Though the D-backs are taken a risk on a 43-year old pitcher I like the deal. Luis Vizcaino is a decent relief pitcher, but the D-backs still have Brandon Lyon, Brandon Medders, and Jorge Julio to set up for Jose Valverde. Ross Ohlendorf is the best of the three prospects and he is no sure thing. The Yankees wanted Alberto Callaspo, Brandon Medders, and Micah Owings, but Josh Byrnes held out and got a better deal for Johnson. I have serious doubts that the Padres or anyone else were ever in this thing, because if they were the trigger would have been pulled. Besides if Randy wanted to pitch closer to home that means he wants to return to Arizona. Though San Diego is closer, it is still a plane ride away if you want to go home to Arizona.
The risk that the D-backs are taking is paying a 43-year old pitcher $24 million over the next two years. Johnson should benefit from moving to the National League. He recently had back surgery which I believe will help him next year. The reason I believe that is because I had Randy Johnson in a fantasy league last year. Randy had 17 wins, but a high ERA, but he also had a very good WHIP (Walks + Hits/Inning Pitched). Randy’s ERA was high because he gave up the majority of his hits with runners on base while he was throwing from the stretch. The back surgery in my opinion will help his mechanics in the stretch and with the weaker NL lineups his ERA will come down into the threes.
One more benefit for the D-backs is that Randy should also improve attendance some, especially in 2008 when he is going for his 300 win. I know I will want to be there when he is gunning for that monumental victory. One more benefit is that this may insure that Randy goes into the Hall of Fame as a Diamondback. Though most of Randy’s greatest successes have been in a D-back uniform including four Cy Youngs, a World Series Championship, Co-MVP of that World Series, and his 20-strikeout game; he stilled played more years in Seattle. The fact that Randy will have a similar amount of time in Arizona and that he will most likely end his career in AZ I believe will make it a cinch that he will go in as a Diamondback, the organizations first.
Next I will blog about the new uniforms, Luis Gonzalez, and Jerry Colangelo.