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2006-12-25 15:43
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Ed Price reports that the Yankees and Diamondbacks are talking turkey about sending Randy Johnson back to Arizona. ESPN the Magazine confirms the rumor. Ho Ho Ho.

Comments
2006-12-25 16:48:00
1.   randym77
ESPN radio said the "major leaguer" that would be traded for RJ is outfielder Eric Byrnes. If they get him, they'll pull the trigger on the Melky for Gonzo deal.
2006-12-25 17:19:47
2.   Simone
So Randy Johnson is bailing. Incredible. Doesn't he want to redeem himself? What is going on here?
2006-12-25 17:27:24
3.   randym77
Randy Johnson hates New York. And I think he realizes he doesn't have what it takes to succeed here. The NL is where old pitchers go in the twilight of their careers.

I actually think this deal could make sense. The D-backs need starting pitching, and a big-name star to get buns in the seats. The fans remember Randy, and they'll turn out in hopes of seeing him get his 300th win. He still lives there, and he wants to go back. He's got a ring. He's playing for stats and money now, and if he can get that in Arizona instead of New York, he'd jump at the chance.

And the Yankees would be happy to be free of RJ and his huge salary. I don't know who they'll sign in his place, but they'll be able to get someone, with the money freed up.

2006-12-25 18:09:31
4.   monkeypants
Man, IF he can pull this trade off AND lose a good bit of his salary at the same time, Cashman will most definitely be the man. I still would prefer Melky as the #4 OF (Byrnes' career OBP = .322 = blech), but being able to lift another salary mill stone from the neck...
2006-12-25 18:17:49
5.   jakewoods
Byrnes is a decent 4th OF. Plays hard. Plays with fire. Plays great D. Cant ask for much more.
2006-12-25 18:48:46
6.   OldYanksFan
I'm not a fan of RJ's, but losing him means we lose a SP. We certainly don't need ANOTHER 4th OFer, unless Melky (or Byrnes?) is tradebait.

I like losing his salary, but that's secondary. It's still a loss for our rotation.

2006-12-25 18:56:08
7.   randym77
6 ESPN said the Yanks would trade Melky for Gonzo if they get Byrnes.

There's also talk that the Padres and Scott Linebrink are involved. Maybe get Linebrink for tradebait...or keep him, and trade Proctor?

Dunno what this means for the starting rotation. Pavano? Or will they try to acquire Zito or some other free agent?

2006-12-25 19:16:38
8.   dianagramr
Byrnes for Unit .....?

Do it .... now!

Unless you believe Byrnes had his career year in '06.

2006-12-25 19:38:39
9.   Jim Dean
I want more than Byrnes. Throw in Miguel Montero and it's a deal.

But I'm still not a fan of Gonzo for Melky. Melk will be worth more in June or next winter.

2006-12-25 19:43:55
10.   BklynBmr
A few quick thoughts on the Unit deal...

If the buzz is legit, I say do it. The odds of Johnson returning to '04 form are long. To those who say 'hey, we're turning away 17 wins and 200+ innings' — it's no lock that will happen again. Randy is on the downslide and never bet against the streak. Most of the time you'll be right, Dan Duquette excluded.

No one expected Wang's success last year (who coulda/shoulda had 20+ wins and a Cy). If this lineup stays healthy and rakes 3/4 to expectations, those 17 wins can be replaced by a collective patchwork of arms, let alone one of the youngsters stepping up.

If the Unit goes, we'll need a starter more than a reliever — which presents the following possibility:

a) Randy for (whatever + Brynes)
b) we sign Zito (w/Unit's salary for 1 year at least ;=(
c) the Melky for Gonzo deal is figured out
d) Brynes is the 4th OF and Bernie is done

Not sure how Linebrink or San Diego figures into this, but dayum — just dreaming here — if we could unload Johnson and Pavano in one fell swoop, the Ca$hman monument needs to be commissioned pronto.

Personally, I'm not sure about Zito. He'll handle New York OK, that's not what I'm worried about. I just think the NL would be his best move, not the AL East of all places. IMHO, Zito would be a good number 2 or 3 on the Yanks, but that ain't happening for the jack and years it will take to sign him.

