Let’s all join together and pray for Steinbrenner to start exerting his will…and quick

December 26th, 2006 → 7:10 pm @ // 18 Comments

Yup: three full days without a post. I’m pretty sure that’s a record. For that, I’m sorry. I know people need to get a break from their families. (Believe me, I know.) And there’s been precious little baseball news out there to serve as a distraction. (No matter how you try to spin it — the impact on the Zito sweepstakes, the NLCS MVP leaving the Cards, whatever — Jeff Suppan signing with the Brewers does not count as news.)

There is, however, one development that shook me out of my holiday stupor, and, I’m sorry to say, it was a distressing one: the confirmation that the Yankees and the Diamondbacks are discussing a deal that would send Randy Johnson back to Arizona. New York’s signing of Johnson was exactly the sort of boneheaded, reactionary move that has defined the Yankees of the modern era (read: since 2000). The Johnson acquisition came about immediately after Schilling had helped lift the Sox to their Series win, a fact which reputedly caused the Boss tell his minions he wanted a “warrior” of his own. He got one — an over-the-hill, overpaid warrior with a crappy attitude and a bad back — when he could have had someone like, say, Carlos Beltran…and that would have made the Yankees frightening.

Those days appear to be over. Suddenly, the Yankees are shedding payroll like they’re the Marlins, and Brian Cashman looks determined to pick up young prospects and jettison the senior citizens collecting outrageous paychecks.

This doesn’t mean the Red Sox and the Yankees will have anywhere near equal payrolls, but it does seem to indicate that Steinbrenner (and his Tampa-based suckups) are no longer making baseball-related decisions. If that’s true, it’s bad news for Boston (and everyone else). A senior member of the team’s baseball ops staff told me last year that the only reason the Sox had a fighting chance against a team with $80 million more in payroll was because New York made such stupefyingly idiotic moves. If that’s not going to be the case anymore, it means the Yankees and the Sox are going to be operating more and more on the same plane…not because, as some would have you believe, the Red Sox have become the Evil Empire II but because the Yankees are starting to act (and yes, it hurts to say this) intelligently.

Gulp. Two thousand and seven, here we come…


Post Categories: 2006 Hot Stove Season & Brian Cashman & George Steinbrenner & Randy Johnson & Yankees

18 Comments → “Let’s all join together and pray for Steinbrenner to start exerting his will…and quick”


  1. branatical

    10 years ago

    so true so true…what i can’t figure out is why would ANYONE want to pick up Johnson and his $16 million coming off of back surgery? I can’t see the Yankees getting prospects in return tho, I think it’s a pure salary dump. If they get talent in return I’ll be dumstruck, but this would free up cash to get in on Zito.

    This would be the third significant move that Steinbrenner didn’t have his hands in (i’m guessing) that benefitted the Yankees.

    1. They gave up 3 nothings for Lidle and Abreu
    2. They dumped Sheffield’s bad attitude and big contract for three pitching prospects one of whom (Sanchez) is being tossed around as a potential starter in ’07.
    3. They dump Johnson (who has no shot in hell recovering from this surgery) and either get prospects, major league ready talent or use the money to buy Zito.

    One question: You said, “A senior member of the team’s baseball ops staff told me last year that the only reason the Sox had a fighting chance against a team with $80 million more in payroll was because New York made such stupefyingly idiotic moves.” – Which team are speaking about here? Sox or Yanks?

    Thanks,
    B

    Reply

  2. zoowah

    10 years ago

    Let’s all join and pray to be paid over $10m a year for a 12-7 record and an over-4 Ernie. Hats off to Suppan for taking his two donuts of fame to the bank.

    Seth, any thoughts on the “coincidental” departure of James Brown and Gerald Ford within “hours” of each other? Inquiring minds wanna know.

    Merry Hoohaa Everybody!

    zoo

    Reply

  3. Ogie Oglethorpe

    10 years ago

    True that “branatical”. I was just asking myself the same thing. What is this guy’s worth at this point? He is likely not 100% this upcoming season. I also read that the Yanks were NOT willing to pick up a significant portion of his salary. If that is the case then this has to be a straight dump and even then I don’t understand the logic of taking on this guy. If the Yanks get something in return I’m nominating Cashman for the GM of the year award for that and the Sheffield move.

