Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Big Unit on trade block?


Word has leaked that the Yankees are looking to trade Randy Johnson and his Big Unit. Johnson's no-trade clause requires his approval of any deal, but after the recent death of his brother, Johnson may welcome a trade back home to Arizona, or nearby San Diego or Los Angeles.

Randy has one year left on his contract, and is owed $16 million. The Yanks won't get much for a 43 year-old starter just coming off back surgery. This would be more of a salary dump, and a chance to inject some youth into their rotation. Of course, 44 year-old Clemens is still a possibility, but I wonder if the Yanks may become sudden suitors of lefty Barry Zito, who would command a similar yearly salary as Johnson's, but is 15 years younger.

Although Randy has had his ups and downs in New York, and struggled a bit, he has made 67 starts the past two season for the Yanks, won 34 games, and pitched 430 innings. Even though his ERA was high, it's not so easy to replace those kind of numbers.

Sans Randy, the rotation looks like this:
Wang
Pettitte
Mussina
Pavano
Igawa or Karstens

I have to believe they'll pull someone else out of their hat. Zito? Clemens? Dontrelle Willis? We'll see.

UPDATE: Barry Zito has signed with the SF Giants. Arizona still seems to be where Randy will end up, but both sides are reportedly still haggling over the contract extension and financial structuring.

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