Randy Johnson: Yes, Please

Dave · December 27, 2006 at 7:42 am · Filed Under Mariners 

If you haven’t heard, Randy Johnson is not only available, but is apparently looking to move back to the west coast, closer to his family, and presumably would prefer a team that spends spring training in his home state.

An above average left-handed starter? Check.
Short term commitment? Check.
Geographic nature of area appealilng? Check.
Big name acquisition to potentially excite fan base? Check.
Hall of Fame pitcher with a chance to end a great career where it began to flourish? Check.

Randy Johnson isn’t the same guy who we remember being the most dominating pitcher of the mid-90s, the guaranteed win who made you want to go to the Kingdome on an 80 degree day and cheer for a dude with a mullet. But he’s still one of the better pitchers in the American League. Really.

Among AL pitchers in 2006, Randy Johnson ranked 11th in strikeout rate and 18th in Fielding Independant ERA. His 4.32 FIP put him in the same category as guys like Ervin Santana and Vicente Padilla and ahead of Freddy Garcia, Jon Garland, and Justin Verlander. His ERA of 5.00 wasn’t nearly as impressive, but if you look at his line, there’s one number that stands out:

205 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 7.5 K/9, 1.2 HR/9, 61.8% LOB%

Nobody in the American League stranded less baserunners than Randy Johnson. His LOB% of 61.8% is off the charts. Joel Pineiro, for all his horribleness, stranded 63.8% of baserunners. You can generally calculate a player’s LOB% fairly well by using his BB, K, and HR rates, which you could call expected left on base rate. Randy Johnson’s xLOB% was 72%, and the difference between his expected strand rate and his actual strand rate was higher than any pitcher in baseball.

You can think this proves some kind of lack of skill if you want, but it’s not – it’s mostly random variation, and I’d gladly put $100 on a bet that Randy Johnson won’t post the lowest LOB% in the American League in 2007.

The same effect that artificially deflated Jarrod Washburn’s ERA in 2005 pushed Randy Johnson’s ERA higher in 2006. Johnson isn’t an an all-star anymore, but he’s still a very effective starting pitcher, better than any of these clowns who are getting long term, big money deals as free agents this winter.

If the Mariners are serious about adding another starting pitcher to their rotation, Randy Johnson is the obvious choice.

Comments

139 Responses to “Randy Johnson: Yes, Please”

  1. M zen on December 27th, 2006 7:48 am

    Utter disdain for Howard Lincoln and the M’s organization? Check.

    He’d be great back in Seattle for all of the reasons you mention, but doesn’t he have a no-trade clause and a hatred of the M’s FO?

  2. Christopher Michael on December 27th, 2006 7:49 am

    What do the Mariners give up? We know they don’t want to add 16 million to their payroll. So who do they give up for the Yankees to take some of the salary? With the way this winter is going I don’t trust them to make the right trade.

  3. terry on December 27th, 2006 7:49 am

    alright i’ll bite…..so now how does Bavasi get it done?

  4. natebracy on December 27th, 2006 7:56 am

    That would be great, I think, but don’t we run into a problem when the majority, or at least a large plurality of fans expect him to be the same (or better) that he was? When he shows himself not to be the ace they remember, won’t there be a loss of love, and its ugly repercussions? Also, there are a few fans who believe Randy gave up on the team prior to his trade, and it’s questionable whether they give him a warm welcome. Lastly, do you think this signing is possible given the bad feelings between Johnson and the M’s front office?

  5. Mustard on December 27th, 2006 7:57 am

    Ahhh, seeing the big Greasy Unit back in Seattle would be great.
    No facial hair restrictions here. Growing that mullet back would probably bring out an extra 5000 fans per appearance, no? haha

    I just have that sick feeling that the Yankees would rip us off though as the “crack team” of front office staff would give away too much for an aging Randy.

  6. PositivePaul on December 27th, 2006 7:57 am

    1) It’s more Chuck Armstrong, actually.
    2) Richie. Sexson. Probably plus a little more.
    3) He casts the cloak of invisibility upon the M’s higher-ups, and replaces them with the banker from Deal or No Deal. RJ takes the bait, as does Cashman, and the deal is consummated…

    There. All the world’s problems are solved.

  7. msb on December 27th, 2006 8:04 am

    well, as Jon Heyman put it today, Randy did recover from his NY-itis to “win a respectable 17 games” last year. now, I haven’t looked (heck, I haven’t even had coffee) to see how many of those came from the offense playing behind him….

  8. Dave on December 27th, 2006 8:18 am

    A Sexson for Johnson trade would make heart go a flutter. Dumping a terrible contract given to a mediocre player at a position of surplus, and in return, getting a better player on a shorter commitment at a position of need?

    Brian Cashman is way too smart to make that trade.

  9. mark s. on December 27th, 2006 8:23 am

    RJ would also push up the avg. age on the team. The trades have all shown a liking for old guys past their prime.
    Honestly, maybe Johnson could help Felix out some too, like a player-coach thing.

    Plus, it would give the marketing guys a connection to 1995! yoohoo!

  10. Spanky on December 27th, 2006 8:27 am

    I’m all for it. However, while the Yanks would be willing to dump salary and excess bagage to another team, after seeing the M’s front office at work this summer, Cashman would feel he could royally screw the Mariners for top talent in exchange. I mean, if the Braves could get Soriano for Ramirez, what could he get for Randy Johnson? Speaking of Soriano…don’t you think Cashman would have loved to get him? Check out this quote from the Northjersey.com website:

    The right-handed Linebrink could be more attractive to the Yankees than a package of good, though unproven, young Diamondbacks pitchers. The Yanks have a need for another left-handed reliever, and Seattle’s George Sherrill has gotten their attention.

    If the M’s give up Sherrill, doesn’t that complete the obliteration of a strong pen last year? Except for Putz, who you know Hargrove will call upon to pitch two innings in ANY close game thus guaranteeing him 100+ innings and a short carreer!

    I’ve got a bad feeling about this!!!

  11. msb on December 27th, 2006 8:27 am

    sadly, though, if RJ has a say in the matter, playing in the southwest and in the NL as a bonus is going to be much more of a lure….

  12. stoyboy on December 27th, 2006 8:30 am

    The Mariner’s, if interested, need to trade Sexson’s contract to the Yanks for Johnson. Nothing else makes sense when taking on 16M. The Yanks need a 1B that can slug. We would probably have to throw in Sherrill or Woods as well(or some BP pitcher).

  13. Spanky on December 27th, 2006 8:31 am

    Honestly, maybe Johnson could help Felix out some too, like a player-coach thing.

    Randy has NEVER had the personality nor social skills to mentor ANY young player!

  14. Tek Jansen on December 27th, 2006 8:31 am

    Bavasi may indeed try, but if Unit wants to play closer to his home and in the NL, there is not much he can do.

  15. jaysbaseballfan on December 27th, 2006 8:38 am

    I just have that sick feeling that the Yankees would rip us off though as the “crack team” of front office staff would give away too much for an aging Randy.\

    Ugh. Exactly. The one hope I had of the Yankees not doing well was a crappy farm. Now they are going younger, and exploiting teams to get young talent because once the Yankees are involved, teams all of a sudden want what they have. Considering the number of teams interested in Johnson, well the Diamondbacks have already offered 3 players, and the Padres supposedly gave a much better offer. But since Cashman need not trade him, he’s just sitting back until someone foolishly offers way more than Randy is worth. The whole point of getting Randy Johnson is if he could be had as a cheap salary dump, which would happen if he was on any other team. Anyway, I think the ONLY trade that would make sense for you guys is trading Richie Sexson for him. And is it really that bad for the Yankees? Sexson is not a bad player at all. He kindof fits with the Yankees homerun hitting philosophy, and they need a 1b. Johnson’s salary is inflated too, albeit only for 1 year.

