07/17/2004: Unit Watch
Don't know that I'd make that a recurring department, but turn your back for a minute on the game.... Miss a day, miss a season it seems. Anyway, when I made the rounds of the Cards websites this morning (well, more like early afternoon, but anyway....), it appears that there's been some interesting movement in the Randy Johnson situation--namely rumors (via Peter Gammons on ESPN's SportsCenter) that the Unit has made it clear he wants to go to a definite contender, and that means either the Yankees or the Cardinals. Quoth Gammons further, "And the Cardinals can't afford him."
Fortunately, the fly in the analysts' ointment is Walt Jocketty. I'm not getting my hopes up that Jocketty can pull off the Johnson trade for sure, but if anyone has demonstrated an ability to put together a deal for a marquee player it's Jocketty (cases in point: Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen). The advantages in the Johnson quest, near as I can tell: the Yankees have buckets full of cash, but no prospects (this comes as news to me, but reading around a few baseball sites the consensus is that the Yankees farm system generates even bigger sucking sounds than the Cards system does, which is saying something). The Cardinals have a few prospects (which is what the D'backs are looking for in this situation), but not much in the way of money to spare. If the deal's going to be done, it's going to require a bit of creativity (which is something Jocketty seems to have in spades). Over at The Cardinals Birdhouse Ray Mileur outlines the kind of general managerial shenanigans that will be needed to pull the deal off:
Here is what I would do. I would trade Morris, Haren & Gall for Johnson if the Diamondbacks picked up a minimum of $4 million dollars of Johnson's contract for the rest of this season and 1/2 of next season's $16 million dollar contract.So could a lot of us.
Off the top of my head the Diamondbacks would save about $4 million dollars this season and $8 million next season for a total of $12 million off of Johnson's contract. They would have the option of signing Morris for next season for less than half of what they would have had to pay Johnson, and they still pick up two quality prospects for next to nothing.
Johnson in turns costs us just $12 million for two seasons, plus the loss of prospects - you know how I feel about prospects [for those of you who don't hang around the Birdhouse, let's just say that Ray doesn't believe in prospects, especially pitching prospects --LRC], and that is less than what we had offered Matt Morris earlier this year.
I could live with this deal.
Not really Big Unit related: I wonder if Time-Warner here think that they screwed up (then again, they may not have had a choice; I'm not privy to the details of their deal with Fox Sports Midwest to carry Cardinals games on the local access channel). We got the Memphis Redbirds game on TV Time-Warner last night. My feeling is that a bad ball game is better than a good reality show, so I'm not complaining (much), but it was a pretty uninspired loss to the Iowa Cubs. Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, the Cardinals were putting together a come-from-behind victory off of a three-run Marlon Anderson blast and an absolutely spectacular, home-run-robbing catch by Jim Edmunds. To think we could have seen that game. *sigh*
Len on 07.17.04 @ 02:35 PM CST