So I was driving home last night, through the rain, from my Aunt’s house in the Baltimore suburbs to my parents’ house in the Philadelphia suburbs, listening to Arizona Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin give an interview on sattelite radio.
Melvin was all, “We’ve got a lot of young, exciting players. I think the next few years are going to be really exciting, with a lot of young guys coming up.” Etc, etc.
Then a news report comes on. The Diamondbacks are trying to trade a package of three players (two of whom are believed to be prospects) for Randy Johnson.
Now, if you’re a young team, the quickest way to get old fast is to trade for Randy Johnson. He’s the oldest player in the world. Okay, technically Julio Franco is the oldest player in the world. But Franco is a kid in a 50 year-old’s body. Johnson has been an old man in a kid’s body since the day he joined the league. Except now he’s an old man in a decaying 43 year-old body.
I just can’t imagine wanting Randy Johnson on my team right now. Sure, he’s going to win his 300th game this year. And that will be special. And it would be great if he could do it in Arizona, a team where he spent some of his best seasons.
But Johnson will cost a lot of money. He’s due $16 million this season, and the Yankees reportedly don’t want to pay any of it. Plus, there’s no reason to think that Johnson will be any better this year than he was last year. And he wasn’t very good last year.
The best part of the Johnson to Arizona rumor is this tidbit from the ESPN.com report:
In need of starting pitching — and a marquee name that will draw more fans — the Diamondbacks have offered a package of at least three players, including a major-leaguer. They would also want a 72-hour window to negotiate an extension with Johnson, who is owed $16 million in the final year of his contract.
An extension? He’s 43! He’s coming off back surgery!
Even more amazing, the Padres are reportedly also trying to land Johnson and are dangling coveted reliever Scott Linebrink (is there a trade rumor that doesn’t involve Linebrink?).
I just don’t know how you do it. I don’t know how you, as a GM, convince yourself that trading for a 43 year-old pitcher who’s coming off a mediocre season and subsequent back surgery is a good idea, especially when that pitcher makes $16 million a season. I know he was good in the past, but the past is the past. Welcome to 2007.