Friday, December 29, 2006

Randy Johnson Trade

I haven't weighed in on the Randy Johnson trade because it's been mostly rumor. For awhile it seemed like there was a decent market out there for Randy Johnson, as the Giants, Dodgers, Padres, and Dbacks were all interested. Yeah, I was crossing my fingers and hoping that some GM would be dumb enough to send us a Chad Tracy or Kevin Kouzmanoff. Unfortunately, we're not dealing with the Mariners or Nationals, and the Diamondbacks played it smart. Still, we heard a couple of names leak out this morning. Those names are Dustin Nippert, Micah Owings and Ross Ohlendorf. The Yankees want two of the three.

I don't know a whole lot about these guys, but I'd figure that I would give you my take. Ohlendorf is the most intriguing of the group. He has near-inhuman control of a low-90s fastball. He is a very smart guy out of Princeton, and pitched 182 innings last season. He's not going to strike a ton of people out, but he's going to be a successful major league starter with that kind of control. He just turned 24.

Nippert is the Dback's consensus top pitching prospect, although I'd rate Ohlendorf over him. He's a big tall college guy who turns 26 in May. He sports a career 3.30 minor league ERA with a hair less than a strikeout per inning and decent control. Problem is, he had a lot of problems at AAA in 2006 with an ERA of 4.87. Thing is, his peripherals (BB/9, HR/9, K/9) all remained solid, but his H/9 shot up. That screams of bad luck to me. Nippert should be considered near major league ready. He's a pitching prospect similar to Steve White.

Owings is also a pretty decent prospect. He was drafted three times by major league teams, but wanted to remain in college. The Dbacks got him in the 3rd round in 2005 (I wanted the Yankees to use their second round pick on him. We got J.B. Cox instead). He had a very nice little college career between competitive programs at Georgia Tech and Tulane. His Junior year saw his ERA fall to 3.24 and his BB/9 to 1.74. 2006 was his first full season in the minor leagues. He pitched 162 innings between AA and AAA, striking out 130 and walking 51. He posted an ERA of 2.91 at AA and 3.70 at AAA. I don't know what he throws, but I do know that he throws it hard. Owings is my favorite of the three. I really wanted him back in 2005. He is for all intents and purposes, major league ready.

I really can't see the Dbacks trading Owings for Randy Johnson. Owings could easily be better than the Big Unit next season. He'd fly to the top of our depth charts. I'll take any two of these guys for Randy, although I'd prefer to avoid Nippert.