    I do think the Sheffield move hurts them in the short run. I would much rather see Abreu up at the plate vs. the Sox than Sheff. But they did get 3 prospects (at least one legit) for a guy who is near 40 and is a loose cannon. When the Manny trade talks were going on Theo didn’t see anything near that type of talent being offered in return. If Sheffield is worth what the Yanks got for him then Manny is AT LEAST worth Broxton and some other semi legit prospects.

    On another note, Cashman will ruin this streak of good moves if he signs Zito to a 17 million per contract. Zito is good SP but he is not great. Put him in the AL East and he is a durable 4th or 5th starter. You just don’t pay a 4th or 5th starter 17 million. If Zito wants to be successful, go to the NL where he would be a legit 2nd starter. Maybe even an ace if he pitches half of his games in LA or San Diego.

    Reply

  4. MarshallDog

    10 years ago

    How can the Yankees do this? Why can they find people willing to take on dumb contracts and give them good prospects in return? What really doesn’t make sense is the Red Sox could not find fair trade value for Manny Ramirez, but the Yanks got three good pitching prospects from the Tigers for Sheffield and might get even more for Johnson. Plus the Cardinals might be dumb enough to trade for Carl Pavano! The Yankees are becoming the biggest scam artists in all of baseball.

    Reply

  5. tinisoli

    10 years ago

    I wouldn’t be spooked by Zito in pinstripes, but it’s hard to argue that the guy shouldn’t get paid huge money in this year’s market. He’s a young former Cy Young winner with a career winning percentage that’s pretty damn impressive, and he could be really solid for years to come.

    I am spooked by the newer, smarter m.o. of the Yankees front office. But it’ll be more fun to watch the Sox and Yankees face off if both teams are put together intelligently and with more fiscal sanity. The aging All-Star flavor of recent Yankees rosters has been sickening, and if I never have to see Randy Johnson’s misanthropic mug again I’ll be grateful.

    Reply

  6. obnoxiousmime

    10 years ago

    I too am disturbed by how many teams seem willing to let the Yanks off the hook and give them good prospects for overpriced and/or aging and/or coming off injury “talent.” Meanwhile, the Sox get no legitimate offers for Manny. It might be time for Theo to see what he can get for Matt Clement…

    Reply

  7. MarshallDog

    10 years ago

    obnoxiousmime,

    It would be nice if the Sox could get something for Clement. The problem is that other teams know Clement’s shoulder was torn up and because of surgery probably won’t pitch this year. It makes no sense for anyone to trade for him. Pavano on the other hand may only need a change of scenery for all of his “injuries” to magically heal themselves.

    It’s unbelievable that the Yanks might make out like bandits in a Pavano deal even though Pavano has basically refused to pitch for a year and a half. Meanwhile, the Sox get penalized because Clement tried to pitch with his bad shoulder and only later realized how bad his injury was.

    tinisoli,

    I think part of the “smarter m.o.” of the Yankees you refer to can be partly attributed to the reactionary tactics of their trade partners. The Yankees look good because their partners were so desperate to lose salary (Phillies) or gain power offense (Tigers) that they were willing to take little or give up a lot to complete the deal. The Randy Johnson and Carl Pavano prospective trades can be attributed to similar motives by desperate organizations. That’s not to say the Yanks aren’t smart in making those deals…

    I actually wouldn’t mind seeing the Yankees lose Randy Johnson, since that guy killed Boston in his two years in pinstripes. If the Yanks can pull off a Pavano deal, I will have a legitimate reason for hating whatever team he ended up with.

