Misguided and Uninformed
Randy Johnson is a strange character in many ways. Looks, attitude, etc. However, one thing in particular is simply the age that he came into his own. Part of the reason I blindly chose Johan is because he started being effective at such a younger age, but who cares when Randy started dominating? In 1993 at 29, Randy ran off a string of seasons with an ERA+ of 136, 154, 192, 135, 196, 135, 186, 181, 188, 197, 110, and 177. His 1999 season featured 271.7 innings pitched while allowing 207 hits, striking out 364 batters, and laying a 2.48 ERA and 1.02 WHIP down. For good measure he racked up twelve complete games. In fact, it could argued that Randy put up six seasons better than Johan's best season and another comparable to his best at age 40.
Since 2004, Johan has been a full time starter. If you take Randy's best four year period and stack them up side by side, they look pretty good on paper.
Randy JohanThose those four years look comparable. However, Randy Johnson put up an ERA+ of 186, 181, 188, and 197 during that span against Johan's 182, 155, 161, and 130. Both are spectacular pitchers, but Randy gets the edge there. Randy has been so good for so long that Johan's accomplishments pale in comparison. Of course Johan has plenty of time to change our minds and pile up some numbers, but right here right now, Randy Johnson is the best left handed pitcher of our time and has been insanely good.
G 140 134
CG 31 6
SHO 11 4
IN 1030 912.1
HR 98 103
ERA 2.48 2.89
K/9 12.38 9.70
K/BB 4.92 4.96
H/9 6.88 6.95
BB/9 2.52 1.95
That being said, there have been two guys better than Randy Johnson and it is not all that close for me. While Randy's best season of ERA+ stands 37th on the all time list, Pedro checks in at 32, 27, 18, 9, and 2. Pedro's #2 season is really #1 of all-time as Tim Keefe, who occupies the #1 spot, did it in 1880 in slightly over 100 innings. In 2000 when Pedro dropped that incredible season that might be the best of all-time, he put up the 2nd best ERA+ with 291. He tossed out a 0.74 WHIP, 1.74 ERA, and tossed four shut outs in the AL East in a hitter's park. From 1997 to 2003, Pedro had arguably the best run of any pitcher of all-time and had a stretch of ERA+ of 291, 163, 243, 291, 189, 202, and 210.
A close second behind Pedro is Greg Maddux who put up two of the top five seasons of ERA+ in back to back seasons with 271 and 262 in 1994 and 1995. During those two seasons he posted ridiculous K/BB of 5.03 and 7.87. In fact in 1995, the entire league hit .197/.224/.258 against him. What is interesting about that is he was better at the plate than the rest of the league against him with a .222/.234/.254 line. I shit you not. From 1992 to 1998, Maddux had an ERA+ of 166, 171, 271, 262, 162, 189, and 197.
Those guys were pretty good outside of their peak seasons as well and are truly three of the best pitchers we have ever seen. While Johan is not really in the discussion when it comes to matching up with those guys at their peak, he still has time. Greg Maddux was 28 in 1994, Pedro was 28 in 2000, and we know how old Randy was when broke into pitching's elite. Johan could be in the right place at the right time to start his own historic run and put up some ridiculously gaudy numbers up in Queens. Hopefully he does break into the conversation of who is the best of our generation so I will be more prophetic than just misguided.
I am not saying that would give me pause to do this contract, but I want to be damn sure his numbers against righties are legit. He really needs to be great against righties to accept an OPS+ of 52 against lefties for his career and an OPS+ of 11 in 2007. I mean, that has to be the worst out of any starter, right?
I can't disagree with your thinking, though I can't embrace your solution. Livan wouldn't come cheap, and he might not come at all with the chance to pitch regularly hardly assured. I like the idea of El Duque in the 'pen, but when I brought it up to one of the Mets' people on Saturday night, the response was, "El Duque was our best pitcher last year." And he was.
It seems as though the rotation is set at this point despite what Omar says.