Randy to the Yankees…mmmaybe

DMZ · December 30, 2004 at 4:54 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

So yeah, the Yankees and Diamondbacks, at it again. I don’t have anything to say about whether or not it’s a good eadl until something actually happens, but… what I thought was interesting today, reading these stories, was the weird sniping going on. Yankees president Randy Levine, quoted in the MLB.com story:

“It was disappointing,” Levine said of the three-team deal which fell through. “We thought we had an agreement, and the Dodgers reneged after they called and asked to get involved. That’s life. It moves on.”

Now, I understand that a huge amount of raw bullflop is shoveled out by front offices on all transactions. LA made a seven-year offer on Beltre, the M’s weren’t trying to trade Mike Cameron that one time, the reason for this move was x, or y, or… whatever. In many cases, as fans, we have to throw our hands up and say “There is no way, without tape recordings of phone conversations, that I’ll ever know the truth about this.”

I accept that. I also know that a huge part of the baseball rumor mill is fueled by front offices, some of which like to float rumors that another team’s shopping player x so they’ll have some pretense to call that team and say “so, what would you want for player x?” And also that many baseball rumors are entirely the creation of someone, from someone in the front office with an agenda to a reporter with a deadline and no story written.

This is unusual because it’s a nasty little shot at the Dodgers. It’s petty. Baseball’s a small, small industry: there aren’t many major league teams, and it’s in everyone’s best interests to have good relations with everyone else. Personalities get in the way, of course, and you see some teams never deal with each other, but that’s normal, and even then it’s rare for someone to be called out like this.

It means either — New York’s really so angry about LA pulling out of the deal that they’re willing to talk about it in public, or New York’s even more petty of an organization than their enemies think.

In the wake of the first three-way deal falling through, it was weird to see how crazy and scattered the fallout was, with different stories about DePodesta losing his nerve to LA nixing the deal as a favor to Vazquez. And now, there’s still open ill will towards LA over it… it’s strange.


51 Responses to “Randy to the Yankees…mmmaybe”

  1. Ray Oyler Fan Club on December 30th, 2004 5:11 pm

    bah…Yankee carping that they didn’t get their way, that’s all that is. I actually gave DePodesta points for finally realizing that the 3-way between Arizona-LA-NY was going to do absolutely nothing for his team and doing what what right for the Dodgers.

    Levine needs to back off and understand that the other clubs in MLB are more than Yankee farm clubs. He won’t, because in his little reality, the world revolves around the NY Yankees.

  2. tvwxman on December 30th, 2004 5:18 pm

    I also give DePo props for backing out of that deal. The Dodgers were definitely getting the short end of the stick in that one, and just because George snaps his fingers doesn’t mean that he can get the players he wants…at least some of the time.

    Notice if the Yankees are done dealing that 3/5 of their starting rotation is over 35 (2/5 40 or older), one of their starters (Pavano) has had exactly one good year, and the other is one year removed from a 7.35 ERA. Their offense is good enough to cream lesser pitching. But once again, they are going to have troubles in the postseason when they face better pitching.

  3. philly on December 30th, 2004 5:21 pm

    “It means either – New York’s really that angry about LA pulling out of the deal that they’re willing to twist their nose in public, or New York’s even more petty of an organization than their enemies think.”

    I know you guys hate when you get called out for being sabre-GM fanboys. It’s with good reason too as it’s completely boring all around.

    Nevertheless, maybe walking you through this innocous little example can help explain why it happens. Something very strange has happened – one MLB team publicly denigrating the FO of another team. When you think about the range of possibilites you come up with choice a) something bad about the Yankees and choice b) something bad about the Yankees.

    How can you – and the first responder here – not at least acknowledge the possibility of c) the Dodger FO actions were so far out of bounds with respect to normal SOP that they deserved to be publicly rebuked.

    I think we all know why the idea that a DePo led FO deserved to be publicly ridiculed never crossed your mind.

    It’s not a big deal at all, but jesus, just be open to the possibility that a sabre GM behaved like a horses ass, just put it out there in the range of possibilities and the self proclaimed mantle of objectivity will fit a hell of a lot better.

    Or don’t. Have a great new year.

