For Rivera and Yanks, a trade that wasn’t

Possible trade target: Ty Wigginton
Link Dump: Jeter, Yanks-Dodgers, Torre, Balk
Still a Yankee after all of these years. | Photo credit: Ross D. Franklin/AP

What Mariano Rivera did last night was nothing short of amazing. Pitching in his second inning of work for the first time since Game 6 of the 2009 World Series and on the mound that was the site of his greatest failure, Rivera almost let this one slip away. After a Curtis Granderson home run put the Yanks ahead, the Diamondbacks loaded the bases with no outs against the Yanks’ closer. And then Mo went to work.

Facing Arizona’s 4-5-6 hitters, Rivera was ruthless. As I paced around my living room at 1:45 in the morning, the Sandman induced a foul out, a pop out and a strike out. The game ended without a fist pump, a little dance on the mound or even a smile. In fact, Mariano looked relieved and sounded more than a little bit annoyed with himself for nearly blowing his 72nd career win. The greatest demands self-perfection.

As Mo’s ERA dipped to 1.03, we thanked him for last night’s win. After a while, it’s easy to take Mariano for granted. He’s just there, ready to do what he needs to do to get outs, to save games, to nail down a W. He doesn’t need the histrionics of Jose Valverde or Jonathan Papelbon. He just is Mariano.

But more than once, the Yankees almost missed out on the opportunity to enjoy 16 years of excellence. As a young pitcher, Mariano was a hot commodity in the Yankee farm system, and George Steinbrenner always wanted the next best thing. Last summer, I reflected upon the time the Yankees almost traded Mariano and Jorge Posada for David Wells. Had that deal gone through in 1995, Yankee history would be shockingly different.

That wasn’t, however, the only time the team nearly traded their future Hall of Famer. After inheriting the closer mantle in 1997, Mariano had a post-season collapse against the Indians. The Yanks were five outs away from a trip to the ALCS when Rivera served up a two-out home run to Sandy Alomar. While Ramiro Mendoza would lose the game in the 9th, Rivera’s inability to nail down the game cost the Yanks a shot at a Championship Series rematch with the Orioles. It stung.

Some in the Yankee organization were still willing to part with Mariano Rivera over concerns of a bad arm, and that winter, he was again the subject of trade rumors. When the Mariners quietly let it be known that Randy Johnson was on the market, George Steinbrenner tried to pounce. Unbeknownst to then-GM Bob Watson, the Boss proposed a Rivera-for-Johnson swap straight up. The Mariners rejected that trade but came back with another shocking offer.

Seattle, trying to exploit its position, asked instead for a starter to go along with Rivera. That start just happened to be Andy Pettitte, but the Yankees were “turned off” by that request, The Daily News reported in November of 1997. That would have been a deal for the ages, and it wasn’t the only proposal floated with Rivera. The Expos asked for him along with Posada and Eric Milton in a potential deal for Pedro Martinez, and the Twins initially wanted Rivera in a package for Chuck Knoblauch.

We know how this story ends. The Yanks never landed Pedro; they got Randy Johnson seven years too late; and Chuck Knoblauch arrived for a package of nothing much and helped lead the Yanks to three World Series before losing it in 2001. Rivera, meanwhile, perseveres and not trading him remains one of the best moves the Yankees have made over the past twenty years.

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Possible trade target: Ty Wigginton
Link Dump: Jeter, Yanks-Dodgers, Torre, Balk
  • BigBlueAL

    Werent there rumors of trading Mo for Felix Fermin right before the 1996 season because they were concerned about Jeter playing SS??

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      I don’t know if these rumors are actually true but I’ve definitely heard them.

    • Kiko Jones

      from a 6/30/09 USA Today article:

      There was some debate before the 1996 season about whether Jeter was ready to become the everyday shortstop and the Yankees considered trading Rivera to the Seattle Mariners for Felix Fermin. They concluded Jeter was ready.

      “We thought we didn’t need a shortstop,” Cashman said. “We did not know we were sitting on a Hall of Famer.”

      Also, the Yankees did not protect Mo from the 1992 expansion draft that could’ve landed him on the Marlins or Rockies. Neither one picked him, of course, so…

  • http://www.twitter.com/stophamm3rtime Dela G

    im glad we never traded mo back then, but man, i cant imagine how many games that 1998 team wins with randy johnson

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Yeah, I actually think swapping Mo Rivera and Andy Pettitte for Randy Johnson at the peak of his powers is a deal we probably should have made. I think we win MORE rings that way.

