Tuesday, January 9, 2007

She's only seventeen (sev-en-teen)

The one thing I keep hearing about the Randy Johnson trade is how can the Yankees replace those 17 wins per year he earned. I see it in letters columns, in articles, on the radio, pretty much any format that covers sports. People are too hung up on wins. The only reason Johnson got 17 wins was because the team behind him led the Majors in runs, RBI, OBP and came in 3rd in SLG%. ERA is a bad indicator of success but it's much better than wins, and if you're asking how the Yankees can replace a FIVE ERA - that's 5.00 - they can do so very easily.

Granted, Johnson had a phenomenal WHIP - 1.18 over the two seasons - and he had a K/9 ratio of 8, which is pretty good. He had a BB/9 of 2.24 and a HR/9 of 1.25 (60 home runs in 67 starts), which is better than average. These are reasonable arguments in favor of Johnson, but his proponents are not savvy enough to figure this out, I guess.

He wasn't the ace he was in Arizona, however, partly because he's 90 years old with a bad back, and the Yankees got four players in return: RHP Luis Vizcaino (9.9 K/9, 1.22 WHIP in '06) plus minor league pitchers Ross Ohlendorf and Steven Jackson, as well as minor league shortstop Alberto Gonzalez. The Yankees get younger and cheaper. No one can complain about that.

The Yankees rotation to start 2007 will be Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettite, Kei Igawa, and an as yet unknown prospect, or even Carl Pavano should he have enough oil to make his parts work. That's not too bad.

Everyone is happy: the Yankees, Randy Johnson (closer to home), and presumably the Diamondbacks, although I don't know why they would give up so much just to get an old man, albeit a great pitcher. I guess they expect him to have a revival. Still, it's a lot for two years of one good pitcher.

P.S. - Arizona swapping their purple and turquoise colors for red and gray is stupid. Lots of teams have red as their primary or prominent color; only one had purple. On the other hand, I like the new arm patch.

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