Randy Johnson is 45 years old, and in the eyes of many fans and many mainstream media members, he's ready for the scrap heap. Fortunately, the Giants didn't believe that. Fortunately, Johnson doesn't believe that. Because he remains a very effective pitcher, if no longer an ace.
And Johnson, saying his back feels good, has pledged big things to Giants fans. Fifteen to 20 big things.
"I'm riding off into the sunset in a lot of people's eyes, but not mine, because I'm still motivated to go out there and win," Johnson said at the press conference. "I'm surely not about five wins. I'm about winning anywhere between 15 and 20 games."
Johnson also vowed he'd retire if he runs up another 5.00 earned run average, as he did three seasons ago. But Johnson winning 15 games is probably more likely than Johnson recording a 5.00 ERA.
In the two seasons since Johnson's ERA ballooned, he posted much better ERAs. While out of action most of 2007, Johnson, then 43, had a 3.81 ERA in 52 innings. In 184 inning last year, Johnson's ERA was 3.91. His ERA+ was 117, and his K's to walks number was outstanding - 173 to 44.
If Johnson's back really is fixed, as he claims it is, expect Big Unit to have a very good season in San Francisco. Like Nolan Ryan before him, Johnson is a freak of nature.