Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Bye Bye Barry
2006-12-28 10:20
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Barry Zito signed with the Giants for many years and much money. No No New York.

Comments (52)
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2006-12-28 10:26:13
1.   Suffering Bruin
So... how does trading Randy Johnson look now?

Myself, I still think the Yankees should do it. If the Diamondbacks are willing to trade some prospects and a big-leaguer for 43-year old Randy Johnson than speaking as a Dodger fan, I say God bless the Diamondbacks in their efforts.

2006-12-28 10:32:50
2.   monkeypants
I posted this in the thread below, but since the relevant discussion has moved here:

If that's what it took to get him, good riddance. This is a pretty good outcome, actually--he goes to the NL, and his signing MAY pressure the Dodgers, Padres, and DBacks to take a longer look at RJ.

OK, that last part was really wishful thinking.

2006-12-28 10:34:31
3.   pistolpete
I would still make the Johnson deal, but that's just my unwillingness to suffer through one more season of Captain Grumpypants talking.

Go get a backup catcher, some more bullpen help, and try to make it until the trading deadline with Wang, Moose and Andy.

2006-12-28 10:40:08
4.   standuptriple
The signing makes the always mediocre NL West more competitive and thus increases the value of RJ to the D-Backs and Padres. We used to be able to get some favorable trades from SD. I wouldn't mind a rerun of that.
I think it's a great deal for Zito (aside from the $/yrs). He doesn't have to move, already has a decent fan base and gets to anchor a pretty decent looking young staff in a great pitchers park/division. Now all they need is to stop hiring old OFers and he could thrive.
2006-12-28 10:41:34
5.   Jeteupthemiddle

"The New York Yankees are seeking a package of three young pitchers from the Diamondbacks for Randy Johnson, including at least one reliever, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations.

The Yankees have expressed interest in right-handed setup man Brandon Medders, the source said, in addition to several of the five starting pitchers the D-Backs consider candidates for the two available spots in their 2007 rotation — Edgar Gonzalez, Enrique Gonzalez, Dustin Nippert, Ross Ohlendorf and Micah Owings."

Good prospects, but position players would be fun.

2006-12-28 10:41:48
6.   vockins
[hollering with joy]
2006-12-28 10:45:20
7.   ChrisS
Trade RJ for a AA/AAA catcher that can get the ball to second and not look like competely clueless at the plate and we're golden.

Too bad the D-backs got rid of Navarro already. I'd like to call that one back.

2006-12-28 10:46:29
8.   Alvaro Espinoza
6 Ditto!

This can only fuel more Unit talks.


2006-12-28 10:51:25
9.   BklynBmr
7 years. Wow. Well, Zito's greatgrandkids are set, if nothing else. Gotta admit my eyes did glaze over for a moment when the Unit/Zito chatter was peaking, but I'm very happy CashMoney didn't try anything close to this.

And to boot: "There's a club option for an eighth season that will vest automatically if Zito pitches 200 innings in the final year of the deal, or 400 in the final two years or 600 in the final three years. After that option vests, it becomes a player option and Zito can accept or decline it." (— SF Chron)

2006-12-28 10:51:28
10.   ChrisS
Despite his recent history, and I'm being cautiously optimistic, the Yanks still have Pavano to slot in the four spot. Then with Igawa, Karstens, Rasner, and possibly Sanchez later in the year, rotating through the fifth spot until someone claims it.

Without RJ, the staff is still in decent shape. In fact, I'd prefer it. This way all the media can focus on what an awful season Arod is having as he racks up typical Arod numbers instead of focusing on RJ's knees and back imploding.

2006-12-28 10:52:34
11.   Alvaro Espinoza
7 He's got a great name:

Dioner Favian (Vivas) Navarro

Bob Sheppard would have a field day with that one. Don't know why the "Vivas" is parenthetical (nickname?) but that's how Baseball Reference lists him.

