4 or 5, not a top of the rotation type.

    Mussina, numbers-wise had a bounce back year last year. He's good, but he's not the Mussina he used to be. He's their number 2.

    Wang is their top of the rotation guy. Two years ago his arm fell off. He's really good, no doubt about that, though.

    I wasn't comparing the rotation to the Sox. But if I did...

    The Sox don't have a starter that will match what Wang did last year. Not outright anyway. But will he?

    So Wang v Diasuke...Yankees edge
    Schill v Pettitte...Red Sox edge
    Mussina v Beckett...I'll give this to the Yankees, but I've got to think Beckett vastly improves on those HRs this year which would make this a wash.
    Wake v Japanese Dude...Have to go with Wake here.
    Papelbon v Pavano...People keep saying, "Does Papelbon have what it takes to start?" Well, he looked pretty good as a starter when he first came up. I give this one to the Sox.

    The big edge comes on paper. Projections for Papelbon and Diasuke are much higher than other Japanese guy and Pavano. But paper doesn't mean much.

    Let's not forget that Lester might be back, as well. So all this might change.

    I happen to think that the Sox have set themselves up with lots of potential upside in the rotation. I am not sure how it pans out this year. Frankly, I don't think this Sox team will win the division. But they have lots of young power arms that might need some time...

    Future rotation
    Longo (just to throw in a change of pace...not everything has to throw the heat).

  3. I guess the real point of my post was that both rotations really could go either way. Pretty much every pitcher (except maybe Mussina and to a lesser extent Wake) there is a very wide range of the possibilities for their seasons. And going through each matchup handing out advantages, you could make a counter point to each.

    Dice is supposedly the best in the World and Wnag does not strike people out.
    Schill vs. Pettite – Petitte has had some nagging injuries, but has only really missed serious time in one season – those win totals are impressive
    Wak vs. JPY dud – hopefully like most knuclers Wake will age well, but who knows after last year – a stress fracture of his back?
    Muussina – Beckett – who know, Beckett could win 20 if he takes a step forward.
    Papelbon – Pavano – Lord I hope Papelbon is better. He was lights out last year, but can he stretch it out to 180 innings. As a starter (all 3 of them), he never made it out of the 6th inning. Will he and his shoulder hold up?

    And for all our young arms, the Yanks have some allegedly good ones as well – including Philip Hughes who will be rated in the top 5 (if not number 1) in all prospects rankings. They also have tha Sanchez dude as well as a fewer other (Tyler Clippard to name one other top prospect).

    So in summary. Who the f&^* knows.

  4. What pisses me off is that the Yankees farm system will improve even more if they pull of this Unit trade. (I agree with you two - I really don't see what Arizona is thinking with this. So far Josh Byrnes has been quite unimpressive.) What happened to the good old days, where the Yankees went out and paid top dollar for the number 1 free agent? If that era is over, it's very sad, and the Yanks WS "drought" might not last much longer.

  5. I know, why couldn't the Yankees have signed Gil Meche?

    While I agree that the acquisition of Johnson is strange for the D-backs, I have to disagree a bit that Byrnes has been unimpressive. He has only been in the role for a year, but he has made a couple of good deals.

    He got the Mets to take Green so his prospects could play (they have some real good talent in the system - although most of it was there when he got there).

    He locked up Webb for four years at a reasonable price.

    He dumped Glaus (and his contract) and made room for Chad Tracy and picked up Orlando Hudson and Batista in return. A very good trade.

    He traded Brad halsey (a middle reliever) for a serviceable 5th starter/swingman (Juan Cruz).

    His El-Dookie dealings this year were odd, but did not do anything to really hurt them - he even got a closer in return when he traded him away. Although in the long run keeping Vazquez may have been the best move. But they did get their potential CF (Chris Young) in the deal.

    And dealing for Livan, while desparate, did not cost much, and the division is so weak, they did have a chance.

    He made another pretty decent trade for Doug Davis, giving them a solid 1-2 with Webb (and a not bad 1-2-3 IF the Unit is healthy). Estrada was not easy to part with, but they have Montero to step in. Plus he got Estrada to start with last year from the Braves for two mid level prospects.

    Eric Byrnes was a good cheap signing.

    And probably most importantly, we did not see AZ in the headlines for FA signings which will handcuff them for years (then again they are already handcuffed from the deals they made years ago, but that is no Byrnes' doing). They have some great prospects and it will be up to Byrnes and melvin to bring along Chad Tracy, Stephen Drew, Connor Jackson, Carlos Quentin, and Miguel Montero along. And when needs arise, go out and fill them.

    Given their limited resources I actually think he has done a good job.

  6. Good post there, X. But that, again, calls into questions the RJ thing. Would he or could he be better in the NL? Well, I wouldn't say that he lost his stuff as much as the ability to be healthy enough (back) to have an effective slider.

    The D-Backs are full of young talent and having some decent arms for a few years, you'd think they would look to find a better alternative.

    I also agree that things could go either way in comparisons.

    Overall, I don't think the Sox have that great a team this year. There are lots of questions. The lineup will still be weak near the bottom (which killed them last year). Seriously:


    That's really nice, especially if Lugo and Youk just focus on getting on base. But it is downhill from there...


    What can one realistically expect from them? If Drew leads off a bunch of innings, he'll have a ton of walks...I am especially torn about Pedroia. He showed pretty much nothing in his time up last year. I know it was short, but he certainly didn't explode on to the scene.

    The pen looks stronger, but who knows?


    and thier newest addition Joel Pineiro...Of course, there's Delcarmen and Hansen. Delcarmen should stay, Hansen should start the year in the minors and develop.

  7. Yeah, the Glaus trade and the signing of Webb were great moves. But the rest is basically small potatoes. The NL West got a lot stronger this offseason, whereas the DBacks did almost nothing. One could argue they they have a long-term plan involving young guys from their farm system, and relatively cheap veterans, but the RJ trade seems to completely contradict that idea.