2004-12-30T21:30:15.500-08:00The Yanks are reportedly putting the finishing touches on the deal that would bring Randy Johnson to the team, in exchange for Javier Vasquez, $8 - $12 million, and what basically amounts to filler material. Well, Brad Halsey and a prospect (probably Dioner Navarro). Honestly, I've never been one to share George's ambition to win 'at all costs. As a fan, last year I felt a tinge of embarrasment when they acquired Alex Rodriguez. Not only was the team potent as it was constituted, the Yankees went out and assumed the most ridiculous contract in baseball, which Texas was desperately trying to get out of, and managed to also give away a very valuable player in Alfonso Soriano. As they say, a fool and their money soon parted... which won't matter if said fool has a bottomless well from where to draw from. As I examined the Vazquez for Johnson deal, I was reluctant to give it a thumbs up. Johnson is 41 years old, which can be ancient in baseball years. He also makes a huge amount of money ($16 mil through 2005), and is demanding a 2 year contract at the same rate as soon as he's traded, which will be in effect by the time he's 45. Meanwhile Vazquez, who is 28 years old, pitched relatively well (9-5, 3.42 ERA at the break) for the first half of the season, as he was adjusting to the AL batters. I definitely would've held on to Vazquez and be satisfied with the current rotation of Mussina, Pavano, Vazquez, Wright, and Brown. However, we are not talking about an average ballclub, with limited revenue, but with a team that has apparently very little fiscal restraint. The rules of thumb to create a successful team have always been: build through your farm system, develop your current players, avoid dead weight contracts, and add pieces that fit in your clubhouse, not just random parts. All of that has to be thrown out the window when we're talking about the Yankees (well, at least George... I believe Cashman would rather do it the right way). There's relatively little penalty if they are burdened with fat contracts, or if they have to pay to get rid of players whose careers in NY didn't pan out. Most teams that choose to 'load up' for a championship run, successfully (like the '97 Marlins), or unsuccessfully (like the Mets among others), have to go through some sort of rebuilding phase. Not so with the Yankees. So, Giambi's contract is almost as tradeable as a pile of used jockstraps? No problem, they will eat it up and keep on truckin'. Certainly VERY few franchises could do this and stay afloat. Heck, the Sox are semi-handcuffed by Manny's contract and he's an All-Star, perennial MVP candidate, and World Series MVP! The rules just do not apply to the Yankees, so the contract has to be viewed on the basis of the players involved, disregarding the financial 'impact' it will have on the Yankee organization. Looking at the trade from the perspective of 'finances be damned', I would have to be impressed if the trade gets pulled off. The Yankees would be exchanging a solid, 3rd spot pitcher for a 1A+ Hall of Famer ace. As anemic as the D'backs offense was, Johnson was able to pull off 16 wins. With the Yankees, Johnson would have a very good chance at a win even with an off night. Unlike Vazquez, the younger pitcher, who was very inconsistent during the later half of the season (5-5, 6.70 ERA), and really collapsed in the playoffs, Johnson showed no signs of slowing down and got better as the season progressed. He's also been good in the postseason, something which is highly valued in NY, since those are the times the pressure to win is at its highest, and most players either crumble, or rise above. Hopefully Johnson can give the Yankees two good years of service, which barring any injuries appears highly probable. It would pretty much put a lock on the division, unless the Sox can add another significant piece, or their other signings (Wade Miller comes to mind) can fulfill the expectations above and beyond. The Yankees need to put on a show of dominance to once and for all to finally push the people in charge of baseb[...]
2004-12-30T11:27:17.006-08:00This blog will be dedicated to MLB baseball commentary, mostly dedicated to the Northeastern region baseball, which happens to be the area where I live . Comments are welcome, and if you have a baseball-related blog, please feel free to let me know so I can pay your site a visit.