Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Notes for January 4th

The biggest piece of news in the baseball world is the big Randy Johnson/Sean Green de facto three way deal. I haven't talked about it much because I'm still not sure whether it is really going to happen or not. The Yanks still have to work out a contract extension with the Unit and the Snakes have to work out an extension with Green. Evidently, the two individual deals are separated by fallback plans.

Here's how it shakes out.

The Snakes send Johnson to the Yankees for Javier Vazquez, Dioner Navarro, Brad Halsey, and an alarming 9 million dollars in cash. The Snakes turn around and send Navarro to the Dodgers with pitching prospect William Juarez, who has some interesting peripherals, for Sean Green. Now if the Johnson deal falls through, the Dodgers get Juarez and Chris Snyder instead of Navarro.

I think the Diamondbacks are seriously adrift. They aren't getting enough in return for Johnson, just as they didn't get enough for Curt Schilling. They're spending money like a bad, compulsive gambler on a 3 day bender in Vegas with an unlimited bank account. They're giving huge amounts of cash to Troy Glaus and Russ Ortiz. Now they're making a long term commitment to Sean Green. They're likely to send Vazquez's ugly contract to some other zip code, but they'll probably have to eat part of that deal to get any return. I like their minor league system, which is quickly building around high ceiling bats like Conor Jackson, Carlos Quentin, Jon Zeringue, and Stephen Drew (provided they sign him). They also have the #1 pick in the draft this season. Their major league philosophy is a bit of a mess right now though.

The Yankees are at least spending their money on a good player this time. I've been saying for a couple of years that they need to be very careful or else they're going to end up stuck with a $250 million payroll and a second place team, and too many long term contracts to give them the flexibility needed to improve on their mediocrity. The key to spending money wisely is to spend it on exceptional players, like Vlad Guerrero, ARod, and yes Randy Johnson. You don't give big, long term deals to guys who are a little better than average like Carl Pavano, or just plain bad, like Tony Womack.

The Dodgers win in this one. They drop an underperforming player with a big salary. I'm not a big fan of Navarro, and I haven't really investigated Juarez enough to make a final determination on him, but just getting out from under Green's contract is a plus.

In other news, the Angels changed their official name to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. What the hell is that about? We're talking about the LA area, so my suspicions are that the same person who is responsible for the atrocious decision to make a sequel to Miss Congeniality is responsible for this mind-melting call.

Elsewhere, the Indians sold Erick Almonte to the Nippon Ham Fighters. Chances are he isn't going to be very good there either. But I hear that Japan is a beautiful country and a nice place to play baseball.

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