Not Again!

When the Arizona Diamondbacks traded for Randy Johnson prior to the 2007 season everyone wondered why. They felt as though Johnson was in the twilight of his career and many questioned whether he had anything left in the tank. This appeared to be a sentimental trade to allow a player to retire with the club where he had the most success. Randy kept alluding to the fact that he wanted to continue to pitch and he felt that he could help this young team return to the post season. Everyone laughed and questioned whether he was delusional.


This sentiment was further validated when Johnson had to undergo another back surgery that pushed him back in Spring Training where he had to begin the season on the disabled list. When he made his debut in 2007 he was not the same dominating pitcher that he was during his first stint in a Diamondbacks uniform. Instead he seemed almost vulnerable. Gone was some of the intimidation but replacing it was a much smarter pitcher who could still get people out. He showed that when he dominated for a short stint that season. Unfortunately the back did not handle the workload as well as Randy expected and he ended up on the disabled list for the majority of the season after accumulating a record of 4-3.

It is no secret that Randy wants to win 300 games. He may be the last pitcher ever to reach this lofty milestone and he began the road to recovery after another back surgery to be ready for Spring Training 2008. Johnson looked much better this season during Spring Training. He still seemed somewhat behind but it was clear that his back was much stronger than it was last season. The Big Unit needed 16 wins to reach his goal of 300 but he was more interested in helping his team win than with some personal achievement.

Randy has pitched well and has been an admirable third starter behind co-aces Brandon Webb and Dan Haren. Through tonight he had accumulated a record of 10-8 which for a third starter is decent. But Randy Johnson is no typical number 3. His presence on the staff is a calming force as he confidently takes the mound. When he is out there your team knows it has a chance to win. The problem is that for whatever reason Johnson has found himself at the short end of numerous outings where he got no run support or when he did get the support he needed the bullpen would come in and erase the win.

Tonight was a prime example. Randy threw 7 strong innings allowing just 5 hits and 3 runs. He walked one batter and struck out nine. He left with a 4-3 lead and turned it over to the bullpen to nail down. Instead Chad Qualls gave up 2 runs and allowed the Padres to win the game 5-4. If Randy would have even gotten average support from the offense and the bullpen he would probably have 320-325 wins. Instead he is stuck in a holding pattern at 294. It’s obvious he is not going to be able to get to 300 this season so the question becomes, when his contract is up at the end of this season does he resign with the Diamondbacks or go elsewhere? I for one hope he returns. It would only be fitting for him to reach this milestone as a Diamondback.


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