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Want a Dinger or a Johnson?


It’s Friday night.  The Astros had just destroyed the Blue Jays by a score of 12-2.  The game ended around 9 p.m. (which is early these days because of the West Coast schedule) and everyone was happy on twitter.  

It’s Friday…

It’s early…

Astros twitter is happy…

I decided that we can’t have happy Astros twitter so I decided to throw some gasoline on Astros twitter and get it lit with the following poll:

First off let me make a couple of things clear….
  1. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THIS TRADE TO HAPPEN.  There is no time machine.  Marty McFly did not in fact go back in time, IT CAN NOT HAPPEN.
  2. I like George Springer.  I have liked him since he got called up.  Putting a power hitter in the leadoff spot is an unconventional move that is paying off for the Astros…. and Springer.
  3. Time travel is impossible, therefore, this trade can not happen.
  4. Time travel is… ah never mind, you get it… I hope….

As expected, as soon as I tapped the tweet button, Astros twitter was as lit as Trump twitter (you are sooooo predictable Astros twitter).  If you don’t believe me, check this thread and this one.

The Options

“Without hesitation YES” — My guess is those in this camp were here in the H when the Johnson trade went down.  You loved the ’98 team.  You remember that Randy freaking Johnson was added to a pitching staff that had two legit starters already in Mike Hampton and Shane Reynolds to compliment its league leading offense (sound familiar). You think pitching wins championships (or at least gets you to the dance floor).  Oh, and you remember that this Hall of Famer KILLED A FREAKING BIRD with one of his pitches.

“Yes” / “No” – More than likely you are thinking about the trade assuming Johnson is only a second half rental and you have Springer under arbitration for a few more years.  The contract throws you off from having a passionate take but you are able to still fall on one side or the other.

“Hell no” – You love George, you love this team, and you don’t want to mess with a good thing.  There’s a chance you would order a customized #4 jersey with “DINGER” on the nameplate.

The Numbers

Johnson – When Randy was traded here he was coming out of a horrible situation in Seattle.  “I threw a one-hitter [in July] and [president] Chuck Armstrong walked past me and didn’t say a word. I’m just glad it’s over.”  If a one hitter would have happened here Drayton would have thrown a parade (which you would have had to purchase a ticket to attend and promise to buy Sheriff Blaylock nachos, PEW PEW PEW). Here is what you got from Johnson:

  • 10-1 record, four complete games, 12 total runs allowed in 84.1 innings, 116 strikeouts, 0.984 WHIP, and 4.46 strikeout-to-walk rate
  • Playoffs – 2 games, 14 innings, 3 earned runs, struck out 17, walked 2.  The Astros scored 1run for him in those two games… ONE
  • WAR 7.6 (not a huge WAR fan but thought I’d throw it out here)

Springer – There is ZERO doubt that George has played out of his mind this year.  Be it because of where he is hitting, the situations, or whatever, it does not really matter.  HE IS MASHING THOSE DINGERS.  Here is Springer’s first half:

  • .310/.380/.613
  • Second in MLB with 27 home runs, fifth in the AL RBIs with 61
  • WAR 4.1

Would you do it again?

The Astros knew that they were unlikely to sign Johnson after the season was over which means they were going into this deal for a second half rental.  What did they give up for this rental?  Freddy Garcia (SP), Carlos Guillen (SS), and something called a John Halama (SP). In retrospect that is a big haul for a half season rental, as Garcia and especially Guillen went on to have great careers.  Would I give up all of that again?  ABSOLUTELY.

If I am willing to give all that up, how could I not give up George Springer?  Yes,  Springer is playing out of his mind right now BUT (and this is a J Lo sized but) he has only done this for half a season.  He’s never come close to this before.  Also, while everyone is caught up in DINGERVILLE let’s not forget, Altuve and Correa are still your two best hitters.  In addition you’ve got a TON of outfield talent at the farm.  

Flip it

People like to say that the only time in Astros history that they went to the World Series was with three dominate starters: Oswalt, Clemens, Pettitte.  That is correct.  In fact, I will say that the most successful years in Astros history has been when they have pitching.  THAT SAID…

What failed them every time they had a good season?  The offense, that’s what.  In 98 they scored 1 freaking run in Johnson’s two playoff games.  When they went to the World Series they forgot how to hit the baseball.  This season we have seen some incredible comebacks with this offense and Springer has been a HUGE part of that.  Why screw up a good thing?  Oh yea, y’all like to say DINGER too.

____ wins championships

What this comes down to is the age old question, what is it that wins championships?  Some say defense, some say pitching, some say a BIG THREE (sup rowdies).  The poll was designed to try and flesh out which you believe is more valuable in baseball, the bats or the arms?

Some say the everyday player brings the most value to the team bc they play… everyday.  Flip side of that is a pitcher has to be that much more mistake free every time he gets the ball.  You can’t afford to have but maybe one or two bad outings a year as a pitcher.  Whereas a hitter, if you fail 700% of the time you are an allstar!

GM Red Head

I would do this deal in a heartbeat.  While I do believe that it is both sides of the ball that wins championships, an ACE starter is like having a top quarterback. The Astros don’t have to put up 5.92 runs per game to win.  They do need their starters go longer into games though, and at this pace I don’t know if the pen could make it through October.  

So yes, I make the deal for 1998 Randy Johnson in a heartbeat.

Oh, one last thought.  For all the Dingers out there who hate the idea of this trade lemme just really piss you off.  Please don’t share this on the twitter because I don’t want a pissed off Springer to slide into my DMs (shout to Alex Baseball) but… I would trade Dinger for Chris Sale.



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