2006-12-28 11:18:24
12.   monkeypants
10 He really is the great variable in the whole equation. Sure, it's easy to make fun of him, and he has done little to make anyone think he even wants to pitch. But no one could have expected how little action he would actually see. I suspected he would be bad, but not invisible.

So, yeah, if Pavano can put in a full year of league average or even slightly worse pitching, you have already replaced RJ.

2006-12-28 11:24:46
13.   JoeInRI
11 Vivas would be his mother's maiden name. It is common to include the name in Hispanic culture.
2006-12-28 11:29:06
14.   rbj
$136 mil/7 years? That's too rich for my blood. I'm glad Cashman didn't try to top that.

Gee, there've been a bunch of big contracts this year, but none by the Yankees. How are they going to compete with all these other teams spending like drunken sailors.

2006-12-28 11:34:49
15.   monkeypants
14 Come on rbj, it's all the Yankees fault, didn't you hear? These other teams can't compete with the free spending Yankees. the Yankees just buy championships by signing every free agent available. Take off your pinstriped glasses and see the baseball world for what it really is.
2006-12-28 11:36:28
16.   tommyl
15 The baseball world has been quaking since we signed Miranda for $2M/4 years. Everyone else wants to rest the headlines away from that blockbuster signing.
2006-12-28 11:45:33
17.   joejoejoe
7 Arizona has a platoon planned of two young catchers - RH Chris Snyder and LH Miguel Montero (both throw right). I'd take either one and B prospects back if the D-Backs pick up all of RJ's salary.
2006-12-28 11:46:09
18.   standuptriple
16 And don't forget the lack-of-drama Igawa signing. No (overly publicized) cross country trips, police escorts, 11th hour negotiations? What is this world coming to?
2006-12-28 11:47:58
19.   tommyl
18 Don't worry, Boston fans will still complain about how we went out and bought a championship this offseason. Its just all they know how to do.
2006-12-28 12:13:49
20.   pistolpete
19 Sigh, if only there was a championship to be bought. Believe me, I'll take it.
2006-12-28 12:55:10
21.   Jim Dean
Wonderful market shift to help move Unit! And for a catcher would be really n-i-c-e!

7 Take a look at the shiny Miguel Montero in the window and pray with me:

Heck, even if the D'backs think Montero is ready, at least get Chris Snyder ( in a package with one or two A/AA pitchers.

2006-12-28 13:00:20
22.   Jim Dean
17 Sorry, missed that - I agree completely. Or if it helps, even throw in some cash (~2-4mil) - unless Cashman is making them remember that they're still getting cash to offset Vazquez's salary.

Either way, if either team even remotely wants to get this done, there's no reason it shouldn't happen, and no reason a catcher shouldn't be returned as a part of it!

2006-12-28 13:10:50
23.   Schteeve
So it's just south of what Jeter makes a year on average for 3 fewer years. I believe Jeter was 26 when he signed his deal, and I believe Zito is 29.

Jeter plays every day, Zito every fifth. Pretty crazy how the economics of MLB have changed in just a few years.

2006-12-28 13:11:46
24.   Schteeve
And I'll add, I'm very happy the Yankees aren't the one of the teams handing out long term big dollar contracts this offseason. Cashman is going about things the right way.
2006-12-28 13:25:06
25.   mehmattski
Ditto 6 I wonder how Zito will feel being the youngest guy on the team by like 7 or 8 years...

Off topic, but I got a chuckle out of this today in the Ledger:

Angels: Outfielder Juan Rivera had surgery to repair the left leg he broke playing winter ball in Venezuela last week. Orthopedic surgeon Michael Abrahams operated on Rivera in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., inserting a rod into Rivera's left tibia and screws at the top and bottom of the fracture.

They inserted A-Rod? I hope that surgeon knows what he's doing. It's only going to break on Rivera in a key situation...

2006-12-28 13:53:06
26.   randym77
The "At Bat" blog argues that this was basically a takeout bid:

They made him an offer he couldn't so high Boras knew no other team would match it.

