The End of the Big Unit?

The Associated Press noted today that an exam on Randy Johnson‘s throwing shoulder Monday revealed some tearing in his rotator cuff. Johnson, who already had not played since July 5th when he hurt the shoulder batting of all things, was moved to the 60-day disabled list making him eligible to return September 5th.

It is unclear at this point how major the tearing is, but obviously any tearing in the rotator cuff is not a good sign. Surgery was apparently discussed and decided against at this point, likely in the hopes that Johnson can come back and pitch a bit in September should the Giants still be in the playoff race.

It is worth noting that Johnson this year has managed to remain close to his old self. The strikeouts are down, the walks up, but his real downfall has been a spike in home run rate. All that said, though, his xFIP of 3.83 and tRA* of 4.40 both show him to be better than league average still.

What is even more unclear is Johnson’s future. Surgery of any type would seem likely to cut into his availability for 2010 and the rehab for a 45-year-old would be tougher than usual. Could this mark the end of Randy Johnson‘s Major League career? I certainly hope not and hopefully we get some more information in the coming weeks as to the extent of the injury.



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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.


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WY
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WY
7 years 25 days ago

If it is the end, I find it a little funny given Mr. Cameron’s know-it-all post from January (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/dbacks-sign-garland-why). Here’s what he wrote:

“Deciding that you want Jon Garland instead of Randy Johnson is a disastrous decision. Yes, Johnson is old, but he’s still an excellent major league pitcher. Garland is a #5 starter whose best skill is not getting hurt.

In a market where good pitchers are signing for bargain rates, the D’Backs just paid non-bargain rates for a bad pitcher. Congratulations, Arizona, you’ve officially screwed up your entire offseason.”

Ok, so the Garland signing hasn’t particularly helped the D’backs do anything meaningful in their division, but if you look at the relative dollar values of their performances on this site, you’ll find that Garland’s (currently $5.9 million) is nearly three times that of Johnson (currently $2.2 million, and not rising anytime soon). Garland could also be traded for at least marginal prospects, while Johnson can’t.

Anyhow, Mr. Cameron might want to take note of these numbers. At the very least, it’s just more evidence that his excessively arrogant and overly self-confident tone is not necessarily warranted based on the success of his predictions or evaluations.

Bryan
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Bryan
7 years 25 days ago

What is the point of this comment? Are you saying that the Garland signing at the time was better than the Johnson signing now that you know Johnson got hurt? Are you just pointing your finger at someone and saying he was wrong? That isn’t a very hard thing to do and I hope it doesn’t make you feel too happy about yourself.

Reuben
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Reuben
7 years 25 days ago

Congrats on proving someone who makes predictions about the future wrong.

WY
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WY
7 years 25 days ago

Read the original post by Cameron and note the excessive arrogance and extremely strong wording in it. Furthermore, the fact that Johnson was a known injury risk and (surprise) now may be out for the season makes the incorrectness of Cameron’s original post all the more glaring.

The fact that his predictions/evaluations were in fact wrong is just a sign that this arrogance was unfounded. If he shows a little more humility and/or eases up on the over-the-top criticism, I don’t make this comment. It’s pretty simple. The word “schadenfreude” comes to mind…

To put it another way, it’s one thing to make an incorrect prediction, but another to act like you know more than everyone else and THEN be totally wrong. It’s not like this is a one-time occurrence. There are repeated instances of Cameron not only being wrong, but being extremely, glaringly wrong after being incredibly arrogant … AND not owning up to it.

BIP
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BIP
7 years 25 days ago

Well, WY, I’m glad you were there to tell us Johnson was going to get injured, then.

WY
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WY
7 years 25 days ago

I didn’t predict that he was going to get hurt, but the fact that he got hurt wasn’t exactly surprising, as others have noted. Furthermore, Cameron had said that Garland’s only skill (relative to Johnson) was not getting hurt. But to this point, Garland’s FIP has actually been better than Johnson’s.

aaron
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aaron
7 years 25 days ago

do you think it will be mentioned on his HOF plaque that he was the only pitcher to blow up a bird with a fastball?

Kazinski
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Kazinski
7 years 25 days ago

If Johnson decides that this is his last season, can he go ahead and pitch and take his chances? He may think it’s worth it, this is probably his last shot at the playoffs. It’s not like he has a long career ahead of him still even if they shut him down now, and has surgery.

Wy,
Of course Cameron’s not always right, and besides his arrogance, he’s persnickety about spelling and punctuation in the comments in his own blog, which is even more annoying to the spelling challenged. But he is always worth reading.

rwperu34
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rwperu34
7 years 25 days ago

Maybe now that a HOF 300 game winner ends his career batting, the NL will finally come to their senses and adopt the DH.

B
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B
7 years 24 days ago

We’re waiting for you to realize paying a guy to take 4 AB’s a game with no other job is the most ridiculous thing ever. If you want your at-bats, earn them in the field! And I’m sorry, but I have no sympathy for a professional athlete who can’t swing a bat or run the bases without getting hurt. Their profession is as an athlete, which involves doing athletic things last I checked?

LD
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LD
7 years 25 days ago

In fairness, it is hard to write an article defending your position without using definitive language plus he would have been absolutely 100% right if not for an unforseen injury.

verd14
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verd14
7 years 25 days ago

LD, I would not call it unforeseen. Are you surprised that a 44 year old pitcher has shoulder problems? I hardly think its unforeseen.

todd
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todd
7 years 25 days ago

The unforeseen aspect is that it is his shoulder. He has had no history of any shoulder or elbow injuries, as he has stated in several interviews. I think most of us expected his back to go out on him again if anything.

verd14
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verd14
7 years 25 days ago

Fair enough Todd. I guess my point is that it’s not a surprise (although unfortunate) that The Big Unit got hurt.

Wrighteous
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Wrighteous
7 years 25 days ago

300*

Another roider burns out

todd
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todd
7 years 25 days ago

Baseless accusations are always fun to wake up to. Is there something we haven’t heard about steroids causing rotator cuff tears that is now making headlines? Please enlighten us.

Davidceisen
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Davidceisen
7 years 25 days ago

Don’t worry Wrighteous is a troll.

Davidceisen
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Davidceisen
7 years 25 days ago

In other news the NYT is reporting that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were both found to be on the 2003 doping list.

Wrighteous
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Wrighteous
7 years 25 days ago

I do not make accusations against Randy just to be a troll. There is ample circumstatial evidence against him. Sure, we can never know for certain whether or not he juiced, but to me, his career arc makes him a prime candidate for speculation.

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