Way To Go, Jack

Rumors everywhere suggest that Nick Johnson's on the verge of signing a one-year deal with the Yankees, worth something like $6m or so. Johnson's .402 career OBP and status as a high-reward player whose risk diminishes his cost had made him a candidate to end up in Seattle from the beginning of the offseason, but now - as with Rich Harden - it appears we're looking elsewhere despite the player in question signing a pretty cheap deal.

That sarcastic "way to go" doesn't stem from frustration that we're missing out. I agree with Dave on this one - when we all freaked out over Harden, Z turned around and landed Cliff Lee for pennies (albeit shiny pennies, not those nasty ass ugly corroded pennies), so it's safe to say the front office has earned the benefit of the doubt on these matters. If they didn't want to meet Johnson's entirely reasonable demands, it's probably because they have something else in mind, something equivalent or better.

Rather, it stems from the fact that Z has set our standards too high. A week ago, none of us had any idea what he was going to do to address the starting rotation. We were clueless, and though most of us didn't put much stock in the Doug Davis or Jarrod Washburn rumors that were floating around, we didn't know what to think. Then Jack got one of the best pitchers in baseball for a low low price. So what's the consensus reaction now that we've missed on Nick Johnson? "Guess they must be hot after Adrian Gonzalez." "They've been talking to Milwaukee. What about Prince Fielder?"

The Cliff Lee trade has caused people to start looking for other Cliff Lee trades. And one of my favorite things about the Cliff Lee trade - one of the reasons it earned such a glowing reception - is that it came completely out of nowhere and blew away out expectations. Now that people's expectations are raised, they're talking about all the big names, and that makes it considerably more difficult to be taken by surprise. More difficult to be taken by surprise, and more likely to be unmoved. "We only got Mat Gamel?" "We gave up how much for Gonzalez?"

Good going, Jack. Due to the awesomeness of your most recent acquisition, you've all but guaranteed that whatever you do next is going to be seen as a decent deal at best and a letdown at worst. On a 1-10 scale of transaction perfection where 10 is trading a PTBNL for Albert Pujols, 2 is trading Ichiro for a knife that you use to stab Chone Figgins, and 1 is the Carlos Silva deal, you've set expectations around a 9, and that's about as high as any realistic deal can go. Because of your own doings, we're going to be next to impossible to impress. Which means you're going to have to be really creative if you want to keep raising your stock.

Of course, I've said that before.

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