In an article posted on MLBTR it is being reported that after the Diamondbacks offered Randy Johnson 2-3 million for one year(thats downright insulting) he is looking to find a new team. That is not news. What is news is that he would be satisfied with 8 million, maybe even less. That is very little money and perhaps could end up being the most efficient/valuable contract doled out this off-season. The link for this article is:
Now before anybody jumps on me for posting about an aged player like Johnson or posting so soon after a different Johnson post let me make a real case for Randy on a point by point basis addressing some of the doubts I have seen expressed about the future hall-of-famer.
- He is too old/injury prone. Yes he is old, but take a look at his innings totals from the last five years. 245.2, 225.2, 205, 56.2, 184. Thats only one season in which he didn't log a significant amount of innings. Yes he is old, but he has been very durable throughout his career and he should be able to make at least 26-27 starts next season.
- His performance level. I'm going to throw some stats out here, starting with the basics and then hitting up some advanced ones and then the Bill James projection for 2009. 2008- 11-10, 30GS, 3.91 ERA, 173K, 44B, 3.93 K/BB. Those are some very,very good numbers. He finished the year with a FIP of 3.76, so he was a bit unlucky last year, posting a BABIP fifteen points lower than his career norm and a league average strand rate, which is below average for Randy. His batted ball stats are the same, and not only did he generate more swinging strikes but he generated more contact aton balls outside of the zone than he has in the last three or four years. His WPA/LI was .91, better than Ted Lilly's .84. Here's the real kicker: Bill James has projected the following line for 2009: 12-7, 3.40 ERA(!), 28 GS, 170 IP, 178 K, 41BB, 4.34 K/BB. That is front of the rotation stuff right there. Those are similar numbers to what Cole Hamels did in the regular season, minus a few innings pitched and starts. his record is also sure to be better than projected. Those numbers could make him the best per-start pitcher on the Cubs next year if we don't get Peavy.
- The bottom line is that signing this good a pitcher for one year at 7-8 million should be nothing short of a no-brainer. Even if he were to get injured he it's not as if his contract would hold back the Cubs at all. Consider that Jason Marquis is going to make more money next year despite not being anywhere close in terms of ability.
Assume that the Cubs bring in two starting pitchers next year to go along with the guaranteed core of Zambrano, Lilly, Harden. Throw in Jonhnson and one of Lowe/Peavy/Dempster/Sheets/Pettite/Wolf/Burnett or any of the other free agent starters and you got a beastly rotation. From a payroll perspective, Johnson shouldn't make too big of a dent on Hendry's offseason plan, as he let Wood walk for a cheaper option and is now rid of Howry's contract. i could be missing something here, so feel free to correct me.