      I know, I know, Mo’s the greatest, he’s a playoff warrior, blah blah blah.

      We’re talking about RANDY JOHNSON. Or PEDRO MARTINEZ.

      • http://www.twitter.com/stophamm3rtime Dela G

        completely agree

      • CountryClub

        Except your talking about Andy and Mo. I admit, it’s not a no brainer in either direction. But I’d rather have Andy and Mo. Plus, the 2 Yanks were just entering their prime and RJ was getting up there. Nobody could have predicted he’d be as good as he was for as long as he was.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Could you have predicted Randy Johnson going 100-38 with a 175 ERA+ and a 1746/374 K/BB ratio from 1998-2002? And winning 4 straight Cy Youngs?

          The man had a 12.3 K/9 ratio those five years.

          TWELVE. POINT. THREE.

          • CountryClub

            Still, the Yanks would have given up a HOFer and a borderline HOFer (in the Pedro deal too). If it was Mo for RJ straight up, you have to make that trade. But if it was the 2 for 1 deal, I’d rather have the 2 vs the 1.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              True. See my comment below.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

            Some of that was NL RJ too…maybe he just took off when he went to the NL but I think that helped a lot. I shutter to think what he could have done with a career in the NLW.

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

        I actually agree; it is still horrifying to think about, though.

      • nsalem

        Randy Johnson in Division Series’ is 2 and 8 with an ERA of about
        5.00. His teams on more than one occasion did not advance because he basically sucked (especially when he wasn’t pitching against the Yankees) in big games. Yes one man does not determine the outcome of a series but if you remembered his performances in Game 3 vs the Angels in 05 and the Tigers in Game 6 you get my point. Randy also imploded for Seattle in 1997 and for Arizona in 1999 and 2002 when he was at supposed “peak of his powers”. Yes Randy was an all time great regular season starter, but comparing him to Mo in a big spot at any age is a losing argument. Plus Mo is a much nicer person and does not mind having his picture taken!!!

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Oaktag all of this ridiculousness.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            I notice you didn’t cite his ALCS/NLCS/WS numbers. Very interesting.

            Selective stat-citing FTL.

          • jsbrendog (returns)

            as i return, so does oaktag haha

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              As do the fantasy football bragging rights namedrops.

              It’s like Old School Week up in here. I’m going to go put on my New York Titans throwback.

      • Not Tank the Frank

        Yeah, the first thing I thought when I read this article:

        “Uhhhh, I think I would take Randy Johnson.”

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          Left unsaid was the belief that I probably would have taken Randy Johnson too.

      • vin

        In hindsight? Yeah, probably. But I think the Yankee FO was right to not make the move in November 1997. Randy was 33, and had a back injury in ’96 (IIRC). To trade a young, front of the rotation starter, and a relatively young closer (who was coming off a great season for a closer, but a “meh” season for Mo) for a 33 year old with an injury history is pretty inadvisable.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Yup.

          Dispassionate patience and prudence >>>>>>>>>> being seduced by past performance and name recognition

          • jsbrendog (returns)

            somewhere george steinbrenner’s head just exploded

            • thurdonpaul

              Steinbrenners head exploded….nahh , never mind, i wont go there :)

      • http://unclemikesmusings.blogspot.com Uncle Mike

        Yes, we’re talking about Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez. Neither of whom ever wins a World Series without Curt Schilling. Or steroid-ridden teammates. Or… both?

        The strange part is, we’ll never know if Mariano would have become MARIANO on another team. However, let us always remember: The Mets would have made the deal, and let a great player get away. Nolan Ryan for Jim Fregosi. Amos Otis for Joe Foy. Rusty Staub in his prime for a washed-up Mickey Lolich. Tom Seaver for four guys. Tom Seaver (again, with a couple of good years left) for nothing. David Cone for Jeff Kent. Kent himself for Carlos Baerga. Scott Kazmir for one of the Zambranos, and not the good one. Their list is mind-boggling, while ours is sparkling.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          That was a great bedtime story that had nothing to do about nothing.

          Tell us another, Uncle Mike!