Next week or so should be interesting...

I just hope we can re-sign The Melkman in two or three years ;-)

2006-12-25 19:47:23
11.   OldYanksFan
What is Arizona's motivation? Are they one slightly above average SP away from the PS?

And while Unit is more Useless than Unit, he is still a LH SP in a year that got Lily 4/40. Byrnes.... he of career OPS of .771?
Surely we can do better then that. The Mets could use Unit and would offer more.

2006-12-25 19:50:47
12.   Raf
3 Randy had one good year and one bad year here. I wouldn't be too worried about his supposed inability to pitch here.

I agree with the sentiment that if RJ has to go, I want more than Eric Byrnes for him.

2006-12-25 19:54:50
13.   randym77
11 Arizona needs starting pitching, and a big name star to bring in the fans and sell jerseys. (Something we Yankee fans rarely consider, but it's a big deal to most other teams.) Randy would do that.

Plus there's that whole return of the king thing. Kind of like we're all excited to get Pettitte back, even though we sort of suspect his best years are behind him.

And it's more than just a rumor now. MLB.com has an article up, with people speaking on the record and everything.

However, the D-backs say that so far, they haven't found a match.

Bucco Blog is reporting that Mike Gonzalez Bobblehead Day has been taken off the schedule, and replaced with TBA.

2006-12-25 19:58:05
14.   JeremyM
Yeah, I'm not really sold on this deal--for some reason I think Johnson will have a good year. Plus, for Christmas I just received this really nice framed picture with Yankee jerseys on it, but the thing has last names and numbers on it--the jerseys shown are Rivera, Jeter, and, for some reason, Johnson. Even my fiance, a casual fan at best, thought his name was out of place!

But, if the Yankees can use this money to acquire another pitcher, then I'm sold--either Clemens or yes, the overrated Zito.

2006-12-25 20:01:42
15.   JeremyM
And how crazy is it that the D-Backs might even throw in an extension to Johnson? My God.
2006-12-25 20:05:26
16.   BklynBmr
13 When your Bobblehead Day is scratched, you know you're gone ;-)

What you say makes sense about why the D'Backs need The Unit, plus the PR damage they need to undo with their clumsy release of Luis Gonzalez, as has been reported.

If we get Brynes (and a prospect), and AZ picks up Johnson's remaing contract, how can you not do this deal?

2006-12-25 20:07:06
17.   BklynBmr
15 That's the encouraging part of this so far ;-)
2006-12-25 20:09:56
18.   Count Zero
I thought I heard Byrnes + prospects?

If that's the case, I say yes emphatically. I'm actually looking at this SP with some comfort:

Wang, Mussina, Pettitte, Pavano, Igawa, Rasner, Karstens with mid-season callups for Sanchez and Hughes a distinct possibility.

Adding RJ to that just assures me that he will go out there every fifth day even if he's just as bad as he was last year. Let's face it -- RJ wants his 300 and the Yankees can't afford to leave him in to suck while getting it. The D'backs, on the other hand, will be happy to let him do it. Plus, he likes the hot weather and he can go back to facing eight NL hitters.

Makes a boatload of sense to me if we get Byrnes and prospects.

2006-12-25 20:11:25
19.   thelarmis
byrnes was a 25-25 guy last year. he was supposed to 'replace' gonzo in 07. montero would be really nice.

yeah, if we have byrnes, melky is gone and mike g. is in. with all these power arms stocked up in the pen, anyone think ca$h tries to move Farnstantinople and his hefty contract?

if we're rid of unit, glass carl and farnsy, cash is da man! rotation would start with wang, moose, andy, igawa and a karstens/rasner crapshoot. possibly clemens or phil 'the future' hughes mid-year...