  16. msb on December 27th, 2006 8:55 am

    Randy has NEVER had the personality nor social skills to mentor ANY young player!

    “On a more serious note, Johnson hopes to be a role model for the younger pitchers on the Arizona staff. “The more you learn now, it’s going to make the game a little bit easier for you at a later age,” he said. “Your workout ethic now will instill discipline in you and you’ll have a routine. If you learn those things now, you’ll only get better as you get older and more experienced.”

    “His presence on the field and in the clubhouse has been exciting,” said pitcher Shane Reynolds, who surrendered his designation as the Astros’ No. 1 starter with the arrival of Johnson. “He’s a super guy, down to earth and he’s fit right in. We needed somebody like him, a true No. 1 guy and leader on the staff. He’s it …”

  17. Steve McCatty Nation on December 27th, 2006 8:58 am

    Does the fact that Bavasi hasn’t traded Broussard yet even though KneeDro is our new everyday DH mean that he’s waiting to see what the trade market for Sexson is first?

    I hope so…

  18. msb on December 27th, 2006 9:08 am

    ah, I love the NY papers.

    “A host of West Coast teams have spoken to the Yankees”

    vs.

    “The shallow pool includes Arizona, San Diego and the Los Angeles Angels”

    and

    “The Yankees are robustly pursuing trade possibilities for Randy Johnson to continue heeding GM Brian Cashman’s mission statement: Get less expensive, get younger, get more roster flexibility and get a deeper prospect base.”

    vs.

    “Brian Cashman has been resolute about creating more roster and payroll flexibility, and you don’t do that with a five- or six-year contract to a starting pitcher”

  19. scott47a on December 27th, 2006 9:27 am

    I’d do it.
    The Mariners desperately need one more legitimate starting pitcher to have a chance in a very weak division. And clearly this is a better option than Zito given the right trade.
    But then it’s hard for me to believe that either Johnson or the Mariners are legitimately interested in this — he didn’t exactly leave on the best of terms.

  20. msb on December 27th, 2006 9:35 am

    FWIW, the Ms have been named among the inquiring teams by some of the papers…

  21. gwangung on December 27th, 2006 9:39 am

    But then it’s hard for me to believe that either Johnson or the Mariners are legitimately interested in this — he didn’t exactly leave on the best of terms.

    And the offending party is still with the Ms. Armstrong, I think, makes no bones that he was glad to get rid of Johnson and still is.

    Think that tells you all you need to know about the player evaluation skills of this team. And who ELSE needs to go, after Bavasi….

  22. Cynical Optimist on December 27th, 2006 9:43 am

    I say no UNLESS he grows the mullet back.

  23. jaysbaseballfan on December 27th, 2006 9:43 am

    Rotoworld reports the Yankees are interested in George Sherril. Maybe this can be part of a larger Unit deal?

    http://www.rotoworld.com/content/playernews.aspx?sport=MLB

  24. msb on December 27th, 2006 9:46 am

    re, Chuck– all I remember is how p.o.’d he was with the Neros, not RJ.

    Larry Stone a few years back:

    “I never had any bad feelings (toward Seattle),” Johnson said. “It just got ugly. How many times has the situation not? I mean, Junior, Alex. I didn’t leave because I wanted to leave. I left because I never got offered a contract. I don’t even like talking about that, because that’s four years old now. I’m happy for the Mariners. The only picture I can envision is hopefully us getting to the World Series, and maybe the Mariners. That would be, wow!”

    The Johnson situation was a complicated one, befitting a personality as mercurial as the Big Unit’s, who could be alternately charming and prickly, often in the same conversation.

    Johnson, it seemed, never fully let go of the hard feelings over what he perceived as an indifferent response by Mariners management after his father’s death in the winter of 1992.

    He felt the club was tepid in defending him over charges that he was slow to recover from his back surgery in 1996. He burned when they were slow to exercise his contract option. (The Mariners claimed that his agents asked them not to exercise his option in 1998 so he could become a free agent).

    Though some Mariners followers will never forgive Johnson for what they perceive as a lackluster effort in 1998, when he was 9-10 with a 4.33 earned-run average prior to his trade, Johnson has certainly shown that any reluctance to offer him a long-term contract based on health fears was unwarranted.”

  25. strong silence on December 27th, 2006 9:49 am

    If your LOB % is high, that means you allow a lot of hits and walks.

  26. Spencer B on December 27th, 2006 9:58 am

    The Big Eunuch had back surgery this off-season, and I’ve read he’s not a lock to be ready for the bell in April. It sort of makes the team look prescient for getting rid of him in 1998 before that back of his made its last stand.

    Seriously, I’d make this deal if it were a salary dump, and the talent in return was marginal (Sherrill plus little Nomar, for instance). But he’ll be a risky bet for sure.

  27. scraps on December 27th, 2006 10:02 am

    No it doesn’t. Your LOB% is a percentage of the baserunners you allow. 5 out of 10 left on is the same LOB% as 50 out of 100.

  28. Dave on December 27th, 2006 10:03 am

    If your LOB % is high, that means you allow a lot of hits and walks.

    Umm, no. That’s exactly the opposite of the truth.

    If your LOB% is high, it means you’re either a great pitcher (Johan Santana) or you got a lot of outs with runners in scoring position (’05 Washburn). If your LOB% is low, you either suck (Joel Pineiro) or you gave up a ton of hits when runners were in scoring position (’06 Randy Johnson).

    There are some pitchers who slightly underachieve their xLOB% consistently (Javier Vazquez, for one), but there’s absolutely no chance that Johnson’s true talent LOB% is 61.8%. It’s probably 70% or so, and in terms of run prevention, that’s a huge, huge difference.

  29. PositivePaul on December 27th, 2006 10:09 am

    Rotoworld reports the Yankees are interested in George Sherril[l].

    Yeah, they’ve been interested in him as long as the M’s have. If he’s traded, I’d rather he be traded elsewhere. As disappointing as this offseason has been, I fully expect my favorite Mariner to be traded. Which, actually, I wouldn’t be to disappointed about — except if he goes to the Yankees, A’s or Angels.

  30. David J. Corcoran I on December 27th, 2006 10:13 am

    I’m seeing this now…George Sherrill for RON VILLONE

  31. David J. Corcoran I on December 27th, 2006 10:13 am

    who is a free agent…never mind.

    We’ll still get him anyway.

  32. terry on December 27th, 2006 10:17 am

    Sherrill/Sexson for Johnson might work for me but I’d need some really good New York style pizza too….

  33. terry on December 27th, 2006 10:23 am

    I’d be worried about the LOB% given the bad back and age if it weren’t for these numbers: 205 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 7.5 K/9, 1.2 HR/9….

  34. strong silence on December 27th, 2006 10:23 am

    27, thanks. You clearly explained my mistake.

  35. Dave on December 27th, 2006 10:27 am

    I’d be worried about the LOB% given the bad back and age if it weren’t for these numbers: 205 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 7.5 K/9, 1.2 HR/9….

    Right – Johnson has declined, there’s no doubt about that, but he had such a high pillar to decline from that even in his not-what-he-used-to-be state, he’s still better than most pitchers. If there was a fundamental flaw in his ability to pitch that made it likely that he was done as an effective pitcher, it would show up in his peripherals.