  4. Jim Thomsen on December 30th, 2004 5:29 pm

    Equally weird is how much of the motivations behind this deal are ascribed to Randy Johnson … when, in reality, Randy hasn’t directly said much at all. One of the largest gaps of understanding in the history of humankind is between what people THINK Randy Johnson says and wants … and what he actually says. Peter Gammons, as I’ve bitched about before to Dave and Derek, is particularly egregious at this.

    There should be a song: “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Big Unit?”:

    “He’s tall as a tree
    With rickety knees
    The demeanor of a bear
    He waltzes on the way to pitch
    And whistles smoke into the air
    And underneath his cap
    He’s got Seventies mullet hair
    Big Unit’s not an asset to the Yankees!

    He’s always driving rumors
    But his angst seems to be real
    He’s always mad at everything
    Except for every deal
    I hate to have to say it
    But I very firmly feel
    Big Unit’s not an asset to the Yankees!

    I’d like to say a word on his behalf
    Mr. Snappy … makes me … laugh!

    How do you solve a problem like Big Unit?
    How do you catch his pitch and drive it downtown?
    How do you find a word that means Big Unit?
    A slidertoslingit, with a will and a whip, and a frown!

    Many a thing you’d like to tell Pete Gammons
    Many a thing Big Unit should understand
    But how do you make him stay, and take all that you’ll pay?
    How do you catch a Snake upon the sand?
    Oh, how do you solve a problem like Big Unit?
    How do you catch his pitches with two hands?

    When I watch him I’m confused
    He’s out of sorts and yet bemused
    And I never know he pitches out of jams
    Unpredictable as weather
    He’s flighty as a Heather
    He’s a throwback
    Not an Angel
    Or yet a Yank ….

    He’d out-pester any Eck
    Made beat writers mad as heck
    He could throw a whirling transaction out of whirl
    He’s controlled
    Though once wild
    He’s a riddle
    But never mild
    He’s a headache
    He’s a savior
    He’s a dude ….

  5. Dave on December 30th, 2004 5:32 pm

    Actually, we spent probably a good half hour beating up on Paul DePodesta at the feed. I’ve criticized his decision to not match the Adrian Beltre offer, to non-tender Alex Cora, and to give J.D. Drew a 5 year contract. We were openly stating that DePo was making a bad move when the three way was on the table. I’ve stated several times that DePo is having a “terrible offseason”.

    So, basically, you’re wrong. I think you might have a legitimate point if you were to level this at Joe Sheehan or Rob Neyer, but we’re not either of those, and I for one would love it if people would stop lumping us in with those guys simply because we quote VORP.

  6. DMZ on December 30th, 2004 5:34 pm

    Nevertheless, maybe walking you through this innocous little example can help explain why it happens. Something very strange has happened – one MLB team publicly denigrating the FO of another team. When you think about the range of possibilites you come up with choice a) something bad about the Yankees and choice b) something bad about the Yankees.

    Choice A wasn’t bad about the Yankees — it was “they’re angry enough about this to say something publically”

    How can you – and the first responder here – not at least acknowledge the possibility of c) the Dodger FO actions were so far out of bounds with respect to normal SOP that they deserved to be publicly rebuked.

    Again, I did — the original post (now edited to hopefully make this more clear) read “New York’s really that angry about LA pulling out of the deal that they’re willing to twist their nose in public” and then I talked about how the different stories had DePodesta making all kinds of possible decisions.

    I think we all know why the idea that a DePo led FO deserved to be publicly ridiculed never crossed your mind.

    Except that it clearly did.

    It’s not a big deal at all, but jesus, just be open to the possibility that a sabre GM behaved like a horses ass, just put it out there in the range of possibilities and the self proclaimed mantle of objectivity will fit a hell of a lot better.

    I did! I said that! I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear enough, but I did!

  7. DMZ on December 30th, 2004 5:38 pm

    Also, what Dave said.

  8. Jon on December 30th, 2004 5:44 pm

    You are right. The piling on of DePo for pulling out of the 3 way was ridiculous. I think in large part it comes from the sense of entitlement that surrounds the Yankees and their sycophants (the fans and the “media”). “How dare the Dodgers not want to help us acquire the Big Unit. We want him. So what if it doesn’t help the Dodgers. Wah wah wah.”