2006-12-28 17:17:41
27.   mikeplugh
7 years and $126 million!!??

That is brilliantly stupid. Does SF have the kind of team that is missing that one last piece to win it all? How do you blow $18 million a season over 7 years on a guy that doesn't throw very hard? Oh yeah, that's the team that traded Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano for beans.....

2006-12-28 18:14:00
28.   jakewoods
I love where people say its too much. Well, how do you know? Are you privy to the Giants finances? Its the going rate for SP's now and everyone better get used to it. Especially when they are free agents. No player is "worth" the money unless they're making the min.

But the industry is obviously flush with cash or they wouldnt be paying these rates. This isnt just one guy. Its every team. it's the way things are now. If Zambrano hits the market he'll make 20 a yr. Cabrera too. Even the freaking Royals gave Meche a huge deal and 5 years.

2006-12-28 18:25:40
29.   Peter
Tim Marchman thinks the Yankees should hold on to Randy.
2006-12-28 18:29:51
30.   randym77
29 I think they might, now that Zito is unavailable. I suspect the plan was to trade RJ and use the money to get Zito. Now that Zito's unavailable, trading Randy loses its appeal. Unless they think they can land Willis or someone like that.
2006-12-28 18:41:24
31.   mikeplugh
jake....Here's why many think it's too much.

The soft cap is $148 million, before you get smacked with a penalty tax. The Bombers paid $26 million last year for being over the 2006 "cap". That makes a non-ace cost prohibitive at $18 million a season when you have 24 other guys on your active roster to pay. If you have one of the top farm systems in the world as a source of cheap top caliber talent, maybe overpaying for Zito makes sense. If you're close and can put yourself over the top.

The Giants have many, many, many holes in their team and a poor farm system. They were ranked #18 out of 30 by BA in 2006, and that was including Matt Cain in the mix. Now he's with the big league team.

The team was 24th in all of baseball in runs scored last season, and they start the following players as of today:

C Bengie Molina (32)
1B Rich Aurilia (35)
2B Ray Durham (35)
SS Omar Vizquel (39)
3B Pedro Feliz (31)
LF Barry Bonds (42)
CF Dave Roberts (34)
RF Randy Winn (32)

Look at how old that team is! Look at the ages in parentheses next to their names! There isn't a guy under 31 on the whole roster. They have no one on the farm, and they stink. That team doesn't need to sign the "best available pitcher" in this economic climate. Are they going to compete in a division where San Diego, Arizona, and the Dodgers all have better 2007 teams AND far superior farm systems?! The answer is no.

It's really more about the years. If you are going to sign ANY pitcher for 7 years, you'd better be sure that you're going to win it all at some point in that contract. You'd better be sure that your team is going to be ultra-competitive for the length of that contract and that the pitcher in question is going to earn his keep. Otherwise, you just tie up a big salary in a guy that is as good to you as a Major League minimum.

2006-12-28 18:54:40
32.   mikeplugh
I just looked at it again, and it seems the Giants will be about $100 million next season and they won't even make the playoffs. That's bordering on criminally insane spending.
2006-12-28 19:00:27
33.   Jeteupthemiddle
I don't know.

That is a pretty pitiful division.

I wouldn't be shocked if the Giants made the playoffs--might only take 85 wins.

Even so, it is criminally insane.

2006-12-28 19:09:04
34.   monkeypants
28"Its the going rate for SP's now and everyone better get used to it. Especially when they are free agents."


I'm a big fan of "the market" and all, but I don't see why teams have to 'get used to' these prices. The market works both ways. The 'going rate' is not some thing that is fixed in stone.

Don't teams have the option of simply not paying exorbitant rates and simply use minor leaguers for leagu minimum salaries, especially if the results are likely to be about the same?

I'm not saying this is the case with Zito, but you cite Meche as an example. The Royals could easily get comparable production for a fraction of the cost.