  • Jay T

    It’s amazing to find out all the deals that almost happened. Not just Mo but almost all of them. What about the proposed DiMaggio for Ted Williams?

    • A.D.

      From that I’ve heard it as more as banter between the owners, then a real trade.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

        Tom Yawkey asked for Yogi Berra and the Yanks said: GTFO.

  • Captain Bawls

    I mean, not to sound blasphemous here, but if we had gotten Johnson for Mo straight up – I don’t think anybody would be complaining about that :P

    • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      Yeah, Mo is the greatest reliever ever.

      Johnson is a top 10 pitcher of all time.

      Unit>>>>>>>Mo

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Career WAR:

        Mo Rivera: 49.9 (#76)
        Randy Johnson: 91.8 (#12)

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Although, if you include Pettitte (47.1, #85) AND factor into it that you’d only be getting about half of Randy’s total WAR, since he was already in his 30s… yeah, I can see why we passed.

          Two young pitchers >>>>> one older pitcher, even though he’s about to have his crazy-good peak. After 2002, Randy’s production dims significantly.

          • CountryClub

            Yeah, that’s what i was trying to say above. You backed it up with numbers, though.

          • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

            Johnson WAR, 1998-present:

            56.4. A little more than 60% of the total.

            Johnson age 34 on had more WAR than Whitey Ford

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              Thanks. Better than I thought, but still not as much as Mo + Andy from 1998-present.

              • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

                Mo + Andy, 1998-present is 70.2 and counting

                I happen to think that b-ref WAR overvalues relievers somewhat (Mo is the active WAR leader–he has more than Halladay or Pettitte despite half of Halladay’s innings, one third of Pettitte’s, and slightly more than a quarter of Moyer’s)

                • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

                  71.4, that should be

                  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                    I don’t know if WAR overvalues relievers as much as Mo just breaks all statistical evaluations, because he’s a freak of nature. WAR might evaluate relievers accurately but overstates how much better than most relievers Mo really is, in an odd way.

                    I mean, the man is on the verge of posting his second season with a WHIP under 0.700. That’s insane. And yet, while he demolishes the 9th inning in a way that other humans just cannot, his contributions to the Yankees W/L record isn’t much different than what a lesser reliever incapable of being perfect every night would do.

                • RL

                  … and counting

                  While no one could have predicted back then how long Mo and Pettite would be contributing, I’m extremely happy no deal was ever made. Yeah, probably would have won 2, maybe 3, more WS back then (’01, ’02, ’03?). I don’t know if he’d have helped that much. Guess part of it depends who we’d have as a closer. We’d probably still be rebuilding now, however, instead of talking about how well the team is doing even while the offense sucks!

    • SK

      my ears!! or rather my eyes!! i kind of agree but i feel blasphemus for thinking of mariano NOT in a yankee uniform.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Meh, we would have bought him back when he hit the market.

        Straight cash, homie.

  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

    I know the 1998 team would probably have won, like, 125 REGULAR SEASON games with Randy Johnson but every time I hear rumors of Mo (and Pettitte!! I’m still very happy Seattle chose Hitchcock, not Pettitte, in the Tino deal.) getting traded my stomach just clenches up, I can’t help it.

  • Opus

    Looking back on it, maybe the team would’ve won even more with Randy Johnson or Pedro Martinez instead of Mariano Rivera. But I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. I like watching this team win because of Mariano. He’ll always be a great person and I’m glad he’ll always be a Yankee.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Looking back on it, maybe the team would’ve won even more with Randy Johnson or Pedro Martinez instead of Mariano Rivera. But I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much.

      I find this highly unlikely.

      • nsalem

        Randy Johnson’s teams appeared in the post season 8 times.
        On 5 of those occasions his performances were so inept his team did not make it to the next round. When you are a number 1 starter and you pitch poorly twice in a five game series, you must shoulder a good deal of the responsibility (ie Mr. Wang) Yes he was dominating in 01 and deserves a great deal of the credit. He was also so dreadful in 5 other series and deserves an equal amount of credit for his teams failures. I am not arguing his full body of work, I am just pointing out that he pitched his team out of playoff series 5 different times. To say that the Yankees would have been better off with him rather than Mo
        is laughable.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          I am not arguing his full body of work, I am just pointing out that he pitched his team out of playoff series 5 different times.

