A day off for Managing Editor James Renwick, but David Merchant is back, along with new whipping boy Jason Lunas in this week's D'Back and Forth they focus on the potential Randy Johnson trade.
David Merchant: Well, I guess I'm the old veteran here, so I'll start us off, welcome Mr. Lunas.
Jason Lunas: Welcome? I thought this was supposed to be mean spirited argueing?
DM: Only when Renwick is here, he's the grouchy one.
JL: Got it, so I'll be the grouchy one I guess, what's the first topic.
DM: We start with Randy Johnson's declaration that he only wants to go to a team guaranteed to make the playoffs, and the only two teams that appear to fill that bill are the Yankees and Cardinals. The question, what does this mean for the D'Backs, and Randy?
JL: First of all you have to remember, this is 'reportedly' what he said. According to his direct quotes Randy has neither been approached, nor approached management about a trade. Until that happens, all of this is speculation.
DM: Yes, young friend, but this entire bit is based on speculation, so as far as we are concerned, this is our bread and butter.
JL: I understand. If Randy is indeed only willing to go to a guaranteed playoff team, then he's going to end up staying in Arizona. The Cardinals won't take on his salary, and the Yankees don't have the prospects Arizona wants.
DM: But don't the Diamondbacks need to trade him? Won't they ultimately buckle under and take anything when push comes to shove?
JL: No, because as long as Randy is on the team, they can guarantee that every fifth home date they'll sell 30,000 tickets at the BOB, because Randy is the only draw the D'Backs have.
DM: But is that really true. Diamondback's fans, notoriously fickle, haven't proven that they'll come out no matter who is pitching. They come out for winners, and the Diamondbacks aren't going to win without trading Randy.
JL: I'm not sure that's true either. The D'Backs are going to move Finley, Bautista, and Alomar whether Randy goes or not. If they can get some pitching for those three guys, they resign Sexson, and the younger players continue to develop, the D'Backs can be competetive next season. Definately in two years.
DM: That is a lie. Next season this is your probable starting lineup if those three guys are moved.
That is assuming a couple things. First that they resign Sexson, second, that Gonzalez is actually ready to come back from Tommy John surgery, and third, Robbie Hammock recovers from injury. Even assuming those three things, I can tell you a couple things that would happen. Richie Sexson ends up with more walks than Barry Bonds, wheelchair bound athletes run on the outfield arms, and third our team batting average hovers just below .240.
JL: But that is also assuming you get nothing in return for Finley, Bautista and Alomar. The deal that sends Finley to San Diego is supposed to bring back Humberto Quintero, a solid hitting catcher--
DM: A solid hitting catcher in the MINORS.
JL: And you have to remember, pitching is what we're after, and we should get some in return for those three guys.
DM: But it seems doubtful we'll get three decent starters, AND two good relievers back for those three guys, not to mention that you still seem to think we'll get some position players. Finley is having a great year, but he's still 39 years old, Bautista is really having his first real good year of his career, and he doesn't have the power most teams want in a corner outfielder, and Alomar is following three sub-par years with a good month. You're not getting the '27 Yankees in return for these three guys.
JL: If you hold on to Randy all you really need to get is one more good starter, one more good arm in the bullpen, and some prospects to contend. There are always decent corner outfielders available in free agency and Shea Hillenbrand could platoon with Tracy at 3rd to add some more pop to the lineup. The NL West is still going to be weak, and 90 wins is possible, especially when you can count on Johnson to give you 15 to 18 of those wins.
DM: But what's to say Johnson is still going to be able to do that? He's going to be 41 years old. He's not the guy who is going to give you six or seven complete games, and the bullpen is not good enough to hold leads.
JL: All I'm saying is that you can not, absolutely can NOT, give away Randy Johnson.
DM: But you can't hold on to him either.