    But it doesn’t. He was an ace with the bases empty and horrible with runners on. If you absolutely have to have a reason for everything, and can’t accept random variation as an answer, then you can theorize that he struggled pitching from the stretch, but there’s no evidence to suggest that we should expect him to experience those problems to the same degree in 2007.

  36. AK1984 on December 27th, 2006 10:44 am

    If the Seattle Mariners traded Richie Sexson (2007: $14,000,000 & 2008: $14,000,000) and Adrian Beltre (2007: approx. $13,000,000; 2008: approx. $13,000,000; 2009: approx. $13,000,000) — along with Julio Mateo, George Sherrill, Michael Garciaparra, and a minor league prospect (e.g., Jeff Clement) — to the New York Yankees for Randy Johnson (2007: $16,000,000) and Alex Rodriguez (2007: $16,000,000; 2008: $16,000,000; 2009: $16,000,000; 2010: $16,000,000)*, then I might cream myself.

    Yet, due to the fact that both Johnson and Rodriguez have no-trade clauses, the above idea is basically a pipe dream. That, in conjunction with numerous other things, would probably prevent the occurrence of such a trade.

    In the end, unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that either of them will ever play for the M’s again during their respective careers.

    *The Texas Rangers are financially responsibile for $44,000,000 of Rodriguez’s remaining salary from 2007 through 2010.

  37. Tek Jansen on December 27th, 2006 10:46 am

    In reference to Armstrong’s gleeful reaction to the Johnson trade, it should be noted that the M’s did get three good to useful players for him. The FO, in ’98, made the absolute best out of a bad situation.

  38. RaoulDuke37 on December 27th, 2006 10:48 am

    Back Surgery + Age (43 in 2007) worry me. I’d love to see the 42 year old Randy come pitch another year or two in Seattle. But he is at an age were it is not unreasonable for him to completely collapse.

    However, if Cashman will take a reasonable package from Seattle, I’d love to see it happen. (Don’t MORTGAGE the future, Bill!)

  39. Shwa on December 27th, 2006 10:49 am

    Lets say we do get RJ..

    who wears number 51?

  40. Dave on December 27th, 2006 10:52 am

    Back Surgery + Age (43 in 2007) worry me. I’d love to see the 42 year old Randy come pitch another year or two in Seattle. But he is at an age were it is not unreasonable for him to completely collapse.

    This is the beauty of the one year deal. If Johnson comes in and is lousy, it doesn’t effect 2008 at all. If Zito comes in and is lousy, we’re screwed until 2074.

  41. stoyboy on December 27th, 2006 11:03 am

    Last time Johnson had this surgery he came back to win several Cy Young awards. I know he is 43 but with a “fixed back” this guy could be a #1 again.

  42. Bryan on December 27th, 2006 11:05 am

    Aside from the argument that this would/would not be a good idea in 2007 – Dave, what do you think the likelihood of this actually happening is?

  43. adamt on December 27th, 2006 11:09 am

    #38

    Lets say we do get RJ.. who wears number 51?

    Considering the already unusual trend of having Ichiro, instead of Sasaki (OK, Suzuki, broadcast joke), Ichiro should change his # to !.

  44. ooter37 on December 27th, 2006 11:09 am

    38 – I’ve been thinking about that too. I remember hearing Ichiro picked 51 because RJ was his favorite player. With that in mind, I don’t think Ichiro would want RJ to change his number.

  45. adamt on December 27th, 2006 11:13 am

    From MLBTradeRumors.com about Yankees interest in Sherrill:

    Sherrill has an interesting stat line that doesn’t seem repeatable – fewer than seven hits per nine, zero home runs in 40 innings, a 4.28 ERA despite six walks per nine. If used as a strict LOOGY, though, he should be pretty good.

    Doesn’t this go against everything USSM was preaching for Hargrove? That, Sherrill should be used vs RHB and LHB? Just confirming.

  46. terry on December 27th, 2006 11:18 am

    Sherrill should be in jail for what he does to lefties…. he is much more law abiding to righties… why wouldn’t you leverage that skill?

  47. IdahoInvader on December 27th, 2006 11:31 am

    This would sure be exciting to see this happen, but seeing our effective relievers disappear always scares me. I have way too good of a memory of the 1996-1997 teams I guess.

  48. mikelb420 on December 27th, 2006 11:43 am

    Just out of curiousity, if Randy has no trade rights, isn’t he likely to insist on an extension as part of any deal? If so, what kind of deal would he want? If Batista is worth 3 yrs @ 8/yr, then I would think Randy would want at least 2 @ 12/yr.

  49. Johnny Slick on December 27th, 2006 11:51 am

    I want Randy back too, but I’m thinking that pretty much anything is too much for him at this point. The willingness to eat his salary really ought to be about all I’d want to see traded.

    Incidentally, which of these 40+ year olds would you rather have?

    7.5 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9
    9.0 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9
    6.9 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 0.8 HR/9 (adjusted for era… also, he didn’t turn 40 until the next season)

    FWIW, that’s Randy last year, Nolan Ryan in ’92, and Steve Carlton in ’83. The point here isn’t that I think that Randy is basically the same pitcher as these guys and therefore due to fall off, it’s that he’s at an age where a guy can lose it at pretty much any time.

  50. msb on December 27th, 2006 11:53 am

    speaking of the wonders of 1995, mlb.com has their HOF ballot articles up; here is the Buhner one (hey, if Joyner & Bichette are eligible, why not Jay?)

  51. D Truth on December 27th, 2006 11:56 am

    If the Mariners are serious about adding another starting pitcher to their rotation, Randy Johnson is the obvious choice.

    Are you kidding me? After going on and on about how signing Barry Zito would be a bad idea because he’s not worth the money … you want the Mariners to trade for Randy Johnson? The guy that sold out to the Evil Empire after great years in Seattle and a World Series championship in his hometown of Arizona.

    What has Randy done in New York besides bitch, get injured, and hammered on the mound? What did the Big Unit do in his last year in Seattle besides bitch, get injured, and hammered on the mound?

    Sign Barry Zito Bavasi. Don’t trade Felix for Randy. He’s done!

  52. Johnny Slick on December 27th, 2006 11:57 am

    Just out of curiousity, if Randy has no trade rights, isn’t he likely to insist on an extension as part of any deal? If so, what kind of deal would he want? If Batista is worth 3 yrs @ 8/yr, then I would think Randy would want at least 2 @ 12/yr.

    Actually, things seem to be going the other way right now. Arizona wants to negotiate with Randy before any trade is accomplished because they really don’t want to pay him $16M even just for the one year. If I were a GM I would be very, very sheepish about signing him to any kind of multiyear deal.

  53. D Truth on December 27th, 2006 12:03 pm

    Jay Buhner makes Hall of Fame ballott

    That’s better news than the thought of Randy Johnson ever coming back to the Mariners.

  54. IdahoInvader on December 27th, 2006 12:05 pm

    As non knucklers not named Ryan or Paige get into their fourties, aren’t we talking about working on borrowed time?

    Randy still isn’t a bad risk for just 2007 though

  55. Spanky on December 27th, 2006 12:05 pm

    The M’s acquire RJ and he automatically becomes at least the No. 2 pitcher on the team with the upside of being No. 1. Even if he throws up a 4.50 ERA…he’s still No. 2 on the team! Where else would the M’s get a No. 2 in this market with a small window of risk like this? And if he asks for an extension, the M’s should hold the option on it or at least build in some numbers for RJ to hit before it becomes automatic.