  9. llevrok on December 30th, 2004 5:51 pm

    As I said before – better the Yankees have this major over-the-hilll prima donna to deal with than the M’s.

  10. DoesntCompute on December 30th, 2004 5:52 pm

    I hate the Yankees so anything that ticks them off makes me happy! It still warms my heart when I think about Steinbrenner’s head exploding after losing to the Sox in the choke of all times! Now hopefully Beltran will sign with anyone but the Yanks.

    Nice article in the PI Derek!

  11. Steve on December 30th, 2004 6:09 pm

    From what I’ve read, the reason LA backed out was because Vazquez was extremely clear that he would exercise his right to be traded after one year with the Dodgers. During trade talks, the Dodgers did not realize the extent to which being on the East Coast was important to Vazquez. As soon as LA realized Vazquez wasn’t going to stay long-term, there was little reason for them to proceed with the deal. If the Dodgers had concluded the deal, they would the have been forced to trade Vazquez from a position of weakness sometime within the next year.

    Was it a major breach of etiquette for the Dodgers to have done so? Perhaps, but if it was I think the Dodgers merely redefined the rules of trade etiquette. If Team A is trying to trade a player with a multi-year contract to Team B, I can’t see Team A allowing Team B to contact the player to discuss his interest in playing for Team B prior to a deal being concluded.

    Thus, situations similar to Vazques will recur, and teams are likely to behave about as the Dodgers behaved. The main difference perhaps will be that teams might be upfront during trade talks about aborting the deal if the player intends to exercise their right to demand a trade.

    Maybe the etiquette DePo and the Dodgers missed was not including something in the trade discussions about aborting the deal if Vazquez demanded a trade?

  12. David J Corcoran on December 30th, 2004 6:26 pm

    Yankees are blowing this way out of proportion. Teams back out of trades all the time. And teams back out of trades when they are getting thoroughly screwed over all the time. The trade never got to the commissioner’s office, so it wasn’t like they backed out too late. As far as I know, no paperwork was signed, and they chose to back out. Big Freakin’ Whoop.

  13. Jim Thomsen on December 30th, 2004 6:42 pm

    Etiquette, schmettique … this is a business, not Madame Cheeseworthy’s Finishing School for Dewy-Eyed Debutantes, and trades have to make sense for all from a business perspective for ALL involved.

    Nobody signed a letter of intent on this trade. Nobody spit twice on each other’s palms before handshaking on the pact. Nobody said “it’s a done deal.” DePodesta may have made the wrong move from aq business perspective, but not from an etiquee one because ther’s no etiquette in baseball.

    And the Yankees should know as well that there’s no crying in baseball.

  14. David J Corcoran on December 30th, 2004 6:44 pm

    Amen, Thomsen.

  15. A's fan on December 30th, 2004 7:16 pm

    It should be noted that Randy Levine opens his mouth and makes a complete jackass out of himself probably 5 or 6 times per year. He’s one of the most surly, childish, and whiny people in baseball. I can’t think of a single positive attribute that he possesses.

    Also, Nick Swisher is an outstanding defender. You’ll see. 🙂

  16. zzyzx on December 30th, 2004 7:24 pm

    Maybe the Yankees could sign Griffey next and reenact the late 90s M’s

  17. John in L.A. on December 30th, 2004 7:28 pm

    I think it’s interesting that someone would assume:

    a) That DMZ’s motivations were protecting a like-minded GM. I mean, that’s quite a leap in logic.

    If you’re looking for bias is n’t the obvious one quite a bit more likely? Yankee hatred. (I’m not saying it’s there, I’m just saying that if it is, I applaud it.)

    b) That whether the Dodger’s GM deserved it is even relevant.

    I didn’t think the point was pointing fingers at the trade blow-up, it was…. wow, that is pretty bad behavior for a team president, wonder why he did that?

    It seemed perfectly clear to me.

  18. John on December 30th, 2004 8:19 pm

    Re # 4: Darn those comment guidelines.

  19. philly on December 30th, 2004 8:22 pm

    Sorry, I’m and idiot and I can’t easily quote…

    “Choice A wasn’t bad about the Yankees – it was “they’re angry enough about this to say something publically””

    You may not have intended it as such, but it is implicitly bad against the Yankees. You correctly point out that because baseball is a small insular world it is in team’s best interests to keep their true thoughts to themselves even if they are angry. That the Yankees could not keep their anger to themselves is a poor reflection on them. It just is.