    Reply

  8. wormfodder

    10 years ago

    what exactly are the “stupefyingly idiotic” moves that the Yankees have made to allow the Sox to compete? All teams take chances, some work out, some don’t. Johnson hasn’t been great in NY but he hasn’t been awful either. Take $ out of the equation (which isn’t what you’re talking about here) and they didn’t lose any prospects so what was so dumb about the chance they took? He’s actually been better than Schilling over the past two years and more durable. I’ll give you Kevin Brown was a horrible but they did get rid of Weaver too. Pavano got hurt, can’t really judge w/ that hindsight. Sox were in on both him and Contreras. The Wright signing was a C-minus at best but other than that, who were the big names they missed out on? what is that official talking about and what are the brilliant moves the Sox have countered with? It makes it sound they like they’ve been so smart and the Yanks so dumb? Haven’t the Yanks won the AL East for the past decade or so? You could laundry list the obvious dumb Sox moves but where are all the guys the Yanks gave away succeeding? Brad Halsey, Ted Lilly, to name two, aren’t exactly breaking anyone’s heart. Nick Johnson’s good but too injury-prone. Soriano for A-Rod is a no-brainer. Tony Womack cost nothing but $. Farnsworth was serviceable if again, too costly. That’s all I can think of right now. How about Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Andy Marte, Johnny Damon, Bronson Arroyo, Josh Bard, Cla Meredith just to name a few…. all pretty desirable guys the Sox gave up just recently in favor of Josh Beckett, Coco Crisp, Wily Mo Pena and Doug Mirabelli. My god, that seems, oh I don’t know, stupefyingly idiotic. I’m obviously a Yankee fan but love baseball. Read the book (B minus) and checked out the blog. Couldn’t resist responding to this. I find it amazing how you and most Sox fans think Theo & Co. are so intelligent. All they are is smart enough to roll out some numbers to justify the moves they make. It’s still a crapshoot in a lot of ways and the stats will only take you so far. Still waiting for Billy Beane’s World Series’ victory. The stats teams weren’t in World Series last year, for sure. Did the Sox front office get dumb the last two years or were they, just maybe, never really as smart as it seemed in 2004? I think they were both lucky and good that year, the best combo by far, and now they aren’t underdogs anymore, which is tougher. Pressure is a factor in performance. The more that’s expected, the more difficult it is to produce. And you people crack me up w/ Johnson has marginal worth. I’m sure you wouldn’t say the same about Schilling but he’s your boy and Johnson’s been better. Schilling can come back from an injury but not Johnson, I get it. As far as Ramirez trade talks go, he’s making oodles more $ than Sheffield with a longer commitment (before Tigers’ extension), is considered a bigger head case, and has 5-10 protection, which Sheff didn’t have, so the Yanks had infinitely more flexibility to find a deal w/ many more teams. Theo can’t drive a hard bargain if Manny will only approve so many trades. Also check this link for 5 Worst Trades of 2006 courtesy Eric Wilbur. Sox clocking in w/ 40%. Nice job. Now snap up JD Drew (one year in entire career w/ more than 100 RBI, only 5 years out of 9 w/ more than 50) and away we go. http://www.protrade.com/content/DisplayArticle.html?sp=S0440aa10-955f-11db-8e3c-db83d418791f

    Reply

  9. HFXBOB

    10 years ago

    -What would really send a shiver down my spine? If they were able to trade A-Rod and get a real clutch player in return.

    -After this off-season that $80 million payroll gap has been trimmed, right? I guess we’ll just have to spend 20% less than them and be 30% smarter.

    Reply

  10. PatsFanDK

    10 years ago

    Wormfodder,

    Your Johnson-Schilling argument has no merit. Let’s check the ’06 numbers:

    Schilling: 204IP, 15-7, 3.97ERA
    Johnson: 205IP, 17-11, 5.00ERA

    How has Johnson been better? If you look at the last 2 years, sure, but Schilling was coming off a major injury after leading us to the ’04 title. Johnson had major back surgery and has a history of back problems and bad attitudes. Not to mention he’s 3 years older than Curt.

    I’m surprised Johnson has any value at all. Conversely, if the Sox began offering Schilling, teams would be lining up with offers.

