• The Unit Price

    Posted by on October 27th, 2006 · Comments (13)

    In the end, the Yankees traded Nick Johnson, Juan Rivera, Randy Choate, Brad Halsey, and Dioner Navarro in order to acquire Randy Johnson. In addition to the five players lost, the Yankees sent $9 million to the Diamondbacks in the trade for the Big Unit. Further, the Yankees gave Johnson a $32 million, two-year, contract extension through 2007 when they got him.

    In a way, one could say that Randy Johnson cost the Yankees Nick Johnson, Juan Rivera, Randy Choate, Brad Halsey, Dioner Navarro and $41 million.

    Here’s the question: Based on what Randy Johnson has done for the Yankees in the last two years, and what we can expect from Johnson in 2007, was it worth it?

    I can’t see how anyone would say “yes” to that question.

    Should Brian Cashman get some heat for this deal, in retrospect?

    I could see how someone would want to say “yes” to that question.

    Comments on The Unit Price

    1. bfriley76
      October 27th, 2006 | 11:59 am

      Hindsight is always 20-20. We were coming off of a postseason where having one stopper would have more than likely gotten us to the World Series even if the bats continued to hibernate in those three games versus the Sox. Yes, he was aging, but his number in 2004 were pretty great. Who would have thought he’d drop off as much as he has stuff-wise?

      He’s not worth what we gave up in players or money, but I don’t think Cashman should get heat for the deal, especially since RJ was a player Steinbrenner had been drooling over for years.

    2. October 27th, 2006 | 12:08 pm

      I could understand if you’d want to say “yes” to the second question, but there was no way of knowing that the Unit – and to a lesser extent Javy Vazquez – would “flop” like they did. (I say “flop” because they haven’t been total disasters)

      Vazquez had a very good first half in 2004 before the wheels came off, and only Carpenter, Willis, Santana, Oswalt and Garland (?!?) have more wins since 2005 than RJ.

      Johnson’s 2004 season was nasty any way you look at it, and because he’s been so great for so long, we ignored the “NL to AL East drop-off” that was imminent. Vazquez was young with killer stuff, so what wasn’t there to like?

      It would be nice to have Johnson and Navarro around, but the other guys aren’t anything special (same goes for Navarro really).

      You can’t blame Cashman for making the move(s), he’s not the one out there throwing the pitches.

    3. MJ
      October 27th, 2006 | 12:11 pm

      I agree, hindsight is 20-20. And while Rivera and Johnson have turned into regulars for their teams, Choate and Halsey are hardly losses. The jury is still out on Navarro although I vaguely recall Jeter, Damon, Abreu, Cano, Cabrera, and others running on him like his name was Piazza when the Yanks played Tampa for those six games in the final weeks of the season.

      Bottom line, after watching the Yanks lose four straight without the benefit of a #1 caliber starter, the Yanks figured that RJ would have just enough left in the tank to get them a ring at some point over the life of the contract. So far, that hasn’t happened yet. But if Cashman has to catch any heat, I’d rather it be about him taking a flier on two pitchers – Pavano and Wright – who had a history of injuries and not living up to their promise and who were both coming off career years, than taking a risk with a five-time Cy Young award winner, albeit at an advancing age.

    4. jonm
      October 27th, 2006 | 12:45 pm

      I don’t think that you can blame Cashman for Johnson and Wright. From what I understand, Johnson was a guy that Steinbrenner wanted (it certainly is his type of move — probably the last one). I know that Wright was pushed by the Tampa faction. Pavano is Cashman’s fault though and he can be blamed for that .

    5. October 27th, 2006 | 1:02 pm

      From what I understood at the time, RJ was a guy Stein wanted badly. And he Was coming off a dominating stretch in the NL. And he DID go 4-0 vs. Boston last year, with a 3.95 era overall.

      The biggest loss was, in order: Nick, Navarro, Rivera, Halsey, Choate. Looking back, there’s no way i’d do that trade again. Nick, Navarro and Halsey would help us a lot now. I think most of the blame can be placed on Stein, but BC should get criticized for Pavano certainly.

    6. RICH
      October 27th, 2006 | 1:48 pm

      Steve, go through your archives. What did YOU think of the Randy Johnson and Javier Vazquez deals at the time they took place.

      I was in favor of both deals at the time and still don’t think the Randy Johnson deal was that bad. I was disappointed with the results of the Vazquez deal but I’ve never been that impressed with Rivera and while I still root for Nick Johnson, at the time of the deal I believed he’d never play more than 2/3 of a season without getting hurt.

    7. Raf
      October 27th, 2006 | 2:02 pm

      I still root for Nick Johnson, at the time of the deal I believed he’d never play more than 2/3 of a season without getting hurt.
      Not to mention he was blocked @ 1b by Giambi. Of course you could flip-flop the players between 1b & DH, but in order to get quality, you have to give up quality. He was the prized player in the Vazquez deal.

      Rivera was a spare part, a platoon OF’er. Choate, a lefty specialist who couldn’t throw strikes. Halsey, a back of the rotation starter; a smaller John Halama. It would’ve been nice to keep Navarro, but I understand why he had to go in that deal.

    8. baileywalk
      October 27th, 2006 | 3:07 pm

      All you have to do is look at Unit’s numbers in ’04 to see if the deal made sense. Unit wasn’t still the 2001 Johnson, but he dominated that year and was by far the best pitcher in the NL. He had 290 strikeouts. There’s no way anyone could have seen the rapid decline. And it wasn’t just about velocity, either (anyone who says Unit was still throwing 98 in ’04 didn’t see him pitch). It was a combination of losing a little bit more and coming to a really difficult place to pitch (that being the AL East). I hate the deal now because I’m really sick of Randy Johnson, but the deal made sense at the time (and Vazquez, while striking out people again, still isn’t a 1-2 starter here in the AL).

    9. rbj
      October 27th, 2006 | 3:31 pm

      Looks like I’m with the group on this one. At the time it made sense, and Unit still looked dominating. And while Navarro is a loss in terms of not having a replacement ready for Jorge, I would rather the Yankees have had another quality catcher in the minors (so there’d be two on the farm, not just one.)
      The thing about Pavano is not so much signing him — it was the size of the contract & not checking into his mental makeup.

    10. Raf
      October 27th, 2006 | 3:46 pm

      The thing about Pavano is not so much signing him — it was the size of the contract & not checking into his mental makeup.
      Pavano’s mental makeup I wasn’t worried about, his injury history, and ML career up to that point I was worried about.

    11. Raf
      October 27th, 2006 | 3:49 pm

      Hit the post button a little too quick.

      I’d like to add that the Yanks REALLY, REALLY, REALLY need the 2004 Pavano in 2007.

      Carl, give us 200+ innings and an ERA around league average, and all is forgiven 😀

    12. adam
      October 27th, 2006 | 8:57 pm

      man, nick the stick would look awfully good playing first for the yankees next year.

    13. #15
      October 28th, 2006 | 3:21 pm

      Still don’t understand how Randy Johnson lost 4-5 miles an hour off his fastball between Sept. 04 and Apr. 05. Not sure how Cashman can be blamed for that. With regard to Nick Johnson…nice enough guy, developing stick, decent glove, etc… but the guy kept coming up with these phantom injuries, especially to his hands and wrists. I know from people in the organization that no one thought they could count on Nick’s grit for the long haul.

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