    Either way, if this is the choice that implies the possibility that the Dodgers were the bad actor, then why would it be written with the Yankees as the active agent? It’s a subtle thing – and I said myslef a meaningless/innocous thing – but it’s there.

    One may or may not think it meaningful at all – and the explanation that it was just quick, confusing writing is perferctly reasonable – but this is how and why things get read into what you write.

    I don’t think I was being accusatory or anything like, just pointing out why it happens.

  20. John on December 30th, 2004 8:59 pm

    Re # 10 – the head explosion: I must have missed it. Don’t need it anyway. Still have the photo of Steinbrenner being driven away from the Kingdome, after the ’95 choke. That should last a while longer.

  21. David J Corcoran on December 30th, 2004 9:11 pm

    Re 16:

    Then trade the Yankee bullpen for the Pittsburgh bullpen, re-sign Jeff Nelson, and pull Bobby Ayala out of retirement and you have got the same freakin’ team, pretty much.

  22. Matt Williams on December 30th, 2004 9:42 pm

    And now, proving that the M’s aren’t the only ones who like to bring back fan-friendly players with a history on the team…reports are in that Tino Martinez is about to go back to the Yankees for “up to” $3 mil next year.

    I think we should all be thankful the M’s recognized that the key to their improvement was to get much younger, while the Yankees seem to be stuck in the “buy old players, giving away the farm system if you have to” mentality.

  23. David J Corcoran on December 30th, 2004 9:50 pm

    The Yankees have a farm system?

    I didn’t know that.

    Nah, The Yankees=seriously overrated. They have over 100 million locked up in Dead Weight. Eventually $teinbrenner will run out of money.

  24. chris d on December 30th, 2004 9:52 pm

    I am sick and tired of this Yankee greed and power. Steinbrenner only cares about his ego and having the most powerful team. He has absolutely no concern for the integrity of the game. If I lived in NY I would not stoop to following a team that just goes out and buys the best players. And I can’t see the draw for a player to want to play for them unless they just want to win and they don’t care how they do it;namely, Arod, R Johnson,Jeter,and all the others. I think this says alot about the players and why steroid users would want to go there.I wish Boone and Bonds would become Yankees as well. After Beltran signs with them, I think they will have all the available stars

    And the arrogance of the Yankees to come down on Depodesto because he did not want to help them get RJ. Disgusssssssssssssting!!!!!

  25. Idahobob on December 30th, 2004 10:10 pm

    As much as I detest the Yankees and the mentality that surrounds and drives them, I believe the only real response is for the ownership and management of the rest of the League’s teams to do what the sabremats and rationalists here and elsewhere have been advocating for some time now: build teams carefully and patiently to be as good as they possibly can be with respect to the money spent. The Yankees do not do this, contrary to what many sportswriters claim.

    The only thing sweeter than watching the gluttonous buffoonery of the Yankees and thier media whores faltering yet again would be to see the M’s glide past. If not now, the future. Go M’s.

  26. Digger on December 30th, 2004 11:05 pm

    All 3 organizations involved in this have proven to be bozos this winter. LA botched the free agent business so bad that they had to make that sad (5 years!) deal with Drew; the Snakes are over-spending money they don’t have on questionable players (Glaus where he can’t be used as DH!); and the Yankees are out of the trading business for a few years with no prospects left–just so that they could get their 2nd 40 year old pitcher (it must be good because Boston has 3!). Wow.

  27. chris d on December 30th, 2004 11:32 pm

    Signing R Johnson to a 3yr contract is not as idiotic as Pedro for 4/$50m, but it is in the ballpark.And Yankees are not going to be able to void Giambi’s contract and now are taking on Tino for $3M.It is going to be enjoyable to watch Yankees lose Giambi, probably Sheffield,maybe aging pitchers to the DL andf then have no one to trade to fill spots.

