Proof that you can never be too comfortable comes in the form of the news that the Yankees are looking into dealing Randy Johnson back to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
I made the mistake of taking that story at face value when I perused the different versions of the story. There were no mentions of the Mets or Barry Zito until I read the headline on the Sports Illustrated website that read "Yanks dangling Johnson, eyeing Zito".
Of course I got worried, expecting to read a sentence in that story that started with "Sources say...". Instead, I read what amounted to be Jon Heyman conjuring up a scenario in his crystal ball, with a lot of "well, the Yankees haven't made any overtures towards Zito, but they could get him...you have to think they'd get him because they're the New York Yankees and, well, you know, shouldn't we all genuflect towards the New York Yankees?"
Of course, by dragging the New York Yankees into the Zito equation, Heyman has effectively given Scott Boras a larger commission. It's not a coincidence, as the Metstradamus crack staff uncovered a copy of this cancelled check from Scott Boras made out to Heyman (there are no holidays for the crack staff when it comes to uncovering the injustices of Scott Boras):
So in response to the manuscript by Boras' newest minion, this leaves other media outlets like the New York Times and ESPN's Steve Phillips to match the genuflecting, pushing the Yankees further into the Zito conversation.
Of course, the Johnson trade has to happen first. A smart GM would only trade for Randy Johnson if it were to help his club. When Johnson went from Phoenix to New York, it was in exchange for Javy Vazquez, Dioner Navarro, and Brad Halsey. Two years later, it would figure that Johnson would go the other way at a considerably lower cost to the Diamondbacks, especially if the Yankees don't pick up any of the salary which they don't want to do. So Arizona has two options. Either
- Take Randy Johnson and his bad back for nothing but pick up his entire salary, or...
- Take Randy Johnson and his bad back at a reduced cost but give up a good prospect or two and help restock the Yankees farm system.
Neither would seem like a decent option for the Diamondbacks...but GM's seem to have their IQ points drop by the bushel when they talk to Brian Cashman, probably because conversations seem to go like this:
Cashman: Okay, here's the deal, give us what we want and I won't send security to kill you.
Other GM: Deal.
So basically, it's a race against the clock for the Mets to sign Barry Zito before Steinbrenner and the Prince of Darkness conspire to bring the Yankees head long into the discussion. Remember, Boras tried this before with Carlos Beltran, but the Yankees didn't bite. So some advice to David Wright, Tom Glavine and company...while you're selling New York to Barry Zito, sell the fact that the future is brighter in Queens than in the Bronx. Sell the fact that it would be bright still with Barry Zito in Queens instead of the Bronx.
And sell it quickly.