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Thursday, November 13, 2008

50% Off Still Not Enough To Get A Deal Done, Big Unit Files For Free Agency

Via BTF, Robothal tells us Randy Johnson has at last filed for free agency.
Johnson, unable to reach a contract agreement with the Diamondbacks, opted for free agency on Thursday, the final day players could file.

"Randy instructed us not to file for free agency until we made every effort to reach an agreement," Johnson's agents, Barry Meister and Alan Nero, said in a statement. "The Diamondbacks have a budget based on their club's financial situation and obviously viewed Randy's contract in that context. Randy considered every reasonable compromise including offering to take a 50% pay cut, all to remain a Diamondback. However, the economic situation did not lend itself to an agreement."

Johnson's two-year contract with the Diamondbacks averaged $13 million per season. His actual salary last season was $10 million.

The Diamondbacks' offer, then, did not exceed $5 million. It was believed to be in the $2 million to $3 million range.

Five victories short of 300, Johnson intends to pitch next season, but almost certainly will sign with another team.

"Randy can be a difference-maker," Meister said. "I expect there to be significant interest."

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That's a tough call: Johnson, at his age, is a 5th starter--someone who will deliver replacement level performance--or perhaps a little bit better--at the back of the rotation for perhaps 150 innings tops. In terms of performance, he is probably replaceable at a much lower cost without too much difficulty. The only thing he brings is, in effect, sentimental value--that he's a grand old man reaching a major career milestone for a team that he had his best years with. Clearly, D-backs don't think there will be enough of a market for that kind of luxury--and given the way AZ economy is tanking at the moment, I can see why they might think so. That begs the question, though: will there be a better market elsewhere? The only team I think that might invest in that sentimentality is Seattle. I am curious.
They've got a nice pitcher's park, but RJ seems to have trouble in cold, damp weather lately (see his stay in NY).
Well, he's old. How about the Giants?

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