          Two pitchers who combined to pitch their team out of a playoff series 5 different times:

          Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte

    • Tampa Yankee

      But I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much.
      I doubt that. I’m pretty sure you would have enjoyed the dominance of Pedro and Johnson. Also, I think your views towards Johnson and Pedro are what they are because of what they did vs the Yankees after 1997. In 1997 we are talking about a pre-Boston Pedro and a pre-D’back’s Johnson. Also, Mo wasn’t “Mo” quite yet so that is also skewing your opinion.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        That.

        People cease being insufferable jerkface assholes when they are on your team, winning titles for you. Then they become iconic personalities who are fan favorites even despite their horrible attitudes.

        See also: O’Neill, Paul.

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

          Currently Joba Chamberlain falls into that category too, I have a feeling everyone would hate him if he were on a different team.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Meh, if he were on a different team, he’d just be a solid young starter emerging as a potential future star. He’d have made his debut in someone’s rotation in 2008, would have scuffled a little (like all young starters do), and would have been shut down when he hit his innings limits, come back in 2009, and probably would be making the leap right now in 2010.

            He’d be Ricky Romero.

            • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

              The fist pumps, the DUI, the fatness…yeah I’m pretty sure we would definitely root against him.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                Do we root against Jose Valverde? Or do we barely notice Jose Valverde?

                I think it’s the latter.

                • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

                  Do we barely notice K-Rod?

                  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                    If he hadn’t beaten us in 2002, yeah, we probably wouldn’t have noticed him. At least not until he came to the Mets or people started saying dumb shit like “He’s better than Mariano Rivera”.

                    I’m not saying that we wouldn’t eventually have a dislike for Joba if he turned into a superstar douchebag, but if he was just a young starter in Kansas City or Oakland or Atlanta or Milwaukee, all his antics and theatrics would be a minor blip on baseball’s collective radar.

                    He’s only a story because he’s a Yankee.

                    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

                      If he hadn’t beaten us in 2002, yeah, we probably wouldn’t have noticed him. At least not until he came to the Mets or people started saying dumb shit like “He’s better than Mariano Rivera”.

                      Even then he became a superstar closer without that due to his nasty breaking pitch and histrionic tourettes.

                      I’m not saying that we wouldn’t eventually have a dislike for Joba if he turned into a superstar douchebag, but if he was just a young starter in Kansas City or Oakland or Atlanta or Milwaukee, all his antics and theatrics would be a minor blip on baseball’s collective radar.

                      He’s only a story because he’s a Yankee.

                      I disagree…if he becomes successful, he becomes a story. If he’s a story people begin to watch him, they’d notice his theatrics and his DUI incident (people knew when Brian Giles hit his girlfriend, and he’s the most underrated player of my lifetime). If he played in Atlanta people would definitely notice him. He’s a big story because he’s a Yankee, but Yankee or not he’d be a story because of his stuff.

                  • whozat

                    I barely notice KRod. I roll my eyes whenever I see him close out a mets win over the Yanks, and whenever else I run into a highlight of him I think “wow…with that motion he’s going to be hurt WAAAY before that contract is over…”

                    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

                      Well he plays for the Mets now…that’s where big names go to die. Anyone who says that they immediately didn’t think of his histrionics when people bitched about Joba’s fist pump is a liar.

                • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

                  We’d probably be like “He’s a douchebag” when we played against him if he was fistpumping excessively or whatever (though that’s another debate for so many other times) but I don’t think I’d actively hate/dislike him. I can definitely understand the POV that Joba is not one of the more likable Yankees, however.

                  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

                    You don’t seem the type to actively hate another player…other fans, like to be judicious with their hatred.

                    • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

                      Unless said player has ever gotten a hit in his career off Pettitte…

                    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

                      She said she didn’t hate David Ortiz…I mean, if you’re a Yankee fan and don’t absolutely loathe him, you have anger issues.

                    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                      I mean, if you’re a Yankee fan and don’t absolutely loathe him, you have anger issues.

                      I’m a Yankee fan and I don’t absolutely loathe David Ortiz. I don’t like him at all, but I don’t loathe him either.

                      I like making fun of him and his search for the real killers, though.

                    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

                      I like making fun of him and his search for the real killers, though.

                      Allocating your wit towards his misfortunes is an acceptable substitute.

                    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

                      I really really do not like a lot of players. I used to not dislike Ortiz, I admit, but I always loathed Varitek, Beckett, Schilling, Papelbon, Millar, etc.

