Friday, December 17, 2004

We've all heard the rumors around Randy Johnson. In the proposed three-team trade, the Yankees would get Randy, the Diamondbacks would get Shawn Green, Brad Penny and Yhency Brazoban and the Dodgers would get Javier Vazquez and prospects Dioner Navarro and Eric Duncan. Here's why it won't happen:

First of all, the deal is contingent on Green waiving his no-trade clause. No way he does this. Even though everyone in La La Landhates him because he can't stop sucking, the Dodgers are a better team. He won't be willing to go to the god-awful D-backs.

Secondly, the Yanks are the only team here that would benefit. Yes, the D-backs would get very good players in Penny and Green. But — oh yeah — they lose one of the best pitchers in baseball. The Dodgers would give up these very good players for a very mediocre player. Vazquez is anything but a dependable pitcher. He's clearly not an upgrade over Penny. So why would the Dodgers do this trade?

According to Jayson Stark, the Dodgers banked on resigning Beltré, which makes sense because they would lose an important power hitter in Green in this trade. Now there's no way in hell the Dodgers do this.

Unfortunately, this trade would be good for the Astros. The Yankees appear to me a tad more tightly-wound this season. I heard rumors that the Yankees (i.e. Steinbrenner) were lying about how much dough they were raking in with their t.v. contract. So they might be a little more frugal than normal. And if they did acquire Randy, they'd no doubt have to pay all of his $17 million salary. That would definitely bind their wallets, along with the signings of Pavano and Wright, and give us the edge in the Beltran sweepstakes. But that's cool.

Hey, check this out. I wanted to look at two rebuilding teams, the Diamondbacks and the Mariners. Both are coming off horrific seasons in which they half-expected to contend. Then injuries and sucking caught up to them, and they lost 210 games between them. Ouch. Now both are trying to bring back their fan base with big free-agent signings and the promise of an exciting season in 2005.

First, Jack's new hometown team, the Diamondbacks. Ah, those lovable, scrappy kids. They play the game the way it was meant to be played and give 110% heart and so on. Of course, they have to play all those kids because they gave up half their starting lineup this time last year for one bum shoulder. Yeah, that deal really panned out.

But not to worry, they just brought back the crown jewel of that trade. That's right. Craig Counsell is back. And by gummit, he's waving that bat even higher than ever. Unfortunately he's one of EIGHT infielders (Cintron, Clayton, Gil, Hairston, Hillenbrand, Kata, Tracy) who share two things in common: they have nowhere to play and they suck.

And it looks as though they replaced Sexson's bum shoulder with another in Mr. Troy Glaus. Ah, and even though they're trying as hard as they can to get rid of Randy, they won't let Russ Ortiz slip away. Ugh. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the 2005 Diamondbacks:

Luis Terrero? - CF
Cintron / Clayton - SS
Glaus - 3B
Gonzo - LF
Hillenbrand - 1B
Hammock - C
Josh Kroeger? - RF
Hairston / Kata / Counsell - 2B

Doof. Fugly. Pug Fugly. Wait a second... what's that I hear? A Diamondbacks executive in the distance? I can... I can barely make it out... I think he's saying the Diamondbacks are close to acquiring a power-hitting outfielder. Unless it's Manny or Sosa, I don't think a Kevin Mench or a Craig Wilson is gonna put them over the top. That lineup... well, it's just not a good lineup.

Their rotation doesn't get much better:
Randy (probably gone)
Russ Ortiz (probably sucks)
Brandon Webb (might not suck)
Edgar Gonzalez (definitely sucks)
Casey Fossum (A&M alum! But he sucks left-handed)
If / when Randy leaves, bring in Gracie!

The 2005 Diamonbacks might very well be worse than the 2004 Diamondbacks. And they'll have the overrated, underacheiving Glaus and Ortiz for years to come. Good thing I don't live in Arizona.

Let's move north, where it looks like the Mariners might actually contend next season. I initially thought their free-agent singings were as bad as the D-backs. Beltre and Sexson are obviously a better pair than Glaus and Ortiz. But Sexson's shoulder might blow out on him at any time, and Beltre just might not produce. I can see him getting frustrated within a month because his homerun totals are down. Then he starts pressing, like he did for six years with the Dodgers. It could get ugly. Or he could dominate. You just never know. Check out their lineup:

Ichiro RF
Winn CF
Sexson 1B
Beltre 3B
Boone 2B
Ibañez LF
Reed / Jacobsen DH
Olivo / Wilson C
Jose Lopez SS

That's pretty solid. Boone is capable of big things (see 2001), and both Ibañez and Winn can put up OBPs near .350. I know baseball stat lovers like to dismiss Ichiro as an overrated player. Sure, he doesn't take as many walks as your prototypical leadoff hitter. But as my buddy Ryan says, who needs to take walks when you hit .370?

Mariners Rotation:
Some other guy

Yikes. Didn't these guys all win 10 games before the All-Star break two years ago? Now it just looks BAD. But if Moyer pitches like he did when he was 45, he can be solid. Lucky for the Mariners, the A's have started their decline. Tim Hudson's departure marks in my mind the end of an era in Oakland. Sure they have Mulder, Zito, Harden and my boy Kirk Saarloos. But I don't see them staying atop the baseball world without Hudson. He's just sooo good. The Angels will still take the West, but the Mariners will be with them til the end. One more pitcher (a Matt Clement or Derek Lowe type) and they might just take it.

Ok. Til next time. Ta ta.

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