2006-12-28 19:12:56
35.   mikeplugh
33 Yeah Jete, they could make the playoffs in that awful NL, but they aren't guaranteed by any means. If you are spending $100 million on a team and you don't make the playoffs, there's cause for fans to revolt.

It seems that more and more teams are trying to just win one WS. There's no other way to explain why a team like the Giants, with no farm and a bunch of old guys would spend that kind of money. The smart money, in my opinion, would be to turn that $126 million into 5 or 6 good homegrown prospects and shoot for being the team of the 2010s. That would be far more interesting to me as a fan. That's just me though.

2006-12-28 19:18:35
36.   monkeypants
35 This is why I have not been scandalized by the various 'firesales' by the Padres and Marlins. They (and the A's) seem to do a pretty good job of developing players, signing a few veterans, and then dumping them when the price outweighs performance--all while staying generally pretty competitve (and a number of WS appearances between them in the last 10 years).
2006-12-28 19:19:12
37.   randym77
Maybe they just want a star to sell jerseys and get butts in the seats. They've got one, in Barry Bonds, but it's starting to look like he won't be around next season.
2006-12-28 19:25:23
38.   Orly Yarly NoWai
RE Johnson: I'd merely like to point out that he wasn't all that bad last year. A couple things jumped out at me:

1) he left a comparatively small portion of baserunners on base. With the bases empty, he pitched like an ace. With runners on, they scored. His numbers will improve if he goes back to league average.

2) He suffered from a high BABIP. Again, if he has average luck, he'll be better than he was last year.

3) With runners on base, he had a much larger HR/FB ratio than with the bases empty.

4) Otherwise, he posted pretty decent peripherals.

I wouldn't mind trading him, but it's not an imperative. He's still a good pitcher.

2006-12-28 19:28:39
39.   Orly Yarly NoWai
I think Zito's going to be fine for a while, especially in the NL. Further, this is probably the second-worst deal of the off-season, behind the Meche one.
2006-12-28 19:31:31
40.   Rich
People like Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman fatuously write that Zito chose the Giants over the Yankees (among other teams), which is absurd because they never made him an offer.
2006-12-28 19:32:41
41.   Aviezer
I have recently seen comments from people who say basically that if 2 of our propects turn out to be viable starters in the majors we should think that that is par for the course. The proponents of this idea are missing a very important point. Seldom in baseball does a farm system have a crop of starting prospects this deep and talented. Hughes, Clippard, Sanchez, Karstens, Rasner, and Steven White are all at least semi proven in the higher minors, and are a good bet to be at least servicable pitchers. Not that all will be aces, that won't happen, but at least two will propably pitch servicably in the majors. Rasner and Karstens have already made the majors and were not bad while there. This is only at the AAA level.

At AA we have Marquez, and Wright (not Jaret, although he wouldn't be out of place pitching 5 innings a day). Marquez in particular has talent.

At A+ we will have Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain. They profile as at least #3 with Joba a bona fide #1.

At A we are stacked with Betances, McAllister, Norton, Kontos, and Angel Reyes.

Not all will be big leaguers, we know, that but it is not impossible that by 2010 we could have 4 pitchers from the farm in our rotation. Not all will make it, but Wang is already there and ther could be many more to follow.

2006-12-28 19:34:07
42.   Rich
38 Johnson's back wouldn't permit him to pitch out of the stretch (i.e., runners on) so his poor stats weren't the result of bad luck. Whether or not the surgery will enable him to be effective from the stretch is an open question.
2006-12-28 19:44:29
43.   David
The crazy Zito contract makes Johnson more valuable. Say Johnson has a 50% chance of throwing around 200 innings at an ERA < 4.0. Paying $16m for that on a 1-year basis doesn't look so bad, compared with the Giants' 7-year commitment to Zito

I hope only trade Johnson if they get in return

-- good value
-- where they need it (i.e., not more relief pitching prospects)

2006-12-28 20:16:43
44.   Chyll Will
Do you believe Zito will get the same type of run support in SF as he would in NY on either team or with LA for that matter? Not a chance. This was pure equity-notion for the Giants as opposed to competing. And again, few people are going to turn down that kinda of money.

