12/02/2004: Unit Watch, Day Interminable (Oh God, make it stop, make it stop!!!!!!)
A story in the New York Daily News claims that the Cardinals are out of the running in the bidding war for Randy "The Big Unit" Johnson. Quoth the News:
The Cardinals, who were said to be serious bidders for Johnson, have dropped out because of the cost and instead are concentrating all their efforts on re-signing shortstop Edgar Renteria and second baseman Tony Womack - something they wouldn't have been able to do had they taken on Johnson's $16 million contract.What I find interesting about this is that the stated reason for the Cards dropping out (Johnson's cost) is found in an article that's headlined "Yankees balk at Unit price".
Great Googly Moogly!!! In Major League Baseball, nothing says "unlimited piles and piles of cash" like the name "George Steinbrenner". If the fscking Yankees are gagging at the price the D'backs are trying to extort for Johnson, what hope does any lesser team have? If Steinbrenner--whose lust for adding the Unit to his already swollen payroll has hardly been disguised--is disinclined to pay that price, better for the Cardinals to concentrate on re-signing Edgar Renteria. Those waters have been muddied up badly as it is, since the market for mediocre shortstops went through the roof this offseason, already, which means that Edgar's quite likely to get the (probably somewhat inflated) price he's reported to be asking for his services. [I'm already on the record (here too, though not in as excruciating detail) as to my position that we should give Womack a pass this season; I just have a feeling that his contribution to the Cardinals this season (which was considerable; that's not to be denied) was merely a fluke, and he'll return to his more usual form soon. "Regression to the mean" is something I tend to hold in almost religious awe.]
From my vantage point (which is quite a bit removed from the Cardinals front offices), I'm not entirely sure that the Cards are seriously in the Johnson hunt. Sure, I have no doubt that they'd like to have him--just like I'd like to have hot monkey sex with a pornstar. But neither aspiration may be, like, realistic, y'know? Achieving either is probably going to cost much more than either of us can afford.
The Daily News, loyal NY institution that it is, insists that the pinstripes have been fitted for Johnson, and that Arizona is merely postponing the inevitable:
Although they have made no secret of Johnson being their No.1 priority this offseason, the Yankees, according to baseball sources, reluctantly concluded the Diamondbacks were simply not inclined to deal him to them - despite Johnson's contention that the Yankees were the only team he would approve of in a deal.Trouble is, this is what they were saying before the trade deadline last season, too.
However, baseball sources familiar with the ongoing Johnson negotiations concluded yesterday that the Diamondbacks' options seem limited now and that, for all their stonewalling, they will have no recourse but to eventually deal the Big Unit to the Yankees.
I'll believe it when I see it. Frankly, I'm wondering how interested Arizona really is in trading Johnson. Either they're very reluctant to let him go (understandable, I suppose)..... or they're betting the farm that Steinbrenner's going to completely lose his mind and give them a deal that will go down in the history of MLB as the very definition of "out of his fucking mind".
God, ain't this fun?
Len on 12.02.04 @ 09:40 AM CST