So on Christmas, I had enough information to post that something was close. But first, let’s talk about the continuing Randy Johnson rumors. Yes, there’s a possibility that he’s headed out of New York and due to his no-trade clause, the only location he’d approve a deal to would be Arizona or Southern California. That puts the Dbacks at the top of the list, with the Padres as one possible destination and the Dodgers as a long shot. Don’t think the Dodgers are involved as anything more than a price-runner; they’re one of few teams thick with pitching and have no need for the Yanks other trading chip, Melky Cabrera.
So would the Pads be more likely to go for Johnson outright or, as rumored, by a third party in the trade? That remains to be seen, but don’t expect the Pads braintrust to want to help the Dbacks get better. Look for this deal to quiet down over the next few days. Nothing will happen quickly, in large part due to Johnson’s back. Any team that deals for Johnson will want to have a much clearer picture on his health before figuring out what the cost for him will be.
Oh, the tease. While I can’t give specifics on the deal, there are still at least six teams involved in some discussions centering on Atlanta. The Braves are in full dump mode, trying to get something for Andruw Jones, trying to find Jones’ replacement on the cheap, and working more on the bullpen. Leo Mazzone isn’t there to build a bullpen out of dreck anymore. So how does this all work together? Why trade a young player like Andy Adam LaRoche if they’re trying to control the payroll? Why deal Jones right now rather than at the deadline? The team is determined to find a solid bullpen and think they can do it with a series of deals that include LaRoche, Mike Gonzalez, Andruw Jones, and several CF candidates that I’m told include Rocco Baldelli, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Markakis. The deals appear to also have some other big names like Tim Hudson, Mark Teixeira, and Dontrelle Willis on the periphery. The three team deal that seemed close over the weekend doesn’t seem so close now as the complexity has increased. Remember that John Schuerholz is normally a slow worker, so quiet on this front doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.
Hopefully this keeps everyone happy. It certainly gives a lot of teams something to talk about, think about, or just ignore.