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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Giants Sign Randy Johnson

I know it happened a few days ago, I was just waiting for another move to follow which is why I'm just now getting around to posting about it. I'm sure everyone who cares knows by now that Randy Johnson signed a 1 year, 8 million dollar deal with the Giants. I fully support this move as the pitching staff was a little overrated before this move (Outside of Cain and Lincecum, you didn't really know what you were going to get) but adding RJ into the mix for a year is a great move. He can still pitch obviously, as evident of his 2.41 era, and 8-5 record over the second half of last season. Put that together with the fact that he's now coming to pitch at a legitimate pitchers park for the first time in his career and we could see The Unit find a fountain of youth here as he closes in on 300 wins (at 295 currently). While he should be a fine pitcher here, he will also be a great sounding board for the young power pitchers, and a solid overall team leader. Now, I'm not saying RJ's add is the one that puts the Giants over the top, they still need to add hitting to be a true contender, but their overall pitching staff, from top to bottom, is looking pretty darn good after this winter's signings. Right now I'd guess that "The Big Ugly/Unit" would start the season as the #2 starter in between Lincecum and Cain, just to break up the two righties, with Sanchez and Zito rounding things out as the 4 and 5. That staff has the potential to be one of the best rotations in the NL. My wild hunch is that the Unit finishes the season at 15-7 with a 3.55 era and 185 k's in 195 innings pitched throwing half his games in the spacious AT&T Park, and with the Giants improved bullpen backing him up. There is also the slight possibility that Noah Lowry gets healthy for the start of the season which would provide the Giants with an abundance of major league caliber starting pitchers. Only then would I like to see Sabean deal one of them.

Ever since Johnson signed, Jonathon Sanchez's name has re-surfaced as possible trade bait in order to get another hitter in here. Like I said last time the thought of trading Sanchez (for Jorge Cantu) was brought up, if they can't get better than the likes of Cantu, it'd be more worth it for them to carry the strong starting staff and hopefully watch Sanchez's trade value skyrocket in 2009. I personally would prefer the deep, quality starting pitching, unless of course Sanchez would bring a guy like Dan Uggla or J.J. Hardy aboard. Quality, all-star caliber bats that are in their 20's. After all, I consider Sanchez a young, quality lefty with all-star capabilities as well. The kid was among the league leaders in strikeouts for most of the first 4 months of the season, and yes, he ran out of steam towards the end of the year, but it was his first season as a full-time starter after being bounced between bullpen and rotation over the last couple of seasons. With a full year of starting in the bigs under his belt, I'd say 26 year-old will be much more prepared in his second go round and I expect to see him throw like he did in the first half (8-5, 3.97 era, 115 k's and a .237 BAA in 111 innings pitched), if not better, for the whole season in 2009. So no, do not deal Sanchez just for the simple fact that you signed RJ, Sabean. He's got a high ceiling and showed a lot of his potential last season.

I would almost like to see the Giants just stand pat from here on out, maybe with another low key signing or two. They still need help offensively, but I don't see them getting the type of help they need this off-season. Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell, the two biggest bats remaining on the market, don't want to come here and play first as the Giants are already packed in the outfield. And I think that's a good thing in the long run. Dunn (if he runs out of options and could be had on the cheap for a 2 year deal) might be interesting in the short term, seeing that he's still early in his prime and could easily pop off for 50-60 home runs in any given season. Yes, he k's a ton and isn't the best defender, but he does have huge upside. I also still like the possibility of bringing in a guy like Ty Wigginton (apparently the Giants have contacted his agent) as insurance around the infield and to be kind of Mr. Everything the way Aurilia was in 2008 and Feliz was before he was handed the full time gig at third. Joe Crede is also still available and that will remain a possibility until he goes somewhere else. Wigginton though, has shown what he can do with limited at-bats, and although he's not a game necessarily a game changer (although he proved he could be at times last August), he's got more home runs over the last 3 seasons than any other player on the team. For a guy still in his prime and with the versatility of Wigginton, I'd see it as another win/win signing for the Giants. Wigginton's not going to cost anymore than 2 years and around $10 million or so, plus it would mean the Giants hang on to all their pitchers for another season (or at least start of the season). He's also a little under-rated on defense. He's not a great defender, but he's very serviceable at 1st, 2nd and in the outfield, and I'd say league average at 3rd and better than what Jose Castillo was last season. Well worth it if he'd continue to do what he's done over the last 3 seasons, and I don't think there is any question that he would.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I like the RJ singing a lot too. Like someone else said. They're almost replacing Barry with the Unit. He will draw that kind of crowd when he pitches, still.

  • At 6:55 PM, Anonymous Billy Bob said…

    Why is everyone so excited about 55 year old Randy Johnson? Really thouhg, he's not that good anymore. I would be surprised if he started more than 25 games. AZ was a nice spot for him cause it was warm and his back stiffens up in the cool weather, Not good. If anybody else still thought Randy was a dominant pitcher, he would have gotten more money to go somewhere else. He's now a #4 or #5 pitcher, not a 1-2.

  • At 9:00 PM, Blogger Trevor said…

    Johnson was very good in the second half of last season. Sure he's 45 but to call him "done" wouldn't be accurate. I think he's still got at least 2-3 more good seasons left in that arm. Is he a #1 anymore? But put between Lincecum and Cain, he's just fine. I think he is really going to payoff for them. The only way I see this move going sour is if Johnson gets hurt, but even if that happens, he's only signed for a year and a reasonable $8 million.

  • At 7:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Big Ugly" haven't heard that one yet but it's pretty good. Haha, makes me chuckle, and I haven't even had my new years booze yet. Haha. Go Giants.

  • At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Jack said…

    Do we still have the spot of 40-man roster to sign Wiggy?

  • At 2:26 PM, Blogger IRONPIGPEN said…


    "Where Have You Gone IronPig - The Masters?"
    (Steve Kline)



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