Friday, December 29, 2006

Maybe Trading Randy Isn't Such a Good Idea After all?

As you probably heard the Yankees are looking to trade Randy Johnson to the Diamondbacks. Since Johnson ERA last year was over 5, it would seem like a good idea especially if we can get something decent back for him.

However after reading this article, I'm not so sure. Basically the author uses statistics that measure the extent which a pitcher's defense and luck affected his numbers. DIPS, or defense independent pitching statistics, takes into account the statistics that the pitcher has complete control over (strikeouts, walks, HBP and home runs) and filters out everything else. The basic idea assumes that pitchers really have no ability to control balls that are hit into play so sometimes they get lucky or unlucky.

Last year, according to DIPS and LIPS (luck independent pitching statistics) Randy Johnson was one of the most unlucky pitchers in the majors (interestingly Wang was the most lucky, which makes sense considering he rarely strikes anyone out and everything is put into play). If the statistics are accurate, we should expect him to have a much better year in 2007.

I need to study these stats more closely before I can have a strong opinion either way. I've become more enamored with sabermetrics over the past year, so I can see how DIPS could be relatively accurate. Nevertheless, trading Randy as a salary dump is probably not a good idea unless Roger Clemens is in the bag.

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