Looking Forward, Johnson Rumors

I hope you are having an excellent holiday season. I’m still recovering from bad science fiction movies, but other than that, all is well.

Two quick items on the table today. First, my latest article is up at Hardball Times. It’s a silly list of wishes for each of the 30 teams for the coming year. Very little Padres content.

The second item involves a nasty little rumor about Randy Johnson possibly coming to San Diego. The price is believed to be reliever Scott Linebrink.

Two thoughts:

  • The Padres already traded George Kottaras for David Wells. If they insist on sticking an ancient left-hander at the back of the rotation, why not work something out with the guy they already gave up something to get?
  • If the Padres weren’t willing to give Linebrink for Marcus Giles, a good young second baseman, then why would they be willing to do so for a 43-year-old pitcher coming off a 5.00 ERA season?

Apparently Johnson wants to be closer to his Arizona home. The Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants and Angels are thought to be other possible destinations for him. Honestly, I wouldn’t have a problem with him ending up in any of those places, especially if it costs one of the NL West clubs a good young player or two.

57 Responses »

  1. No way we give up Kouz. We don’t have a 3B without him, aside from Branyan. Makes no sense.

    As for Linebrink for Johnson, I added up their VORP for the last four years: RJ: 141.9; LJ: 97.5; average: 35.5 vs 24.4. So, yes, an edge for Johnson, but not a huge one. I am guessing they will be about even in 2007. I would get Wells if we could (don’t have to give up anything).

  2. I don’t believe Kouzmanoff would be dealt either. Too bad we can’t throw something in to make it Linebrink + ? for RJ and Licky Cabrera.

  3. 51: It’s all a matter of where you draw the line. If we went for WARP over the last 3 years, Johnson’s been 9.2 wins better than Linebrink. Most of that was in his dominant 2004, though. Go for just the last 2 years and the gap is only 2.4 wins, which is still a real gap, it’s hard for any one player to be worth a full win over a true major leaguer.

    The other question is upside. Scotty’s 30 years old. He’s not going to start striking out 2 per inning. He’s a very good reliever, you can expect him to be worth 3-4 more wins than replacment level. As “bad” as Johnson was last year, his WARP was 3.6. But there’s a chance he can get you 7 wins above replacement, and Linebrink can’t. The flameout risk is higher on Johnson, but so’s the reward.

  4. I don’t think it really matters in the long run, KT is just driving up the price for the D-backs who probably want Johnson to retire in purple and teal. The D-backs will end up taking on way to much of Jonson’s contract and giving up one of their many good prospects.

  5. I heard that Randy Johnson lost his brother recently and that’s why he asked Cashman for a trade from the Yankees. He does have no trade clause, I think. Also, the Diamondbacks are still owing him money from the last contract Johnson had with them, getting Johnson back into the new red uniform will, supposedly, allow the Dbacks to rework that payment plan.

    My guess, no way is he coming to San Diego. And even if the Padres has to trade for Johnson, there is no reason to do it now. Didn’t Johnson just had a back surgery? Counting on him to throw 200 plus innings is probably not very wise. I saw a couple of Johnson’s start last season and I believe that he has become hittable. Maybe the back was bothering him a lot.

    However, if he’s healthy, a straight swap for Linebrink is worth it. Still, for the amount of money that the Padres are going to pay for Johnson, and the fact that the price of a reliever has gone way way up, I’d be very careful on evaluating Johnson’s health.

  6. Padres are definitely in this to drive up the price for AZ.
    They can get a way better deal than Johnson for Linebrink.