2006-12-25 20:18:40
20.   monkeypants
10 Just say no to Zito.
2006-12-25 20:23:38
21.   randym77
Heyman at SI thinks shopping RJ means the Yanks are jumping in on the Zito sweepstakes.
2006-12-25 20:32:40
22.   BklynBmr
21 Just me, but I think a Yanks 'bombshell' is still coming this off-season, and barring a trade that is on no one's radar screen right now — Zito is the only thing left... not that I like it, but...
2006-12-25 20:42:57
23.   randym77
22 That's basically what Heyman said. He said the Yanks weren't very excited about Zito, but I guess winter meetings showed them there wasn't anything else out there. The Marlins refused to deal Willis or any of their other young pitchers. So who's left but Zito?

And Zito has been making it pretty clear that he wants to play for the Yanks, and would make some salary concessions to do so.

2006-12-25 20:49:03
24.   jakewoods
I think trading RJ means Zito in pinstripes
2006-12-25 21:11:23
25.   monkeypants
[23 If that's true, then meet the new Yanks, same as the old Yanks. "What kind of reasoning is: well, we don't really like what's out there, but Zito's the best of the bottom of the barrel. OK, let's sign him (inevitably for six years and 80 million)."

Isn't this how teams end up saddled with players like, oh i don't know, Pavano?

2006-12-25 21:11:48
26.   monkeypants
I meant 23 of course.
2006-12-25 21:29:30
27.   Raf
Zito has a better track record than Pavano & Wright combined. Much, much better
2006-12-25 21:40:38
28.   Jeteupthemiddle
25Well, even if that is the logic, Zito isn't exactly "bottom of the barrel."

Not that I particularly want him, but I wouldn't complain in the slightest (well, I would if the deal were over 5 years) if Zito were to become a Yankee.

2006-12-25 22:03:07
29.   BklynBmr
28 That's exactly where I am with this, Jete — not gung-ho to sign him, but wouldn't jump off the Golden Gate Bridge if we did. I'll defer to Cashman on this one ;-)
2006-12-25 22:11:05
30.   thelarmis
if we can spin pavano (somewhere, anywhere), we'd have 3 lefties (assuming igawa), 2 righties and hopefully some innings eaters. our pen is already strong and may be getting stronger and good kids about to come up.

zito would probably be fine as far as pitching in NY goes. i just don't wanna give crazy amounts of cash and years to a #3 or 4 pitcher, who tallied, what - 99 walks last year.

i'll have to be down w/ whatever cash does. i'd miss melky, but not miss the eunuch. if we got byrnes, i'm a huge fan of the 20-20 club, not that he'd get the opportunity to play enough to get there...

good lord, i'm flapping. sorry, brain is elsewhere at the moment...

2006-12-25 23:19:26
31.   yankeefanjapan
I thought Gonzo was let go by the D-Backs and then picked up by another National League team?
2006-12-26 00:10:15
32.   joejoejoe
I like the idea of Pettitte and Zito on the same staff. Pettitte is about the same height as Zito but with 30 lbs. more muscle due to his Clemens inspired workout. Skinny Zito could benefit by that example. Combine that with Stanford grad Mussina sitting on the bench with him ('Hey Kid, if you stay healthy and pitch until you are my age you'll make a fifth of a billion dollars') and Zito has to like New York. Zito might improve with the Yankees given the confidence that come from the lefty friendly ballpark, run support, and sitting next to two guys with $100M in the bank in Moose and Andy. The future is bright in NYY for Barry Zito. Chien-Ming Wang was 2nd in Cy Young balloting last year with a ERA+ of 121. Zito's career ERA+ is 127. He looks like a young left-handed Bert Blyleven to me. That ain't bad.
2006-12-26 04:28:25
33.   yanklifer
All this tells me something. Cash would not trade RJ unless he is ready to pull the trigger on another starter, it is not Zito. If RJ is traded, The Rocket is coming back.
2006-12-26 04:45:12
34.   randym77
33 Certainly a possibility, but I think Zito is more likely. One, he's a lefty, like RJ. The Red Sox suck against lefties. (Well, they did last year, anyway.) Two, I don't think Clemens wants to play full-time. I'm not sure he's physically capable of it any more. I doubt the Yankees will go along with his not traveling with the team and all that.

Though if the starting rotation isn't working out, they may consider signing him for half a year.

