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Friday, November 12, 2021

Where does Max rank among best FA deals?

1) Randy Johnson, D-backs, 1999-2002

4 seasons, 4 Cy Youngs, 4 above-average seasons, 1 title, 9.9 WAR/yr

Our system may not be flawless, but it does have Johnson at the top, and it is almost literally impossible to do better than “four consecutive Cy Young Awards in every season of a four-year contract, and the franchise’s first—and to date, only—World Series title.” How do you do better than that? You don’t. You can’t. The system works.

Johnson was also notable for basically putting a second-year D-backs franchise on the map, joining them a year after the original 1998 Arizona squad had lost 97 games. He was already 35 years old by the time he arrived, but he contributed a 39.7 WAR (9.9 WAR/year) over the four years of his initial contract, a span that’s without hyperbole on the short list for some of the very best pitching in baseball history.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 12, 2021 at 04:55 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: max scherzer

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   1. JimMusComp misses old primer... Posted: November 12, 2021 at 05:12 PM (#6052734)
I remember that 1998-98 offseason well. The Angels signed Mo Vaughn and were close to signing Johnson. Got Tim Belcher instead, I believe. Didn't quite work out the same.

That vintage of RJ was absolutely disgusting - he was damn near unhittable for four straight seasons - and that's coming off the 1/2 season in Houston that was completely bonkers (10-1, 1.28 ERA w/ a WHIP under 1.0). Just looking at his BBRef page I had forgotten he pitched - pretty damn well - up until he was 45. He was a freak; that bird stood no chance.
   2. Jack Sommers Posted: November 12, 2021 at 08:17 PM (#6052745)
When I was living in Taiwan in the 90's and I had family in Seattle (My Mom and Aunt and closest cousin) I used to plan my vacations around Mariners homestands to make sure I got to see him pitch at least once or twice.

When I decided to move back to the states in 2000 I moved to Arizona because my father had already been here a decade and I had a sister and an aunt here as well, and because the D-backs had just arrived and they had RJ, and I thought cool.....no way I'm moving back to the states and not going to a city without MLB. I gave up my Mets fandom, despite growing up on Long Island in the 60's and 70's and worshiping Tom Seaver. For me, I needed to be invested with the every day drama and engagement. So I jumped right in.

I went to almost every RJ home start from 2000-2004. I'm not nearly as articulate as many of the members here, but let me tell you, while not quite the Artistry of peak Pedro, I've never seen and never will see such a sustained streak of sheer dominance in my life. The swings he induced, the fear he caused, the results he got, I feel so lucky to have seen so much of it.

   3. Nasty Nate Posted: November 12, 2021 at 09:45 PM (#6052758)
I went to almost every RJ home start from 2000-2004. I'm not nearly as articulate as many of the members here, but let me tell you, while not quite the Artistry of peak Pedro, I've never seen and never will see such a sustained streak of sheer dominance in my life. The swings he induced, the fear he caused, the results he got, I feel so lucky to have seen so much of it.
Really cool.
   4. The Duke Posted: November 12, 2021 at 09:50 PM (#6052759)
Fun story - you’re like the guy who recorded Charlie Parker but would only turn his tape on when Charlie was doing a solo.
   5. John Northey Posted: November 13, 2021 at 12:53 PM (#6052815)
As a Jays fan I always loved that deal they did with Clemens - not only getting 2 Cy Young/pitcher triple crowns from him but also taking him from a division rival. Sadly the GM then was horrid (Gord Ash) so the supporting pieces were mostly garbage including the manager he added pre 1998 (guy who lied about fighting in Vietnam so he'd have good stories to push players along with, fired in spring training the next season, when Davy Johnson publicly said he wanted the Jays managing job...sigh...such wasted potential).
   6. Howie Menckel Posted: November 13, 2021 at 01:13 PM (#6052817)
love having "Northey" here as a Toronto fan

:)

in the mid-1970s, the new World Football League was supposed to have a "Toronto Northmen" franchise. but Pierre Trudeau decreed that there could be no such competition against the beloved the CFL - so the franchise shifted to Memphis, where they became the "Southmen."

the new nickname was so stupid that proper Memphisians despited it to the degree that the team got a new nickname for its second (and final) season - the "Grizzlies."

finally, in a twist, Memphis - after having the "Showboats" of the USFL in 1983-86 - got yet another pro football team in 1995 - the Memphis Mad Dogs of the.... wait for it.... CFL.

in 1995-96, Memphis had the Arena Football League's Pharoahs franchise.

the NFL's Tennessee Oilers played in Memphis in 1997, before moving to Nashville and becoming the Tennessee Titans.

The 2001 season brought in the XFL's Memphis Maniax, and in 2019 the ill-fated Alliance of American Football featured the Memphis Express.

but enough about great MLB free-agent contracts!


   7. Walt Davis Posted: November 13, 2021 at 03:07 PM (#6052841)
#4: Dean Benedetti. I think Mosaic still has the box set for sale.

My memory is that the story at the time was that the DBacks were the only team willing to go 4 years. Or it might have been that he'd have gone back to Hou if they'd offered a 5th year. And I worry that I thought that was a reasonable stance by teams given his age.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 13, 2021 at 03:19 PM (#6052843)
And I worry that I thought that was a reasonable stance by teams given his age.
Why do you worry? It was a completely reasonable stance. Teams would be stupid to bet on any player aging like Johnson turned out to.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: November 13, 2021 at 06:43 PM (#6052862)
Because it was an obviously wrong position to take. Sure, nobody would have reaasonably expected him to put up 38 WAR over the next 4 seasons. But he had put up 24 in the previous 4 and was an excellent bet for something like 15-18 over the next 4. It's not like he was lucking out, he had a FIP of 2.68 with 12 K/9 (not that we had FIP yet I don't think).

It's not like it was a monster contract, it was 4/$55. That same offseason, Piazza got 7/$91; Kevin Brown got 7/$105; Belle looks to have gotten 5/$60-something; Bernie Williams around 7/$90. (Heck of an offseason -- also Alomar, Palmeiro, Cone (2/$22 it looks like), a 40-yo Rickey.) Brown was turning 34, Johnson 35 ... granted, people were pretty shocked by the length of Brown's contract although it worked out OK (23 WAR).
   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 13, 2021 at 06:50 PM (#6052863)
Because it was an obviously wrong position to take.
Not at the time.
   11. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 15, 2021 at 09:48 AM (#6052940)
#6--don't forget the Memphis Tams of the ABA

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