    But in the end…Why would Randy want to come here? I think he does AZ, LA, or SD and goes back to the NL.

  56. D Truth on December 27th, 2006 12:10 pm

    Just out of curiosity, would it cost the Mariners more to sign Barry Zito or the remainder of Randy Johnson’s contract via trade?

  57. msb on December 27th, 2006 12:14 pm

    Jay Buhner makes Hall of Fame ballot

    aren’t you eligible for the ballot merely by retiring five years previously? :)

    by the way, has anybody heard from David Pham since the earthquake in Taiwan?

  58. Spanky on December 27th, 2006 12:15 pm

    Randy: 1 yr remaining at $16MM. If they extend it, I would guess 1-2 years at $10-$12MM. So at most, you’re talking 3/$40MM.

    Zito: Asking 5/$100MM

    RJ is the way to go by far!

  59. eponymous coward on December 27th, 2006 12:29 pm

    I’d also like to point out that a year with a fellow power pitcher might just be the thing King Felix needs to go from “Hey, what’s the deal? Why does he have a 4-ish ERA with THAT kind of stuff?” to “OMG CY YOUNG!!111″. Remember how RJ was pretty inconsistent until Nolan Ryan took him aside?

    Also, the peripherals say RJ was a better pitcher than Zito last year- he just got unlucky with men on base.

    If this also gets Sexson’s 2008 contract off the team, this is a no-brainer… but I don’t give this great odds of happening.

  60. Steve Nelson on December 27th, 2006 12:34 pm

    Let’s not get carried away with RJ as mentor. IIRC – the last Mariners prospect that Randy Johnson sat down with to talk about pitching is now literally slinging hash.

  61. Spanky on December 27th, 2006 12:46 pm

    If we want a Mentor for Felix, go through $20MM at Roger Clemens to pitch 1/2 a season for the M’s. He could come to Safeco and keep his numbers low. Tell him it’s a huge opportunity to develop a “protege” and continue his legacy as the Greatest ALL-TIME and don’t forget to offer to fly him home between starts! Also, tell him you’ll draft any of his offspring in the future!

    If the M’s are out of it by late July…you can ALWAYS trade him to the Yankees! Then you’re only out $10MM for his time here!

    Hey…why not?

  62. Spanky on December 27th, 2006 12:47 pm

    ehem…I meant…”go throw $20MM at Roger…”

  63. firova on December 27th, 2006 12:50 pm

    50. Did you read the rest of Dave’s post?
    52. What did Randy Johnson fail to accomplish for the Seattle Mariners? He was the greatest pitcher, and by a considerable margin, the franchise has ever seen. He put the team on his back in 95–no RJ, no team at all. He came back from back surgery and had a massive 97. The team gave up on him well before he ever gave up on the team (if he ever did). As for bringing him back, try reading that post again.

  64. Livengood on December 27th, 2006 12:58 pm

    Pet peeve, but since grammar and spelling count on USSM:

    “Nobody in the American League stranded less baserunners than Randy Johnson.”

    When referring to a number, the word is “fewer” rather than “less.” Generally speaking,, if you count it, it’s “fewer,” but if you measure it, it’s “less.”

  65. Dave Clapper on December 27th, 2006 12:59 pm

    Looks like D Truth is making a serious late bid for worst post of the year with #50:

    Are you kidding me? After going on and on about how signing Barry Zito would be a bad idea because he’s not worth the money … you want the Mariners to trade for Randy Johnson?

    Well, yeah. He’s a better pitcher, would cost less short-term, and not be a bad commitment long-term since he has one year left on his deal.

    The guy that sold out to the Evil Empire after great years in Seattle and a World Series championship in his hometown of Arizona.

    The guy who couldn’t get the FO in Seattle to commit to him and accepted a gut-wrenching trade to Houston. Maybe you only remember the acrimony, but I remember the look on his face when he found out. Oh, and by the way, Arizona isn’t a hometown. It’s a state.

    What has Randy done in New York besides bitch, get injured, and hammered on the mound? What did the Big Unit do in his last year in Seattle besides bitch, get injured, and hammered on the mound?

    Aside from pitching better than any other options available?

    Sign Barry Zito Bavasi.

    Who’s Barry Zito Bavasi?

    Don’t trade Felix for Randy.

    Who in the world said anything about trading Felix?

    He’s done!

    By what standard? Seems like the FO said the same thing about him almost a decade ago and he seems to have done pretty well since then.

  66. eponymous coward on December 27th, 2006 1:01 pm

    Why is it “getting carried away” to point out a possible outcome (note use of conditional “might” in my first sentence)? It’s simply not unprecedented- I could give you MANY examples of “grizzled veteran” pitchers helping the kids with the craft. Certainly it’s not fairy dust, but why discount it as an upside?

    And, if we’re going down that road, exactly how many innings did that guy you’re bringing up pitch wearing a Mariners uniform during the regular season? I believe the answer to that would be “zero”. For that reason ALONE, King Felix is a LOT more comparable to the Big Unit than the Little Unit.

    Anywhoo, the other upside-the M’s rotation would look like this (assuming Ramirez gets the 5th spot):

    LHP, power
    RHP, power, groundball
    LHP, finesse, flyball
    RHP, finesse, groundball
    LHP, finesse, groundball

    That’s a very nice set of complementary starting pitchers- none of them really overlap handedness/GB-FB tendencies.

    And you know what? You can find useful bullpen pitchers a lot easier than starters who can strike out 9/9IP.If this costs us Sherrill and Sexson, sounds good to me. That being said, Bill Bavasi’s batting average on offseason roster assembly sucks- there’s a couple decisions where it came out better than I thought (Ibañez, Villone), one I liked (Beltre), one where he got unlucky (Reese) and a number that are varying degrees of bad to awful (Aurilia, Guillen, Sexson, Washburn, Everett)- so I figure he’s already made the decent to good one (Guillen) and is well into the decisions that make you wince for various reasons (Vidro, Ramirez, Batista), and RJ for Sexson and Sherill won’t happen because Bill uses different standards of what improves his team than I would.

  67. Johnny Slick on December 27th, 2006 1:12 pm

    I’m not entirely sure that Bavasi got unlucky when it turned out Pokey Reese couldn’t play. In fact, I would call it downright lucky that when Bret Boone fell apart the at-bats that surely would have been given to Reese were instead given to Jose Lopez and Yuniesky Betancort. Given Bavasi’s track record, I think it’s highly likely that if those guys hadn’t proven themselves to be major leaguers in Bavasi’s eyes, he’d have traded them away for nothing a la Sin Soo Choo or less than nothing like Vidro.

    As for the Unit for Sexson and Sherrill… the Yankees are looking at getting actual prospects for RJ. C-level prospects, but still. The trade you propose is basically, “hey guys, take on this monster of a contract and we’ll throw in this quality reliever! Come on. And throw in Randy Johnson so the league doesn’t think we’re dumping.” I think Randy can probably command more than a salary dump.

  68. Spanky on December 27th, 2006 1:20 pm

    66. Sexon fits with the Yanks more than just a salary match/dump. The Yanks had Sheffield playing first in the playoffs last year. Granted they had Giambi…but he’s worse at first than Sexon. Giambi would DH and Sexon would play first for them. They would love the power Sexon brings and wouldn’t care what his OBP was.