2006-12-26 05:33:19
35.   Simone
I'm not thrilled with Eric Byrnes, but better than nothing. I do hope that means that the Yankees are entering the Zito sweepstakes because the rotation looks even more shaky without Johnson.
2006-12-26 05:37:47
36.   jakewoods
I dont think any Yank fan will be crying if Zito is in pinstripes. A little better going into the season with him in the rotation than a Darrel Rasner.
2006-12-26 06:10:31
37.   sabernar
Byrnes isn't all that, though he's decent defensively, and it looks like last season might have been a career year for him. At the very least, he's a decent #4 OF. Remember, though, he doesn't walk much, he strikes out at a decent clip, and his OBP isn't that high. Oh yeah, and he'll be 31 years old next year. Not exactly a spring chicken.

Zito's worst record over the past 3 years is against the Yankees and the Red Sox (both ERAs over 6). That being said, his ERA was under 4 last year, and he's young. I'd definately welcome him on the team, just as long as he can live comfortably as a Yankee. Hopefully having Damon on the team will help him adjust.

I'm all for trading Randy, but we need to get something for him besides Byrnes. Like someone above said, Montero (catcher) would be fantastic (John Sickels gives him a B+). I also heard about Micah Owings, who would also be very good (rated a B by Sickels). Hopefully a bidding war between the Padres and DBacks will get us a bit more. Part of me hopes that the Padres will get him and that we trade for Linebrink so that we don't have to trade Melky for Gonzo, though Gonzo (assuming healthy) would be a great addition to the bullpen.

2006-12-26 07:59:12
38.   OldYanksFan
15 RJ needs another year to hit 300 wins. My guess is that win #300 will prompt the biggest spectical Arizona has ever seen.

8 ESPN's Park Factors seem screwed up. If anyone has a link to Park Factors, please post it. Best I can tell, Arizona has a HR factor of 1.25 or so. If you consider the Yankee HR factor for RH hitters (to Left Field), my guess is the HR factor is under 0.90. Byrnes will NOT be a HR hitter as a Yankee... and has historically POOR offensive numbers (0.771 OPS career) for a corner OF'er. I'd MUCH rather have Melky then Byrnes.

18 Historically, the odds of prospects becoming MLB impact players is EXTREMELY low. Just a prospect (or 2) is worthless, unless they are a very highly rated prospect.
Remember: Lily 4/40. Meche 5/55. As much as WE want to dump RJ, with only a 1 years contract and being a Lefty, and being Randy... he still has value.

20 Absolutely. Another contract for 5/90!!!! It's RJ/K.Brown all over again. Hopefully an impact pitcher for the short term, probably a buttplug for the long term. Just say NO to ANY long term contracts with Pitchers.

22 Agreed. Cashman is sneaky smart. He is the living persona of 'The Yanks don't NEED anyone... and will still win' and other GMs should be honored just to be considered by him. He is the Anti-Steinbrenner, I love it!

27 Yes... Zito is still good, but so were RJ and K.Brown. There are too many good pitchers becoming FA's over the next 2 years to invest longterm in any pitcher not named Santana.

34 Don't know if it's happening, but we only NEED a good Roger for Aug/Sept and OCTOBER.

36 This is true... but NOT for 5/6 years and 100mil. We WILL be crying in 2009 or so.
Cashman must keep us the Yoga Yankees. Powerful but very flexible.

2006-12-26 08:06:09
39.   OldYanksFan
A last note: We do need another impact pitcher, especially if RJ goes. But this is December. We have until July to go get one.
And there is a small possibility we already have one on the farm for 2007. We know we have 1 or 2 for 2008.

I believe our bad pitching contracts of 2005 cost us Beltran. If we invest 100mil in Zito, who will that cost us in 2008 or 2009?

2006-12-26 10:22:47
40.   Raf
38 My point had more to do with 25's post. You can't compare Zito and Pavano. They aren't even close. At least you can justify going after Zito, given his track record. Pavano just happened to luck into a career year when his turn came up for free agency.

39 You're probably right about Beltran. Thank you Pavano, Wright & Womack... However, IMO, they could've gotten by with season with Lofton in CF, but it seems he was buried for whatever reason. But hey, what's done is done.

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