I like where this is going: D-Backs confirm interest in Yanks’ Big Unit
I know the arguments for keeping him (Trading Unit a big, bad idea): it’s not like the Yankees are awash with starting pitching that they can just trade some away; Johnson, despite his inflated ERA wasn’t terrible last season (not an argument I necessarily agree with); etc.
But I just can’t shake the feeling that he’s done. So many times last year, Mrs. G and I would watch him pitching and say to each other “he’s done.” He’s just not dominant anymore. Sure, maybe if we didn’t expect dominating from him, we wouldn’t be disappointed, but the fact is, sometimes he looked downright terrible. That’s not what you want from your $16 million/year.
Now he’s 473 years old, coming off some nagging injuries (including back surgery, which Bill Simmons once had a funny and sarcatic line about those healing up quickly with no lingering effects, but I just can’t find it anywhere, so take my decidedly unfunnny word for it, mmm-kay?) and I just think Randy Johnson won’t approximate a good pitcher this year.
Aside: I am heading this off at the pass right now, but if he goes to the National League (or even some AL Team with a huge pitchers’ park, like Seattle) and has a good season, I will not accept arguments that I was wrong. Same goes for Barry Zito when he eventually pitches for the Mets. His 2.85 ERA in the NL and at Shea would be mediocre in my mind. If he’s as good as Boras wants us to think, he should pitch to an ERA of 1.28 at Shea. End of Aside.
So, now you understand why the news that the Yankees are exploring trade opportunities (not exactly “shopping” him, because they are under no pressure to trade him) and with the mandate that they won’t pay any of the money due him, and they are looking to get younger, deeper and less expensive, I think this is great. Factoring in that there are several teams that are interested, and there isn’t the depressed, one-team-bidding-under-pressure-like market, this could turn out well for the Yankees.
That said, if the first words out of Cashman’s mouth when talking to Jeff Moorad weren’t “Brandon Webb” I’m disappointed. And if Moorad jokingly says “if you want Webb, you’ll have to send us Johnson, Pavano, Melky Cabrera, Eric Duncan, 16 mid-level prospects and $25 million in cash” then I don’t let a second go by before I say “Deal.” I like to dream. You can’t overpay for an Ace. Webb is an Ace, Zito isn’t. (Good Lord, this better not be freeing up payroll for a Zito run. Ugh.)