  69. Dave Clapper on December 27th, 2006 1:20 pm

    66: Yes, and no. The Yankees will take whatever is best for them. If various media outlets are to be believed, one of the things they think they need is a slugging first baseman. If they believe that suits their needs better than C-level prospects (and I think it does), then they’d take it.

  70. Edman on December 27th, 2006 1:30 pm

    A little curious…..because Randy is a more “fan friendly” name, trading for an old guy is kewl. Vidro, a three time All-Star, however, because he’s no a BLOG love child, is the worse signing since Greg Hibbard.

    Not sure how ANYONE can actually claim to be “fiscally” minded, when drooling over the prospect of a $16 million debt, 43 year old pitcher coming off back surgery.

    I wish Randy well, just not in a Mariner uniform.

    Zito, at least, will give you 200 innings, at his worst.

  71. Graham on December 27th, 2006 1:41 pm

    Edman, you’re missing the fact that Vidro and Zito both suck, and will be burdens for multiple years rather than just one.

    Years are more important than dollars right now.

    Also, barring some weird moves by Bavasi, Johnson won’t cost us Doyle.

  72. terry on December 27th, 2006 1:46 pm

    while we’re fantasizing about dumping a first baseman, has anyone noticed that PMR to runs has Broussard rated at +13 runs per 275 OPP for 2006…. Sexson was -5. Thats almost two wins worth of defensive difference…

  73. eponymous coward on December 27th, 2006 1:53 pm

    Zito, at least, will give you 200 innings, at his worst.

    You don’tknow that. And the question is if he’ll give you 1000-1200 innings through 2011-2013, not 200 IP in 2007.

  74. kentroyals5 on December 27th, 2006 1:57 pm

    Ummm….Id like to dump Sexson for a pitcher and play Broussard, but not many people are talking about the liklihood that RJ’s recent injuries are a big problem….we dump Sexson for 140 innings and a 4.5 ERA..he’s not the same pitcher..allbeit better than what we have.

    So Im not super excited about it, but sure would like to see him pitch rather than anyone besides Felix.

  75. Dave on December 27th, 2006 2:10 pm

    A little curious…..because Randy is a more “fan friendly” name, trading for an old guy is kewl. Vidro, a three time All-Star, however, because he’s no a BLOG love child, is the worse signing since Greg Hibbard.

    If Jose Vidro wasn’t a lock to be the worst everyday DH in the AL, I wouldn’t care if he was 50.

    Randy Johnson is a good player. Jose Vidro is not. How is this hard?

  76. Tek Jansen on December 27th, 2006 2:13 pm

    Johnson, at his worst, will also give you 200 innings. He did so last year. Johnson is either shelved with an extremely serious, season ending injury or, more often, pitches 200+ innings.

  77. terry on December 27th, 2006 2:19 pm

    we dump Sexson for 140 innings and a 4.5 ERA

    That would be lovely….

  78. scott47a on December 27th, 2006 2:21 pm

    I have read many replies at this point, to this column and others, that say simply “Barry Zito is bad.”
    While I understand the argument that he may not be worth $17 mill. a year, especially five years from now, I still can’t comprehend anyone thinking he is “bad.”
    He is far from bad. He is, in fact, good. Joel Pineiro is bad. Guys like, I don’t know, say Doug Waechter, are bad.
    By what standard would Zito be considered bad?

  79. Dave on December 27th, 2006 2:24 pm

    No one thinks Zito is bad. Anyone who writes that is just exaggerating for emphasis, or, alternately, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

    He’s just not that good either. He’s decent, unspectacular, and, a little above average.

  80. Dave Clapper on December 27th, 2006 2:24 pm

    Zito’s not bad. He’s just overrated.

  81. terry on December 27th, 2006 2:29 pm

    #77: Zito is a bad risk for the money and years that he is rumored to be seeking… thats the distinction… he wants TOR money but he no longer is TOR from a production standpoint…. He’s a shiny #3 with peripherals that suggest decline (xFIPS are an ugly upward; K rates going down and BB% goiing up). Basically at $17M per, the 2006 Pecota forecast suggests Zito could be dramatically overpaid by year 2 of his hypothetical 6-7 year deal (basically a $5-6M per win). Thats a pretty expensive innings eater…

  82. Calderon on December 27th, 2006 2:30 pm

    I would call it downright lucky that when Bret Boone fell apart the at-bats that surely would have been given to Reese were instead given to Jose Lopez and Yuniesky Betancort. Given Bavasi’s track record, I think it’s highly likely that if those guys hadn’t proven themselves to be major leaguers in Bavasi’s eyes, he’d have traded them away for nothing a la Sin Soo Choo or less than nothing like Vidro.

    Bravo! Absolutely correct, and I couldn’t have stated that better myself. I’d mortgage the house that’s exactly what would have happened.

  83. Ralph Malph on December 27th, 2006 2:31 pm

    Jay Buhner makes Hall of Fame ballott

    Ballot. One “t”. Lest anyone get excited about Buhner making the HOF ballot, he is joined on the ballot by such legends as Wally Joyner, Devon White, Bobby Witt, Ken Caminiti, Scott Brosius, and Dante Bichette.

  84. eponymous coward on December 27th, 2006 2:40 pm

    [LONG LINK ARGH]

  85. eponymous coward on December 27th, 2006 2:48 pm

    Zito isn’t bad right now. Odds are good he’ll be dramatically overpaid starting in year one of his contract, and he’ll be bad by the end of his contract.

    Kevin Brown’s a pretty good example: he was older than Zito, a little less durable, but a BETTER pitcher when healthy (more Ks, extreme GB). He was pretty much not worth the money 4 of the 7 years of his deal. Mike Mussina is probably the BEST case scenario (and he was a better pitcher at the time his deal was signed), and he got paid 35 million in 2004-2005 to go 25-17 with an ERA around 4.50. And that’s not even going into the Mike Hampton cases…

  86. strong silence on December 27th, 2006 2:55 pm

    Wasn’t Boone sunk in 2004?

  87. Ralph Malph on December 27th, 2006 2:59 pm

    epcow…I don’t understand your point. Boone had “fallen apart” long before he was actually traded. He was first benched in favor of Lopez on June 18, 2005 at which time he was batting 227/294/366. The point as I understood it was that, if Reese had been available and not injured, Hargrove and Bavasi would likely have plugged Reese in for Boone rather than Lopez because they love veterans.

    I think that’s a fair point. Keep in mind that, during August of 2005, Bloomquist started most of the games at 2B (I think that’s when Lopez was hurt). Clearly Reese would have gotten a lot of PT in 2005 if he was available.

    And if Reese had played well during that time, who’s to say Bavasi wouldn’t have kept him around for 2006 and moved Lopez or Betancourt?

  88. scraps on December 27th, 2006 3:05 pm

    A little curious…..because Randy is a more “fan friendly” name, trading for an old guy is kewl. Vidro, a three time All-Star, however, because he’s no a BLOG love child, is the worse signing since Greg Hibbard.

    This kind of post is exactly the sort that drives internet discourse into the ground. The USSM folks have given clear and detailed reasons for advocating signing Johnson and opposing trading for Vidro. Rather than disagreeing with the arguments, this poster just invents a lot of dumb motivations to put into other people’s heads and dismiss. What is the point of this kind of yammer?

  89. eponymous coward on December 27th, 2006 3:07 pm

    The point as I understood it was that, if Reese had been available and not injured, Hargrove and Bavasi would likely have plugged Reese in for Boone rather than Lopez because they love veterans.

    Do you recall who started at SS on Opening Day for the 2005 Mariners?