  28. clarence credence on December 31st, 2004 12:27 am

    Randy’s going to make some money for the Yankees, too, in merchandising and at the gate. He’s a better investment than Javier Vasquez or Pedro, especially for 2005, and it’s clear Steinbrenner wants to win in 2005 and wants to keep up with the Bosox. It’s about image and hubris as much as winning. But hell, I wish the M’s would have depleted their farm system a bit more in pursuing a championship from 2000-2003, because a World Series would forgive a few rebuilding years quite easily.

  29. Noel on December 31st, 2004 1:03 am

    Interesting storyline – Randy Johnson v the M’s. 🙂 You just know the Yanks will try to pitch him against the M’s in every series the two teams play against each other.

    When are the M’s and the Yanks scheduled to meet? – has the schedule been finalized?

  30. Colm on December 31st, 2004 1:15 am

    Anyone want to quote the PECOTA on Randy for next year?

  31. Jeff Sullivan on December 31st, 2004 1:49 am

    Any PECOTA forecast for Randy Johnson will be essentially meaningless, given the dearth of appropriate comps. It’s impossible to project future performance when you’re dealing with freaks.

  32. Evan on December 31st, 2004 10:38 am

    This kind of blows. I actually like Randy Johnson. I enjoy watching him rack up huge K totals. I loved his perfect game. I’d like to see Roger Clemens come back to pitch one more year just so Randy can pass him in career Ks while he’s still active.

    But I can’t support the guy if he’s a Yankee. Hell, I used to like A-Rod, but then he became a Yankee (and a slap-happy Yankee, at that).

    I take solace in Ichiro’s career numbers against the Unit.

  33. Jeff in Fremont on December 31st, 2004 10:52 am

    Thought this article was good for a laugh:


  34. The Ancient Mariner on December 31st, 2004 11:02 am

    Philly–it isn’t “implicitly bad against the Yankees”–that would be, precisely, Derek’s option b). Rather, if the Yanks are that angry and it isn’t because they’re just that petty, that would be precisely for the reason you thought was option c): that the Dodgers were that far out of line that Levine could express NY’s anger over their actions and know that the rest of baseball would see that as a well-deserved rebuke. After all, if the Dodgers truly broke SOP to any significant degree, then they did have Levine’s comments coming, and making them would be no poor reflection on the Yankees (except, perhaps, by the standards of the Sermon on the Mount, but those aren’t the standards by which MLB operates).

  35. Xteve X on December 31st, 2004 11:29 am

    I think #13 says it all. Yankees = whiners. Like they’ve never pulled out of a deal before? I doubt the other team had to air their grievances in the papers, though. I think the org is just setting up a ready made excuse for their foam-at-the-mouth fanbase when their aging, overpaid, overrated roster falls flat on its collective keister next year. It’s hilarious to see what the Game 7 choke job has done to the character of that organization. They’re going to stop at nothing to place blame for their own failures somewhere else.

  36. Jim Thomsen on December 31st, 2004 11:54 am

    From a Nov. 28, 2001 Associated Press story:

    “George Steinbrenner lavished praise on Jason Giambi, making it sound like the free-agent first baseman would be a perfect fit for the New York Yankees.

    “He seems like our kind of ballplayer,” the Yankees owner said yesterday after a meeting of owners at O’Hare International Airport.

    Steinbrenner said it was necessary for his team to upgrade at first base from what team officials have privately referred to as the offensive shortcomings of Tino Martinez.

    “Tino is a fine player and a fine person,” Steinbrenner said, “but it’s time to move on and make ourselves better.”

  37. misterjonez on December 31st, 2004 11:56 am

    #35 – I’ve thought the same thing, about the Yankers not accepting blame for anything that happens. It’s never “We,” as an organization when they’re failing…only when they succeed. It’s always “Well, he (the player who led to the perceived blowup) had a rough night..oh, but we’re still behind him!” They’re juvenile in the worst way, and really THAT’S what bugs people about the Yankers. Look at the Braves…how many consecutive titles in their division?!? You don’t hear Braves hatred out there (pleeeeeeeeeease don’t everyone mention how they only won one WS in that period, I’ll save you the trouble), even though Atlanta’s success is unquestionable. It’s the mentality of the Y-Tankers and all of their fans…it’s like a bunch of four-year-old kids who just start screaming at the top of their lungs when something doesn’t go their way…as if that will help anything.