                    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

                      And now I both dislike him greatly and enjoy mocking his search for the real killers as well.

                      And Dirty Pena, hey. :( (I do despise Ellsbury for certain bad things that happened last year that I don’t enjoy talking about.)

                • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

                  I think it 100% depends on the team. If Joba and Papelbon switched spots, I’m pretty positive I’d hate Joba more than I hate Papelbon.

                  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

                    If he played for the Red Sox there would be people who suggested a conspiracy when he got off with probie for the DUI charge.

        • RL

          No, Pedro and Johnson would have still been (or was in Johnson’s case) insufferable jerfaces with the Yankees. O’Neill, wasn’t good enough before the Yankees to me to be concerned with.

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          People cease being insufferable jerkface assholes when they are on your team, winning titles for you

          Eh, maybe you (and maybe most people) feel that way. But for me, no number of championships can make Clemens anything other than an insufferable jerkface asshole.

          And I’m sure I’d feel exactly the same about Papsmear, although I pray to Mo I’ll never have to find out.

          • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

            You’re saying you weren’t cheering for Roger in this game? I’m calling shenanigans

            • Sweet Dick Willie

              I NEVER rooted for Clemens. However, since I ALWAYS root for the Yankees, that presented a dichotomy.

              But I can honestly say that I never found joy in Clemens doing well. If he helped the Yankees win, well, I took joy in that, but I didn’t like him when he was w/ Boston, I didn’t like him when he was w/ Toronto, and I didn’t like him when he was w/ the Yankees. And I certainly didn’t like him when he was w/ Houston.

              Why? Because, IMO, he is an insufferable jerkface asshole.

        • pounder

          See also: Roger Maris.Reggie Jackson. Cecil B. de Fielder. Jose Canseco.et cetera,et cetera,et cetera.

      • Opus

        I never hated Pedro and Randy, I liked them. It was a pleasure watching two of the most dominating pitchers of all time perform (Pedro’s 1 hit, 17 K performance against the Yanks in 1999 is still one of the most exciting games I’ve ever seen). I didn’t say what I did because of hatred for them, I did because Rivera is my favorite player of all time, second place isn’t even close. I’ve enjoyed watching him play more than anyone. And I’ve even enjoyed seeing him handle disappointment. And I, like many here, enjoy watching homegrown Yankees succeed.

        (Sorry if I disagree with those that think they know how I’d feel better than I would.)

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          But the problem is you say:

          “I didn’t say what I did because of hatred for them, I did because Rivera is my favorite player of all time, second place isn’t even close.”

          If Mo Rivera had been traded for Randy Johnson in 1998, Mo Rivera would have never had the chance to be your favorite player of all time.

          Your argument is moot.

  • steve s

    If you delete his huge successes against the Yankees, Johnson was mediocre to a bust in his non-Yankee post-season performances (even in his prime). Not so sure having Johnson over Mo/Pettitte would have meant more rings for the Yanks.

    • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

      Most pitchers are mediocre to bust when you delete their successes

      • jsbrendog (returns)

        well played

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      If you delete his huge successes against the Yankees, Johnson was mediocre to a bust in his non-Yankee post-season performances (even in his prime)

      Randy’s postseason series:
      1995 ALDS v. NYY: Dynamite
      1995 ALCS v. CLE: Dynamite
      1997 ALDS v. BAL: Kinda crappy
      1998 NLDS v. SDP: Friggin’ Amazing
      1999 NLDS v. NYM: Crappy
      2001 NLDS v. STL: Solid
      2001 NLCS v. ATL: Friggin Amazing
      2001 WS v. NYY: Friggin Amazing
      2002 NLDS v. STL: Crappy
      2005 ALDS v. LAA: Crappy (and old)
      2006 ALDS v. DET: Crappy (and old)

      He wasn’t “mediocre to a bust”. He was good more often than not, and dynamite quite frequently.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Also:

        Pitcher A, postseason career: 3.50 ERA, 1.140 WHIP, 4.13 K/BB
        Pitcher B, postseason career: 3.90 ERA, 1.333 WHIP, 2.31 K/BB

        Pitcher A had 16 career postseason starts and went 7-9. Pitcher B had 40 career posteason starts and went 18-9.