    Clearly Reese would have gotten a lot of PT in 2005 if he was available.

    Sure, because look at the black hole at SS in 2005, but the idea that Lopez and Betancourt (who Bavasi freakin’ SIGNED IN THE FIRST PLACE) would have been traded for table scraps when the Mariners were well under .500 and nowhere near contending’s silly.

    Bavasi’s dealt kids when he’s thought “hey, I can build a contender”, but that’s different than “I’ll trade these prospects for a 38 year old LH reliever when my team’s 30 games out”.

  90. scraps on December 27th, 2006 3:12 pm

    I mean, hey, Randy Johnson is a TEN-time all star! That’s 3.333 times better than Vidro! Johnson was an all-star more recently than Vidro, too! But just because Vidro’s got a higher proportion of vowels in his name, people with niacin deficiency want to shoot his dog! It’s… a little curious, is what it is.

  91. strong silence on December 27th, 2006 3:18 pm

    EC,

    Bavasi think’s the M’s are a contender now? You may have determined his rationale for trading Snelling.

  92. scott47a on December 27th, 2006 3:22 pm

    I rather enjoy a good yammer, but then that’s just me.
    Seeing as how both Johnson and Zito are decided longshots at this point I’d like to hear how Dave and others think we fans should approach 2007.
    Is it a write-off year? Is there no hope? Is there a minor free agent out there that could come cheaply that might help? Should they move Ichiro – whom it seems they are likely to lose anyway given how bad the team projects – for some youngsters?
    It’s just hard for this fan to imagine this team winning many games with Felix as the only real starter of value in the rotation.

  93. terry on December 27th, 2006 3:34 pm

    #91: Pray and buy lots of rabbits feet. By no means should Ms fans break mirrors or walk under ladders….

    They unfortunately will begin the season with at least a 5 win deficit versus a replacement level manager. I’d also make a few additional suggestions between the bunting,agressive baserunning, management of the pitching staff (especially the pen) and the overuse of WFB:

    1. preemptively join alcoholics anonymous.

    2. If you have a cuss jar in the household, just go ahead and concede…. buy the wife the new fuckin’ $1000 fridge now…. (oops!)

  94. Steve Nelson on December 27th, 2006 3:39 pm

    Hey – if finding a starter who will reliably give you 200 IP every year is that important, Ryan Franklin is available, at a fraction of the cost of Zito. Franklin is just as reliable in giving 200 IP when he’s been s a starter.

    You don’t need to pay $17 million a year just to find someone to give you 200 IP.

  95. Johnny Slick on December 27th, 2006 3:41 pm

    In fairness, *most* managers cost their teams runs with the so-called strategy. Hargrove’s not good, but let’s not mistake him for Maury Wills or something…

    Speaking of which, what’s up with the “OMG he might have Putz throw 100 innings!!!” stuff? Personally, I *want* to see a major league manager do that with his relievers. It wasn’t that long ago that relief pitchers actually did throw this much. Sometimes they were able to take the load, sometimes they weren’t, but the same could be said about pitching 50 innings a year or making 30 starts.

    If anything, Hargrove’s exactly the kind of “don’t rock the boat” skipper who would *never* do something like that. Because now J.J. Putz is a “proven closer” who must only be used in the 9th with a 1-3 run lead to take advantage of his tremendous clutch and grit skills. If you bring him in in the 7th today, you might not be able to use him in the 9th tomorrow!

  96. terry on December 27th, 2006 3:42 pm

    Ryan Franklin is available,at a fraction of the cost of Zito. Franklin is just as reliable in giving 200 IP when he’s been s a starter.

    one dollar to the cuss jar please….

  97. ML on December 27th, 2006 3:44 pm

    East Valley Tribune: Yankees want 3 pitchers in swap for Johnson

  98. ML on December 27th, 2006 3:49 pm

    Yankees want 3 pitchers in swap for Johnson

    Yanks want Medders and two of the following: Edgar Gonzalez, Enrique Gonzalez, Dustin Nippert, Ross Ohlendorf and Micah Owings. May have to settle for Vizcaino instead of Medders to consumate deal…

  99. terry on December 27th, 2006 3:51 pm

    Ryan Franklin is available

    Few people have called attention to this but Franklin’s K/9 dramatically improved with the reds versus anything he had done the previous 4 seasons…. we know he no longer uses steroids so that can not explain it,,,,, however,….. one might speculate about the reason behind his latest performance enhancement given the actual number…. (K/9= 6.66)

  100. James T on December 27th, 2006 4:02 pm

    Dave. I think you’re drawing a false inference from the data. I think the reason Randy Johnson had such a low rate of stranding runners was because his abilities were so streaky.
    I suspect that when Johnson wasn’t being plagued by knee or back or whatever else injuries that he was allowing few baserunners period. But then, a twinge in his back, a misstep on the mound making his knee(s) or whatever and he starts getting raked. By everyone. The fastball in the early part of the count is always high and away for a ball. The slider has no bite and he suddenly gets hit by everyone. Everyone. The other team puts up a big inning made of a chain of hits and he ends up giving up 5 runs in 6 innings while having both a low average against with the bases empty and a bad strand rate.
    I have no secondary data to prove this hypothesis but simply calling him unlucky with men on base seems inadequate to describe the full context of the situation.

  101. terry on December 27th, 2006 4:06 pm

    well he did acknowledge that the back problems may have been a factor while Johnson was in the stretch….

  102. Karen on December 27th, 2006 4:11 pm

    …and I have a bridge in Brooklyn that the M’s might want to buy… :)

  103. mack on December 27th, 2006 4:31 pm

    There is virtually no up-side to bringing RJ here. A 43-year-old pitcher coming off a 5.00 ERA and back surgery? So, he maybe goes 7-5 here? 5-11? What’s the point? What do you do in 2008?

    If you think this team is going to make it to the playoffs, then you probably don’t want Zito to be a Yankee. (Let’s Go Mets!). If you don’t think this team is going to make it to the playoffs, then why take up clubhouse space with Mr Dour? Give it, and the rotation spot, to some youngster. Which you’ll have to do, anyway, while RJ’s on the disabled list.

  104. Typical Idiot Fan on December 27th, 2006 4:48 pm

    Cashman and Epstein are sure trying to go for major value for their guys this offseason aren’t they? First Epstein wants a ridiculous package for Ramirez, and doesn’t want to eat any of the contract, and now Cashman wants the moon for Johnson, even though he’s got a ton of question marks.

    What is it with these two? Ramirez I can sort of understand since he’s still a HOF calibur player for a few years yet. Randy, we have no idea if he’s going to be much this year or beyond this year. No GM bit on Epstein’s crap, what makes Cashman think they’ll bite on his?

  105. eponymous coward on December 27th, 2006 4:55 pm

    Bavasi think’s the M’s are a contender now? You may have determined his rationale for trading Snelling.

    If King Felix goes supernova, and you get reasonable production from DH and CF (the last being nearly a given with Ichiro playing there), this is an 85-90 win club in a division where nobody resembles the late 30′s Yankees. If the right young players catch fire (Beltre, Lopez), it maybe is at the high end of that. The counter, of course that if things go wrong (Vidro is a black hole at DH, Sexson slides more, Ichiro and/or Guillen gets hurt and the OF is a mess, Felix still isn’t an ace, etc.), this is a 70-75 win team as well.

    Bavasi’s reasoning w/r/t Vidro being better than Snelling and Ramirez being better than Soriano is probably wrong, but this isn’t a franchise bereft of any talent, either.

