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December 1, 2004

Randy Johnson to New York
by Larry Mahnken

ESPN's Peter Gammons is reporting that a deal sending Randy Johnson to the Yankees for Javier Vazquez could be completed next week.

Boston Dirt Dogs is reporting that the Diamondbacks will receive Vazquez, Eric Duncan, another player (possibly Tom Gordon) and about $4 million for each of the next three seasons to cover Vazquez's contract. The Diamondbacks may then look to move Vazquez to another team since they believe he would demand a trade next winter.
What an unbelievably stupid trade for the Yankees, if it goes down like this. I wouldn't trade Vazquez for Johnson straight-up, because I think that Vazquez is very very likely to turn it around, and Johnson has knee problems and is 41. R.J. is of course more likely to have a dominant season than Vazquez next year, but Vazquez will likely have more value over the next three seasons than Johnson.

Throw in Duncan, a great young prospect who I think could fetch someone useful by himself at the trade deadline if he has a strong first half at AA this year, and it becomes a very difficult trade to accept. If Gordon's part of the deal, it's quite probably the most idiotic trade they've made since Steinbrenner returned.

The curse of the ALCS is that it's overshadowed everything that happened in the regular season. Their rotation struggled all year, and everyone expected it to cost them in October. But the rotation stepped it up in the playoffs, and the only game the starting pitching cost them was Game Seven of the ALCS. What really cost them was their overworked pen, and their lack of clutch hitting in the last four games of the series. Does the rotation need improvement? Yes, but not at the expense of the bullpen, and the improvement from Johnson isn't as huge as his name recognition would lead you to believe.

The Yankees should just sign Pedro if they're so intent on getting an ace. His 2004 numbers were average, but he really will be outstanding if used right, and he'll only cost money.