    They are the most storied franchise in the history of American sports, but they’re being defiled in the worst possible way…people can understand a downswing..a “rebuilding” period, if you will. But they can’t accept being on top of the world a crying about the fact that nothing goes your way. Yanker hatred is well-deserved, and should be touted every single opportunity presented. If you can’t live with that, I suggest you go to a Yanker web-site…only the analytical fans will question their own organization, and my experience has been pretty poor when interacting with NYY fans.

  38. Matt Staples on December 31st, 2004 12:48 pm

    Jim: I’m surprised more people haven’t explored the irony that inheres in what you posted — how incredible would it be for Tino, at this stage of his career, to be playing 1B for the Yankees in ’05 and for Giambi to be riding the pine?

  39. Jim Thomsen on December 31st, 2004 12:57 pm

    And I didn’t even put in the part about how Steinbrenner “made clear that Nick Johnson is the Yankees’ first baseman of the future” ….

  40. tvwxman on December 31st, 2004 1:41 pm

    We also have to remember that George will be 75 this year, and is probably trying to desperately win a few more world series before he is forced to hang it up. He doesn’t care about the 2007 season or the future of baseball, since he won’t be around in an ownership capacity to see it.

  41. McFly on December 31st, 2004 1:43 pm

    Are the Yankees going trade for Mike Blowers as the post-game show commentator?

  42. McFly on December 31st, 2004 2:35 pm

    Man, the 95 Ms are well represented. Is Luis Sojo is still the Yankee’s bench coach?

  43. Noel on December 31st, 2004 3:09 pm

    I think when George $teinbrenner finally kicks it, he will be found with a telephone in each hand, having been trying to swing one last three-way deal.

    As tvwxman said, George is desperate. To someone with effectively unlimited funds, “value” has no meaning.

    And on a happier note, Happy New Year to all! Have fun, take it easy.

  44. Colm on December 31st, 2004 3:49 pm

    Man it’s easy to loath the Yankees. I loathe them even more (and much more easily) than I loathe Manchester United.

    And I loathe Manchester Utd.

  45. Jim Thomsen on December 31st, 2004 3:51 pm

    I look forward to a Yankee management blog: “Levine’s Lachrymose Lamentations” ….

  46. zzyzx on December 31st, 2004 4:37 pm

    #35 you should read forums.nyyfans.com. It’s actually a really good forum, but Yankee fan priviledge sneaks in every now and then (e.g. wishing for any player who gets any hit against the Yankees to be beaned for their nerve). It’s fascinating to see how they react to events.

  47. AK1984 on December 31st, 2004 5:05 pm

    RE: #41
    We can throw in Buhner, too, and let him be N.Y’s. color commentator.

  48. greenlaw9 on December 31st, 2004 7:47 pm

    Just to kinda echo what’s been said already, it is kinda creepy how the Yanks are shaping up to look weirdly like how the ’95 M’s might have evolved over time.

    Well, that is if Paul Allen had bought the team.

    And then progressed rapidly into a sever form of dimentia.

    But, nonetheless, is it hard to remember how many times Steinbrenner pined publically after Jr.? You just know that if Grif had anywhere near decent stats that he’d be wearing the pintripes too (although I’m sure that A-ROD has something in his newly modified contract saying that something like that could never happen).

    Seriously though, it is interesting and I’ll be curious to see if any of the major news outlets point that out. Especially with Tino.

    But, as a last little side note, I don’t think it’s fair at all to rip on Jeter, Rivera, or Williams, since it is those players who have brought what little – if any – class to the Yankeess that they may have.

  49. greenlaw9 on December 31st, 2004 7:56 pm

    yeah, i kinda need spellcheck don’t i? (or maybe an edit comment feature?) anyway, sorry about that.

  50. msb on January 3rd, 2005 10:48 am

    #15– Levine never seems to actually think before he spouts. One of my all-time favorite Levine quotes was after the Sox-Yankees bullpen fight: “A security incident like this would never be tolerated at Yankee Stadium,” president Randy Levine told The Associated Press. “Unfortunately, there was an atmosphere of lawlessness that was allowed to be perpetrated all day long. The events of the entire day were disgraceful and shameful, and if it happened at our ballpark, we would apologize, and that’s what the
    Red Sox should do here.”