    Reply

  11. Ogie Oglethorpe

    10 years ago

    Just a couple of comments for wormfodder:

    “Johnson hasn’t been great in NY but he hasn’t been awful either…He’s actually been better than Schilling over the past two years and more durable.”

    The Sox acquired Schilling when he was in his late 30s for about 10 million per and has succeeded in the playoffs for the Sox. The Yanks acquired RJ in his early 40s for 16 million per and he has done nothing in the playoffs.

    “The Wright signing was a C-minus at best…”

    C-minus is pretty generous for signing an obvious Mazzone/NL special to a 3 year contract.

    “You could laundry list the obvious dumb Sox moves but where are all the guys the Yanks gave away succeeding? Brad Halsey, Ted Lilly, to name two, aren’t exactly breaking anyone’s heart. Nick Johnson’s good but too injury-prone.”

    Good point, when was the last time the Yanks minor league system produced a good player? Keep in mind that Soriano and Wang were purchases.

    “How about Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Andy Marte, Johnny Damon, Bronson Arroyo, Josh Bard, Cla Meredith just to name a few…”

    Marte – obviously a superstar???, JD and his rag arm are slated for RF, Arroyo-Ramirez-Sanchez small market NL (aka AAA), Bard get serious.

    “And you people crack me up w/ Johnson has marginal worth. I’m sure you wouldn’t say the same about Schilling but he’s your boy and Johnson’s been better. Schilling can come back from an injury but not Johnson, I get it.”

    Johnson is 43!!! I also would not give up much for Schilling at this stage either and he is 4 years younger!!!!

    “As far as Ramirez trade talks go, he’s making oodles more $ than Sheffield with a longer commitment (before Tigers’ extension), is considered a bigger head case…”

    Manny is a bigger headcase? You can’t be selling that.

    If you are trying to tell us that you are more objective you are going to need to do better than that.

    Reply

  12. Ogie Oglethorpe

    10 years ago

    James (Boston, Ma.): Is there serious interest in Randy Johnson on the trade market? This guy is 43 years old, is just off of back surgery, has no cartilage in his knees, makes 16 million per and isn’t exactly a clubhouse guy. Are teams really willing to give up more than a bag of baseballs for this guy?

     Jim Callis: I can’t see Randy Johnson commanding a lot in trade value for all those reasons. But I can see a team willing to pick up for 50 cents on the dollar if the Yankees will pay part of his contract, and I can see the Yankees jettisoning him and spending money on Barry Zito. So a deal could happen.

    Jon (Jericho): Would a Randy Johnson trade for Chad Tracy and prospects make sense for both teams?

     Jim Callis: No. If I were the Diamondbacks, I wouldn’t want to do that. I would jump on that if I were the Yankees, though.

    Reply

  13. wormfodder

    10 years ago

    Amazing.

    I didn’t say Johnson was better than Schilling. I said he was better and more durable over past TWO years. Right now, I’d rather have Schilling too but these are the numbers.

    Johnson – 34-19 w/ ERAs of 3.79 and 5.01
    Schilling – 23-15 w/ ERAs of 5.69 and 3.97

    What is so confusing about that?

    If you want to talk about the Yankee farm system, Cabrera and Cano are the obvious guys to point to at the moment, Cano elected to the All-Star team last year. How about Scott Proctor too? Not to mention they still have Jeter, Posada, Rivera and through last year Williams as major contributors. It’s still wait and see on the Sox supposedly wonderful farm system. Papelbon’s a stud and Youkilis is serviceable but Craig Hansen, Manny Delcameron, and Dustin Pedroria? Good luck. Oh, and there is no difference between the Yanks signing guys like Soriano and Wang the way they did and how the Sox got Hansen, who wasn’t drafted sooner because of the price tag. And, Yanks have guys on the way too, Philip Hughes, Jose Tabata.

    I mean just look at the loss of Hanley Ramirez. You guys spent all that $ on Renteria, then treaded water w/ Gonzalez, while he just raged through his first season. 51 stolen bases! wouldn’t that look good in front of Ortiz and Manny? just a horrible move, and now you’ve over-paid for Lugo, who is by no means a lock to thrive in Boston. Look at what he did in his chance last season to contribute on a competitive team, he wilted. wasn’t even a regular at the end. again, good luck.