  106. Ralph Malph on December 27th, 2006 4:57 pm

    Few people have called attention to this but Franklin’s K/9 dramatically improved with the reds

    Before you put the stamp on that contract offer, Franklin pitched 24 innings with the Reds.

  107. Ralph Malph on December 27th, 2006 5:01 pm

    Do you recall who started at SS on Opening Day for the 2005 Mariners?

    Wilson Freakin Valdez, because he was the only shortstop on the roster. Lopez was in Tacoma learning to play 2nd, if I remember right. If Reese was healthy he’d have started 140 games at SS in 2005.

  108. Edman on December 27th, 2006 5:03 pm

    It’s not a case of Ramirez being better than Soriano….it’s a matter of him being better than Pineiro……and that isn’t tough to do.

  109. eponymous coward on December 27th, 2006 5:17 pm

    If Reese was healthy he’d have started 140 games at SS in 2005.

    How many times has that happened in Reese’s career?

    See, if anything, Bavasi SHOULD have been faulted for not having a backup plan for Reese having his annual injury…

  110. Ralph Malph on December 27th, 2006 5:19 pm

    If Reese was healthy he’d have started 140 games at SS in 2005.

    How many times has that happened in Reese’s career?

    One time too many. I am not disagreeing with you.

  111. scott47a on December 27th, 2006 5:39 pm

    I sure hope people here aren’t serious about Ryan Franklin.
    What about, say, Tony Armas? Too injury prone?
    What happened to talk about John Thomsen and Tomo Ohka?
    What’s the story with Mark Redman?
    None of these guys is Barry Zito. But then none will demand Zito’s salary either. Any chance the M’s chase any of these?

  112. Bilbo on December 27th, 2006 5:56 pm

    Dave said:
    December 27th, 2006 at 2:24 pm
    No one thinks Zito is bad. Anyone who writes that is just exaggerating for emphasis, or, alternately, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

    He’s just not that good either. He’s decent, unspectacular, and, a little above average.

    I think this is obviously where people disagree with you on why Zito is worth pursuing. Personally, I agree with TangoTiger on this one that Zito is a 4-4.5 WAR/year over the next five years. If you don’t want to pick him up because you don’t think he is worth it, then I can understand your position. And if you don’t believe the FA price will appreciate 10%+ annually than I further understand your position.

    I think you are a little more risk averse than people on the other side of the argument. But that doesn’t mean that people who think he is worth the risk are wrong.

    From TangoTiger:
    [uncited unlinked extremely long quote, see comment guidelines]

  113. Mat on December 27th, 2006 6:37 pm

    You can reasonably argue Zito as anything between a 6/81 to 6/113, depending if you think he is currently +4.0 or +4.5 WAR, and if you think his decline is 0.3 or 0.5 wins per year.

    Zito’s PECOTA forecast going into this year thinks he’s going to be worth 4.2, 3.8, 3.4, and 2.9 wins over the next four years. That’s 18.9 wins. Even if you give him a little extra for making it through this season and hitting his median PECOTA ERA uninjured, say he’s worth 20 wins over the next six years. Giving him $80M for 20 wins is $4M/win. That’s an awfully high price to pay, even with inflated prices, and higher than what I would consider “reasonable.”

    But Zito’s not going to sign for 6/$80M. He’s probably going to sign for closer to 6/$100M, which makes it $5M/win. Considering that it’s a $100M investment on a pitcher, the flakiest of all commodities, I’d say that’s safely higher than a reasonable price.

    Then on top of that, you’ve got concerns about his peripherals that might indicate that 20 wins over the next six years is optimistic. No thank you.

  114. Mat on December 27th, 2006 6:40 pm

    Ack, it’s unclear in my initial comment that the 18.9 wins figure comes from giving Zito 2.5 wins in his 5th year and 2.1 wins in his 6th year, which seems consistent with the first four years of his PECOTA forecast.

  115. Ralph on December 27th, 2006 6:45 pm

    Wait, aren’t we rebuilding? Oh yeah, that’s right. We’re just a couple of players away. A couple of starters, a couple of bats, and a couple of bullpen arms if we do trade Sherrill.

    And we’re still waiting for that tsunami of free agent top starters who were going to be fighting each other in the Safeco parking lot for the privilege of pitching here. It’s high time that we correct that “home field advantage” that other teams have in our park. You know, the teams who have better starting pitching, which are most of them.

  116. coasty on December 27th, 2006 7:02 pm

    Not sure if this has been mentioned but what if…
    Johnson is unwilling to relocate for only a one year deal?
    How many years/dollar is wise to spend on a effective 43yr old?
    How many years/dollars will a team pay?

  117. Calderon on December 27th, 2006 7:17 pm

    I also point out Freddy Garcia, Randy Winn, Jamie Moyer and Ron Villone.

    If your pointing out faults I understand, but something tells me your not.

    Bavasi has his faults, but let’s not go inventing them. He’s been perfectly willing to dump sunk costs: Boone, Aurilia, Olerud, Everett ALL got dumped to give playing time for kids,and he’s always been wiling to do the “veteran for kid” shuffle.

    Sounds to me like apologies for the worst GM in the majors that made mistake after mistake for 4 years, but erased history in your mind by trading the mistakes away under the rug.

    No inventing is necessary. And no Bavasi hasn’t “always” been willing to give kids time over veterans. Eleven at bats for Choo last year doesn’t equate to “veteran for kid” shuffle. Signing veteran Guillen over the kid Snelling (despite showing he can remain healthy after 105 combined games last year), doesn’t equate to Bavasi allowing the kids to play.

    As pointed out earlier, Bavasi opted for often injured veteran Pokey Reese, waiver-wire Wilson Valdez, Mike freakin Morse, and Willie Broomstick, before going with Betancourt in July of ’05. Sounds to me like fans are very fortunate things fell into place by pure luck and the grace of the baseball gods.

  118. chief on December 27th, 2006 7:21 pm

    The problem with the Ms dealing with the Yankees for RJ is just that. The Ms have to deal with the Yanks, what do we have that they want besides Sherrill? Do we think they will take Sherrill straight up. Maybe if they are trying to dump salary but I doubt it.
    More importantly what about RJ? Does anyone really think he will okay a trade to the Ms? He said recently, when his brother passed, that he wanted to be closer to home. Wants to spend more time with his family. The Padres, Dodgers and Angels are all closer to Arizona and all will probably be contenders.
    My sensing is that sometimes in our eagerness to complete a good deal for the Ms we tend to overlook the other side of the trade. What looks good to us may not look that good to the other team or the player who may have approval over the trade.
    Having said that I would really like to see RJ in the Ms rotation in 2007. I don’t like RJ himself but I would really like to see him in an Ms uni.

  119. eponymous coward on December 27th, 2006 7:46 pm

    Sounds to me like apologies for the worst GM in the majors that made mistake after mistake for 4 years, but erased history in your mind by trading the mistakes away under the rug.

    I don’t think he’s the worst GM in the majors. He’s made mistakes, and I fully endorse the Draft Chris Antonetti movement, but not giving him his due is just as unfair as thinking every move he’s made is great.

    As pointed out earlier, Bavasi opted for often injured veteran Pokey Reese, waiver-wire Wilson Valdez, Mike freakin Morse, and Willie Broomstick, before going with Betancourt in July of ‘05.

    Betancourt was signed as a free agent by Bill “I hate kids” Bavasi in March 2005, and went to AA and then AAA, THEN the majors in the space of less than 4 months. You seriously thought he was going to get handed a job with NO minor league experience?