Besides, if Zito gets tired of losing, all he has to do is start whining like most gazillionaire athletes on loser teams or sick PitBoras on the GM and get himself traded, then exercise his traded-in-mid-contract rights and become a free agent again.

By the way, I see this contract mainly as as Boras recouping the money on the table that DM left in Boston. Verrry simple. There's always someone insecure enough to make a bad deal these days.

2006-12-28 20:18:35
45.   Chyll Will
44 sick [sic]... well, you get it.
2006-12-28 20:19:09
46.   mikeplugh
44 I disagree on one point Chyll. Boras wanted this kind of money for Zito all along, and that's in addition to the $12-$15 million he was trying to get for Matsuzaka. He has no conscience and no limit to his hunger for big money contracts.

That's why he's the best at what he does.

2006-12-28 20:22:37
47.   Orly Yarly NoWai
42 Hopefully, surgery will help him in that regard, but having average luck when balls are hit into play with men on base will also help a lot.

I don't expect him to be awesome, but to be servicable.

2006-12-29 03:28:38
48.   sabernar
I read somewhere that the Yankees are holding out on trading Randy until they can get Conor Jackson, Quentin, or Tracy. If we can get one of those guys, trading Randy would be a coup. Conor is the RH 1B that we've been looking for. I say that we should even eat some of his contract if we can get Conor.
2006-12-29 04:39:49
49.   mikeplugh
48 That would be a coup. I hear the Yankees were asking for 3 top prospects, and the D'Backs laughed. Cash must have been setting the bar high, so he can negotiate down and pick the one he wants. At least I hope that's the case.

On the Zito thing...I've had all day to reflect on it, and I still can't wrap my head around it. I can't wait to see the Giants sitting at home next postseason with Houston and Chicago. All those big spenders will be playing golf.

2006-12-29 05:41:58
50.   Ben
Comment # 50?

I can see Zito performing well enough in the NL to rationalize a big contract. That being said, that's a pretty big effing contract!

Glad he's not our albatross.

Here's hoping we've seen our last of Randy "the stork" Johnson. Can't stand watching that guy throw.

My stupid prediction: Pavano is comeback player of the year. Don't give up on him Cash. This time he really, really has changed.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-12-29 05:59:35
51.   mikeplugh
So the rumor is the Yankees are close on a deal that would net them 2 of the following 3 D'Backs pitchers:

Dustin Nippert
Micah Owings
Ross Ohlendorf

None of them makes me jump, but if we can swing two of these guys for Unit, I'd do it. Keeping RJ is also okay with me to be honest, but I'd love to turn a guy that is surely out the door after 2007 into 2 guys that might be around for 10 years if everything works out with them.

If I had to pick, I'd take Micah Owings in a flash, and then maybe Ohlendorf. He's a bit better than Nippert in my estimation, although the 6'7" frame that Nippert brings to the game is imposing. I'd insist on Owings though.

2006-12-29 10:01:24
52.   OldYanksFan
RJ was brought in for one reason only. To bring us a ring in 2005. He doesn't like NY. He has never liked the Yankees. He came here only so we could help him get to 300 wins, and pay through the teeth for the pleasure.

I think if he stays, he will be better then last year. But at this point, he is not that hard to replace, and I'd love to see him GONE. His incident with the NY cameraman before he even donned a Yankee uniform told us all we need to know about RJ.

He is the anti-Murcer. I'd go to the airport to watch him leave.

It's time to build a statue for Cashman. Over then next few years, he will be buying drinks for many GMs and trying to talk them out of slashing their wrists.

If you look at teams salaries in 2005 and now in 2007, Cashman has done a great job closing the gap. He has resisted every pit of quicksand while other teams make deals that make our Pavano and RJ signings seem reasonable.

It's gonna be 1996 all over again pretty soon.
Thank you Brian Cashman.
And God bless Bobby Murcer.

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