Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Big Unit Back to Arizona?

There have been rumors that both San Diego and Arizona are interested in acquiring Randy Johnson. The Dodgers can’t let their advantage in the NL West evaporate – so they have to get involved too. I don’t like this idea because it would be a good move by the Yankees. Here are my thoughts on the situation:

Randy Johnson has a no-trade clause and only one-year left on his contract. That means that Johnson would have to approve a trade and the team trading for him will probably want to add another year with an option year to make it worth them giving up anything of value. Randy Johnson has 280 career wins - so something tells me he'd be willing to sign on for another year just to help guaranty he gets to 300 wins.

Arizona could use Johnson’s arm to help compete in the thin NL West and Johnson would be a fan draw similar to what Roger Clemens has been in Houston. With the new revenue that MLB is flush with coupled by the facts that the Diamondbacks haven’t signed any free agents while they simultaneously had Luis Gonzalez’ $11 million contract come off the books – mean that Arizona should have no problem affording the Big Unit at $16 million per year. Either Connor Jackson or Chad Tracy could be sent back to New York to fill the need at first base.

The Padres supposedly would send either reliever Scott Linebrink or first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in exchange for Randy Johnson but I think Gonzalez would be too much to give up since Randy Johnson wouldn’t have the same fan appeal for the Padres as he would have in Arizona. Besides if the Padres want a 40-year plus old pitcher – it would make more sense to try and sign David Wells.

The Dodgers could in theory send over James Loney in exchange for Johnson and that would give the Dodgers the best starting rotation in the NL (Jason Schmidt, Johnson, Brad Penny, Derek Lowe and Randy Wolf). The problem is that the Dodgers already have Chad Billingsley as the 5th starter and all things considered – I would go with the cheap, young, healthy Billingsley over the expensive, old, and injury plagued Johnson.

Getting rid of Johnson would free up a starting spot in the Yankee rotation for Roger Clemens or Barry Zito and hopefully they would get a first baseman in exchange. It has to be said that Johnson got old this season in New York. Every major stat was worse this year for Johnson and my guess is that the Yankees don’t see a rebound in store for 2007. As far me – I really don’t see either Roger Clemens or Barry Zito as a major upgrade over Johnson. What would make it a good deal is getting that young, talented first base man.

Trading Johnson would be a smart move by the Yankees and it appears to me that all the leaks on a deal seem to be coming from New York. That tells me that a deal will be done. A deal with Arizona.

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