    Yes, I know, we hate some of Bill’s trades. Let’s be fair, though, OK.

  120. Boo Radley on December 27th, 2006 7:51 pm

    I’m all for bringing Randy Johnson back, as long as we also bring David Segui back so he can beat the crap out of him the first time he decides to phone it in during a game because somebody irritated him.

  121. MickeyZ on December 27th, 2006 7:58 pm

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Randy Johnson come back he magically appeared on our roster, but it’s hard to think of a realistic trade that makes sense. I don’t think he pushes us into contention, and why would we want to trade some presumably younger player or players for one year of Johnson if he doesn’t push us into contention?

  122. Tak on December 27th, 2006 7:59 pm

    would love to see RJ back, but I am afraid Bavasi will give up waaaaaaaay more than needed to make it happen…

  123. terry on December 27th, 2006 9:22 pm

    Before you put the stamp on that contract offer, Franklin pitched 24 innings with the Reds.

    No kidding? It wasn’t satan afterall? Huh!?!

  124. terry on December 27th, 2006 9:31 pm

    if we do trade Sherrill.

    Sherrill is fairly easy to replace but the notion of him is generally overvalued. Right now his perceived worth is pretty high. If that can get translated into getting the Yankees to take Sexson’s contract while also conservatively netting 200 slightly better than league average innings with only a single year’s commitment attached… then hey… Bavasi is the new genius…

  125. terry on December 27th, 2006 9:33 pm

    but it’s hard to think of a realistic trade that makes sense.

    Sherrill/Sexson for Johnson…. kinda makes sense especially if the Yankees really haven’t turned over a new payroll leaf

  126. Dave on December 27th, 2006 9:55 pm

    Personally, I agree with TangoTiger on this one that Zito is a 4-4.5 WAR/year over the next five years.

    That’s not what Tango said. Tango put him at 4 wins above replacement right now, then factored in a .3 win per year decline. So, “agreeing with Tango” means you think he’s at 4 wins in ’07, 3.7 wins in ’08, 3.4 wins in ’09, 3.1 wins in ’10, 2.8 wins in ’11, and 2.5 wins in ’12. Add it all up, and you get 19.5 wins over 6 years. That’s not 4 to 4.5 wins. And Tango’s about the most optimistic Zito projector out there.

    Taking the best case projection, giving him a very modest decline, and assuming he doesn’t get hurt, he’s still not a 4 win pitcher for the next 5 years. There’s no way to twist this to make it a good idea for the M’s.

    I think you are a little more risk averse than people on the other side of the argument. But that doesn’t mean that people who think he is worth the risk are wrong.

    I’ve stated many times that I’m risk averse as a roster builder, and it’s no secret that I have a deep seeded love for short term contracts. But yes, in this case, people who believe that they know that Barry Zito is going to be a 4 win pitcher for the next 6 years are wrong, because they don’t understand what they don’t know.

    I’ll gladly admit that I don’t know how Barry Zito is going to perform next year. I’ll also suggest that you don’t know how Barry Zito is going to do next year, and neither does the Mariners or any other major league team. Pitcher unpredictably is a daunting thing to overcome, and Zito’s unpredictable even by pitcher standards.

    With that kind of lack of understanding, giving him a contract that requires him to pitch like an all-star for the next half decade is just foolish for a team with a payroll of less than $150 million.

  127. dlupham on December 28th, 2006 2:07 am

    MSB

    I am alive and well. The earthquake was at the very south end of Taiwan and Taipei (where I live) is at the very north end of the island. I didn’t even know that there was an earthquake until my daughter woke me up in the middle of the night checking to see that everyone was OK. Our biggest problem now is communications. A couple of undersea cables broke and our phones and Internet services are suffering.

    David

  128. stoyboy on December 28th, 2006 5:41 am

    Check out the mlbtraderumors.com site (Todays lead rumor). Bavasi gets blasted again even before he tries to out bid SF for Zito’s services.

  129. MickeyZ on December 28th, 2006 6:47 am

    #124 Why would we want to give up George Sherrill for Johnson in a meaningless year? Granted, Johnson will have more value next year, but Sherrill is good, cheap, and 14 years younger, and might actually be around when the M’s are competitive again, if that ever happens.

  130. firova on December 28th, 2006 7:04 am

    116. Lopez was the backup plan at shortstop in 2005 but he was injured early in the season. That’s why Valdez came aboard at the last minute. Then when it became clear that Betancourt was riding a bullet to the big leagues and Boone was falling off a cliff, the Lopez transition to second got serious. Somewhere in there they justified giving some time at short to Morse, but that’s just a bad, hazy memory.

  131. oNeiRiC232 on December 28th, 2006 8:14 am
  132. stoyboy on December 28th, 2006 8:24 am

    #130: Thanks for the tip for THT. That is a good site! That Vidro trade will go down in infamy. MLB.com(Baseball news(source) says Zito to SF for 6/80. Zito passes on Rangers offer.

  133. msb on December 28th, 2006 9:01 am

    #126– glad to hear it!

  134. msb on December 28th, 2006 9:05 am

    #131– I believe the 6/$84M was the rumored Rangers’ offer. They say that the Giants are offering closer to the fabled 6/$100M of Boras’ dreams.

  135. msb on December 28th, 2006 9:10 am

    oh, and I loved the line in Stone’s piece today:

    One Mariners source said that when it comes to Boras’ response to their Zito proposal, “the silence is deafening.” No doubt, the uber-agent is preoccupied trying to facilitate a nuclear confrontation between the New York superpowers.

  136. terry on December 28th, 2006 9:12 am

    #124 Why would we want to give up George Sherrill for Johnson in a meaningless year? Granted, Johnson will have more value next year, but Sherrill is good, cheap, and 14 years younger, and might actually be around when the M’s are competitive again, if that ever happens.

    Well, call me a crazy crack-head and stomp on my Christmas Braunswager loaf, but I’m thinking that if the Ms had a decent rotation and things with the offense broke just right, those crazy Ms might be in a playoff race as late as say August….

    Sherrill is to lefties like an alligator is to a red-neck’s deer jerkey but Sherrill is, afterall, fairly easy to get “annutta ones of….”

    Johnson while not the boss hog anymore is still much more useful than tits on a boar but doesn’t require mortgaging the trailer to get a hold of….

  137. davepaisley on December 28th, 2006 12:35 pm

    So, terry, the PCP hasn’t worn off yet?

  138. TheEmrys on December 28th, 2006 4:07 pm

    If we could somehow swing a Beltre/Sexson for an RJ/Arod, and then swing a Griffey for Vidro, then Finnigan will be out of a job! Actually, just getting rid of Finnigan would be worth it all.

  139. MickeyZ on December 28th, 2006 5:00 pm

    “Well, call me a crazy crack-head and stomp on my Christmas Braunswager loaf, but I’m thinking that if the Ms had a decent rotation and things with the offense broke just right, those crazy Ms might be in a playoff race as late as say August….”

    I still think it would behoove the M’s to stop thinking that at some point and just go ahead and rebuild. I’ve heard those arguments the last few years and not only did we not pull off a miracle, but we failed to get the kind of good young players we can improve with.

    Sherrill is to lefties like an alligator is to a red-neck’s deer jerkey but Sherrill is, afterall, fairly easy to get “annutta ones of….

    I don’t think Sherrills are that easy to get. He’s not a star or anything but he isn’t someone to casually toss away either, IMHO.

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