    I never said Marte was a superstar but he’s young, cheap and has a shot to be very, very good, no one with any sort of perspective disputes that. Oh yeah, and knock Bard too, that makes sense, no sour grapes there. I’m sure George Kotteras is going to be a monster next year.

    If you can’t see the Sox have made basically one bad move after another since 2004, your head is in the sand, simple as that. And it’s pretty pathetic to put down NL small market teams like that, they play in the major leagues, you know, didn’t the Marlins win in 2003? just arrogant and lame. Oh and I guess that means Beckett sucks now too, right? Didn’t he come from the Marlins? Isn’t he supposed to be the next great pitcher for you guys? But because he’s a Sox now, he’ll develop and be great. Try to be a tad realistic from time to time.

    we’ll just have to wait and see what the Yanks can get for Johnson to see whose right about his worth. You guys says a bag of balls, i think Cashman will be able to make a decent deal if he wants to.

    And, while I won’t say Sheffield is a model teammate by any stretch, Manny has been involved in much more wacky stuff than him. Again, if you had any perspective, you’d admit that.

    I’m (obviously) posting this comment, but it’s the last one on this debate — I think both sides have explained their reasoning…and it looks like people are fairly set in whatever it is they think. If this doesn’t make sense to someone, email me at monsterfeedback@gmail.com
    Thanks,
    Seth

    Reply

  14. jolley16

    10 years ago

    Personally, I’m just happy to have the Yankees scared enough to start making moves based on our improvement. They crapped the bed at the beginning of 04 when we got Schilling and nearly got Arod. Now they’re looking at dealing Johnson as if they just realized that he’s washed up, an ass, and they’re pitching staff is embarassing.
    If Kansas City and Pittsburgh are places where contracts go to die, why isn’t baseball really looking at contraction? I know it sounds awful but why should these teams bank off of attendance that teams like the Sox and Yanks give them while honestly not trying to improve. I’m convinced that Selig told the Royals to sign Meche just to save the Yanks and Sox another Pavano or Clement from happening. The Royals even helped my hometown Reds by taking Jason LaRue. By getting rid of teams that take these bad contracts and continually save the Yanks, talent across the league would improve. I guess I just really want guys like Sal Pasano delivering my pizza instead of being a mustache joke in The Post.

    Reply

  15. PatsFanDK

    10 years ago

    Bottom line – if the Yanks are able to trade The Unit and acquire Zito to take his place, that’s a smart move and a step in the right direction. I’d still take Schil/Beckett/Paps/Dice-K/Wake over Mussina/Pettite/Zito/Wang/Igawa, but it’s VERY close. Clemens is the X-Factor…

    Doesn’t look like the Yankees are going to get Zito

    — Seth

    Reply

  16. branatical

    10 years ago

    And if they don’t get Zito, they don’t move Johnson… thant’s my guess. Unless they want to rely on Mr. Reliable Carl Pavano which I doubt or one of their young pitchers, Karstens, Hughes and Sanchez, which I also doubt.

    so you have:

    Mussina
    Wang
    Pettite or is it Petite?
    Johnson/Pavano
    Igawa/Pavano

    and if/when Johnson is not ready, they start of the year with Karstens/Hughes/Sanchez, whoever wins the spot.

    On paper that looks good, but not overely threatening. Non of those guys is a TRUE lights out ace at this point… IMO.

    Reply

  17. jthewes

    10 years ago

    Some funny stuff on Johnson (ridiculously immature, but funny):

    2nd post down:

    http://thesportshernia.typepad.com/blog/baseball/index.html

    Reply

  18. Daniel W. Drezner

    10 years ago

    A reluctant tip of the cap to Brian Cashman…

    Baseball fans who follow the Hot Stove League may be aware that the Red Sox have made some aggressive moves in a bid to improve their performance from the 2006 season. [Yeah, that’ll show the Yankees!!–ed.] Er….. perhaps not. I……

    Reply

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