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July 06, 2006

July 6th @ The Indians

With his great effort in this game, Randy Johnson is now on pace to have a record of 18-7 this season (for the Yankees).

Last year, the Big Unit went 17-8 for New York. So, it looks like Johnson, this season, will be doing what he did last season. And, that's not bad.

Five months ago, I said that anything over 16 wins from Randy in 2006 would be a miracle. Hey, what can I say? Hallelujah!

If Johnson does win 17+ games again for the Yankees this season, it will be the first time in a while, for New York, where a pitcher has won 17+ in back-to-back years. Here's the list of the most recent times that it has happened:

Mike Mussina 2001-03
Andy Pettitte 1996-97
Jimmy Key 1993-94
Ron Guidry 1978-80
Tommy John 1979-80
Catfish Hunter 1975-76
Fritz Peterson 1969-70
Mel Stottlemyre 1968-69

Therefore, the Big Unit would become only the 4th pitcher in the last quarter-century to have back-to-back seasons of 17+ wins for the Yankees. That's an interesting stat.

And, with the game tonight, if you took Johnson's stats for the season, and removed the two games each that he pitched against the tip-reading Mets and the Blue Jays, then his season ERA would be 3.61 (in 94.67 IP).

An ERA of 3.61 would be the 12th best mark in the American League right now.

The last time the Yankees had a left-handed SP make 30+ starts in a season and have an ERA of 3.61 or better was David Wells in 1998. Nine seasons is a long time.

When you look at it all this way, getting Randy Johnson was not such a bad move by the Yankees - even if he was over forty at the time.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at July 6, 2006 10:31 PM

Comments

He's 10-7 now. How does that project to 18-7?

Posted by: Josh [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 6, 2006 11:53 PM

ESPN's player page says that he's on pace to go 19-13.

Posted by: Mr. Furious [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2006 07:22 AM

When you look at it in such a way that you take out all his bad starts, then yeah, not such a bad trade.

Except we can't take out all his bad starts.

I went through his stats after his last start, and saw that he got wins in 3 games he had no business getting wins for.

Mega run support this season. Typical that Mike Mussina is never the beneficiary to all those runs. Despite pitching extrememly better than Johnson for the entire season, he has the exact same amount of wins.

Posted by: Jeteupthemiddle [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2006 07:39 AM

"When you look at it in such a way that you take out all his bad starts, then yeah, not such a bad trade."

Even with his bad starts, it was a good trade. Randy, along with Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon, pitched us into the playoffs with a great last 6 weeks of the season. I don't think the Yankees miss Halsey. As for Navarro, I have no idea what he'll amount to but I don't think it'll be a huge loss. And Vazquez, whatever the statistically inclined or the detractors of Mel Stottlemyre wish to say, I'm still waiting to see him put together a consistent streak of 2-3 good years. Since his high-water mark in 2003, he's been very up and down.

Sitting here 18 months later (almost to the day), I think the Yanks made a trade they had to make and it's worked out fine.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2006 08:21 AM

"He's 10-7 now. How does that project to 18-7?"

Take the ratio of 10 and 7 comparred to the number of starts made now, and then project that to 34 starts for the season.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2006 09:12 AM

Johnson has not been the dominating the number 1 starter we thought we were getting. My guess is that his so-so performance is a combination of his age and facing AL lineups.

Worth $57 million? No. But a good innings-eating number 3 starter. Kind of like Greg Maddux at this point in his career.

Posted by: Joel [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2006 09:28 AM

It was surprising and a little scary how quickly Johnson went from no-hit stuff to very-hittable stuff. The clear sign that Randy is getting tired is when he starts missing the zone, so I don't quite understand why he started the eighth inning (I think it would have been better to leave him on a positive note).

As for the question of if it was a good trade getting Johnson -- well, it's pretty complicated, isn't it? Johnson did help pitch us into the playoffs last year, and you certainly can't argue about what we gave up (Vazquez, Halsey, Navarro), so it looks good from that point of view.

