This is a big series.  Luckily, the Cubs miss Brandon Webb, but they do have to contend with Dan Haren today and Randy Johnson, who kills the Cubs, on Sunday.  The Cubs have their three best starters going: Lilly today, Dempster tomorrow, and Z on Sunday.  Let’s win a friggin’ series, huh?

Seeing Randy Johnson’s name listed in the schedule got me to thinking: when he gets into the Hall of Fame, which cap will he wear?  It turns out that good arguments can be made for the Mariners and for the D’Backs, though I would tend to lean towards the D’Backs.  Johnson won more games with the Mariners (130) than he has with the D’Backs (109 and counting), but he compiled a lower winning percentage (.637 to .673).  But we all know wins are a stupid stat; what about VORP?

Unfortunately, I do not know where to find historical VORP data for free; if you do, please leave a comment.  I can look at the PRAR (pitching runs above replacement) numbers for Johnson, adjusted for all time.  Johnson put up a total of 706 PRAR during his tenure with the Mariners; so far, he has accumulated 684 with the D’Backs.  Interestingly, if we look at PRAA (pitching runs above average), Johnson’s D’Backs totals surpass his Mariners totals by a wide margin (235 to 170).

What can we conclude from all this data?  Well, probably what any reasonably observant baseball fan already knows: that Johnson has probably pitched at a higher level with the D’Backs, but that he spent more time with the Mariners.

Looking at the all numbers, and making some reasonable assumptions about what Johnson will do in the future, it seems obvious that he should go in as a Diamondback.  This is disappointing to me since I don’t really like the D’Backs, and not just because of the 2007 playoffs: they seem to me a bland franchise with a fickle fanbase (5th lowest attendance/game in the NL last year despite having a good team) and bad uniforms.

But what if Johnson’s career were to end today (or, more likely, Sunday)?  I think it’s obvious that he should still go in as a Diamondback, seeing as his performance level has been higher with them and the counting numbers are in the same ballpark for the two teams, but would the win-obsessed powers-that-be in the Hall see things this way and look past the 20-game disparity in win totals?  I suspect that they would end up putting a D’Backs cap on him, but not for the right reasons: VORP and PRAA mean nothing to them (probably), but Cy Youngs (4 as a D’Back vs 1 as a Mariner) and postseason success (the 2001 World Series MVP award) do.  So regardless of what happens to him in the future, Johnson will probably be the D’Backs’ first HoF inductee, and he should be.