        I think you can figure out who’s who and what this exercise means.

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

          I think you can figure out who’s who and what this exercise means.

          All I get out of this is Pitcher B knows how to win.

        • steve s

          He was 2-9 in the post season if you don’t count his 5-0 against the Yanks (and the only other team he ever beat was the Braves). In 11 post season series his team lost 7 of them. His record in those 7 series losses was a combined 0-8! Based on my original statement how do you call that good and I don’t see how you can even call it mediocre. He was as big a bust in the post-season (excluding pitching against the Yankees as per my original statement) as any big-time pitcher ever!

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Pitcher A, postseason career: 3.50 ERA, 1.140 WHIP, 4.13 K/BB
            Pitcher B, postseason career: 3.90 ERA, 1.333 WHIP, 2.31 K/BB

            Wins and losses are horrible ways to evaluate a pitcher.

            • nsalem

              Changing the comparisons from Johnson to Mo to Johsnon to Pettitte is a great strategy. This is one you can
              win. Sincerely Von McDaniel

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                I can only compare Randy to Andy because Mo’s not a starting pitcher.

                The point of the comparison is, thinking that Randy is some unbelievable playoff choker seems odd when he’s outpitched Andy Pettitte in his playoff career.

            • steve s

              If you told me that Johnson pitched better comparatively in the post-season than he did in the regular season (excluding the Yankee post-season performances) but was just unfortunate when it came to wins and losses then ok; but it appears to me he was much better in the regular season than in the post-season in most of his non-Yankee post-season performances. Also I think it is fair to say no matter how poor a stat that you may feel Wins/Losses are, in the post-season Wins/Losses against the superior teams carries more weight and meaning than regular season Wins/Losses do (sort of axiomatic) and is a more meaningful measure of performance under post-season circumstances than regular season performances. Without doing any in depth stat analysis wouldn’t you rather have Smoltz over Johnson in a post-season must win situation just based on their respective post-season W/L performances?

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                Q: Without doing any in depth stat analysis wouldn’t you rather have Smoltz over Johnson in a post-season must win situation just based on their respective post-season W/L performances?

                A: I don’t know, because if someone asked me that question, I’d do in depth statistical analysis before answering intelligently, because people are entitled to thoughtfully considered answers to questions asked.

              • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

                Also I think it is fair to say no matter how poor a stat that you may feel Wins/Losses are, in the post-season Wins/Losses against the superior teams carries more weight and meaning than regular season Wins/Losses do

                Nope. Wins/losses aren’t meaningless during the regular season because you can rack up a lot of wins against bad teams, they are meaningless because they don’t tell you anything about how well a pitcher pitched. That’s still true in the postseason, and thus wins/losses are equally meaningless.

                Without doing any in depth stat analysis wouldn’t you rather have Smoltz over Johnson in a post-season must win situation just based on their respective post-season W/L performances?

                Why on earth would you only look at the W/L records and use that as your only criterion? Derek Lowe has 9 wins this year and Zack Greinke has 2. To answer your question, Dave Burba. That guy never lost a postseason game. Never

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            He was as big a bust in the post-season (excluding pitching against the Yankees as per my original statement) as any big-time pitcher ever!

            So, lemme get this straight. Your argument is, when you DON’T look at the biggest of his big games, he was a big bust.

            That doesn’t make sense.

            • steve s

              I see what you’re objecting to. He was a post-season Yankee killer no doubt so if I said he was the greatest post-season pitcher of all time (just counting the games against the Yanks) that would be an absurd statement as well. My original argument, though, was just a reaction to the “what if” Johnson was traded to the Yanks in 1998 (which means his 3-0 in 2001 never happens) and then focusing on his other post-season performances which were not up to his own regular season performances and were surprisingly not too helpful in getting his teams rings.

              • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

                The greatest (non-Mo) postseason pitcher of all time was Christy Mathewson. 0.97 ERA, 0.836 WHIP in 101.2 World Series innings. His record was 5-5

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                My original argument, though, was just a reaction to the “what if” Johnson was traded to the Yanks in 1998 (which means his 3-0 in 2001 never happens) and then focusing on his other post-season performances which were not up to his own regular season performances and were surprisingly not too helpful in getting his teams rings.

                It’s still a flawed argument, though, because you’re making the assumption that the good performances Randy had against the Yankees wouldn’t be/couldn’t be duplicated if those performances came against other teams if he had been a member of the Yankees.