BUT... he did get KILLED in the playoffs, he wasn't NEARLY the pitcher we thought we were getting, he's clearly NOT a number-one pitcher, and he's worth NOWHERE near the money we had to extend him. PLUS Vazquez, Halsey and Navarro had some trade value. We might have been able to trade the three of them for a different and BETTER pitcher.

If the Yankees had to do it all over again, would they? I'm thinking no. Randy has been a headache. And he was a main contributor to us losing to the Angels in the playoffs. I still believe that if we got beyond them we were going to the World Series.

If they did make that trade again, the one thing they wouldn't do is extend him for two years. I think the people in the Yankee universe wish very much that this was Randy's last year with the team.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2006 10:29 AM

I don't know who Vazquez, Navarro, and Halsey could've gotten us. Any ideas? I'm actually very curious to know if there were other deals available or if we just think there were.

"He [RJ] was a main contributor to us losing to the Angels in the playoffs." You can throw Torre, Sheffield, Matsui, ARod, the Game 5 version of the Moose on that list (among others that don't come to mind right now). Game 2 was in the bag and was lost. Game 5 was imminently winnable and RJ pitched well in relief as I recall (4 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 2K). Without rehashing that nightmare, it took a lot more than a bad start in the rain from RJ to piss away that series.

I'd still make that trade today based on what we got in return for what we had to give up. In essentially a straight swap of Vazquez for RJ, I'm not at all sorry with how it has turned out. Vazquez is younger and cheaper but I haven't been made to feel like he's been any better over the last 18 months.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2006 10:57 AM

The point is that Cashman had three trade chips and could have gone out there and looked for a pitcher. I don't know of any deals that were on the table, but most people saw Vazquez as a good pitcher the Yankees screwed up, and Navarro was still considered a top prospect. Those three -- plus the Yanks paying some of Vaz's salary (which they did anyway) -- could have gotten a pitcher. One thought is Brad Penny. In the original three-way deal, Penny was to go to Arizona and Vaz to the Dodgers. Since L.A. was drooling over Navarro, maybe L.A. would have done a Penny-for-Vaz-and-Nav deal (I'm not saying I would WANT Penny or that he's any better than RJ, but that's just one scenario).

I never said RJ was the ONLY reason we lost to the Angels, but he was a big part of it. And you can't tell me that Johnson stinking it up in a playoff games doesn't devalues his first year in pinstripes completely, since they brought him here to win playoff games and a World Series.

A lot of people "helped" lose that series, but I pin the blame on A-Rod and Johnson because they were supposed to be "the" guys and they both sucked. A-Rod didn't hit and Johnson got bombed by a team Shawn Chacon pitched brilliantly to.

I'm back and forth on whether I would make this deal again. RJ was pretty good last year (and then bombed in the playoffs) but this year I don't see how he's anything more than a league-average pitcher whose run support has allowed him to win ten games.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2006 11:58 AM

I suppose if we can use hindsight to evaluate everything RJ hasn't been in your eyes then we'd have to say that the view that we "screwed up" Vazquez would be equally misguided since he's still "screwed up" after a year in the light-hitting NL West and a half-season in the AL Central.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that last year "devalues his first year in [P]instripes completely." Thinking back to my mental state in late August when it looked like the playoffs were going to be a tough bet, I'll never stop patting RJ on the back for the September he had. I might be in the minority here but 9/1/05-9/30/05 was one of the most fun rides I've been on as a Yankee fan.

Having said that, I can see where you're coming from. RJ hasn't been the World Series chip that Schilling was for Boston in 2004.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2006 01:31 PM

Doesn't RJ have a pretty mediocre record, careerwise, in divisional playoffs? Not talking ALCS/NLCS.

Posted by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2006 02:41 PM

Unit is 2-7 with a 4.59 ERA in 66 2/3 IP (11 games) lifetime in the LDS. He's 2-1 with a 1.72 ERA in 31 1/3 IP (4 games) lifetime in the LCS. He's only been to the World Series once (2001) where in 3 games he went 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA in 17 1/3 IP.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2006 02:47 PM