                You’re subtracting his good performances against a great team and not allowing for the possibility that he’d have good performances against other great teams if he were here in pinstripes.

                That doesn’t make sense.

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          I know B is Pettitte, I’ll assume A is Johnson. tRA+ is real dude!

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Randy, career postseason FIP: 3.30
            Andy, career postseason FIP: 4.19

  • Kevin

    If the Yankees had Pedro or Randy Johnson, it’s reasonable to believe they would have pitched well and late into ballgames. But who would have saved 23 consecutive games and pitched 34 consecutive scoreless innings at the back of the bullpen? Does having Jeff Nelson, Mike Stanton, or Ramiro Mendoza as a closer instead negate the great starting pitching?

    • Kevin

      And when I pose those questions, I’m referring to the postseason, since it would be reasonable to assume they go just as far in the playoffs with either of those starters.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        since it would be reasonable to assume they go just as far in the playoffs with either of those starters.

        I don’t think it that’s a reasonable assumption. I think if you take Andy Pettitte out of our postseason rotation and replace him with Randy Johnson, we probably go further in the playoffs with that change.

        People act like Andy Pettitte never had a bad postseason series. That’s not true.

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          I am still traumatized by Game 3 of the 1998 ALCS (not that that didn’t turn out okay in the end, but I still remember sitting there watching all those Cleveland home runs go out and, like, crying).

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I doubt the Yankees would have stood pat and not added a top-notch closer at some point.

      Billy Wagner, maybe?

  • Peter

    I have a weird that the non-trade of Mo was already written up last year.

    This felt like reading from cache.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Maybe you have that feeling because I linked to a different piece about a different Mo trade in this current piece. That was such good reasoning on your part, one might even say you have ESPN.

      • jsbrendog (returns)

        OWNED!

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Mind-bottling.

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

    I think we can all agree that not making the trade worked out splendidly for us and making the trade probably would have worked out the same. When you’re talking about swapping HOF talent for HOF talent, you pretty much win either way.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      NO WE CAN’T AGREE, BECAUSE RANDY JOHNSON IS A MEAN JERKFACE!!!

    • nsalem

      Would you trade Willie Mays for Nellie Fox?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        No, I wouldn’t. Ironically, though, in your analogy, Randy Johnson is Willie Mays and Mariano Rivera/Andy Pettitte are Nellie Fox.

        Willie Mays and Randy Johnson are the “good” side of those potential HoF swaps.

        • nsalem

          a) “Yeah, I actually think swapping Mo Rivera and Andy Pettitte for Randy Johnson at the peak of his powers is a deal we probably should have made. I think we win MORE rings that way.” Your words

          b) Now you are comparing Nellie Fox and Mo. very weak

          c) If Randy was traded to New York and stayed he would have made a fortune in MaxClarity Ads
          d) Mo 5 rings to Randy’s 1. Rivera was a key element especially as a stopper in the last 4.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            A.) Yes, I think we shouldn’t have traded Mo and Andy for Randy. That being said, I also agree with Kiersten above that if we did, it still would have worked out for us pretty well with numerous titles won.

            B.) I’m pointing out how your analogy sucks.

            C.) Nobody cares.

            D.) That’s a function of the teams that they’re on. If Randy was on teams with Jeter/Posada/Bernie/Paulie/Cone/Clemens/etc., he’d probably have more than 1 ring. If Mo wasn’t on those teams, he’d be Trevor Hoffmann.

            • nsalem

              A)We will never know, but we won five rings with Mo.
              B)But not as suckee as suggesting we should have traded
              Mo and Andy for Johsnon
              C)You would care if you had a complexion like Randy’s.
              D)Jeter,Posada,Bernie,Paulie,Cone and Torre have said over over that “no way we win those all those rings without Mo.(maybe you
              know something that they don’t).
              E)I agree with almost everything that you post, but I severely disagree with this. Peace

  • bottom line

    This could be the best story I ever saw on RAB.

  • The Fallen Phoenix

    Lost in the Randy Johnson v. Andy Pettitte dialog…the two tag-teamed to help the Diamondbacks win in 2001. Or have we all forgotten Game 6? I wish I had.

    …just saying.

  • Total Dominication

    I take Pedro or Unit. Mo forgive me.