"I'm not going to preach to these guys," Johnson said, "but I'm willing to help anybody that wants help."
Here is some other interesting information from his press conference:
And it was the formerly tight-lipped Johnson who mesmerized reporters with his illuminating thoughts during a fascinating 26-minute news conference that needed only three questions and a follow-up.
The Big Unit pulled back the curtain to reveal the Big Talker. He spoke about the intangibles he'd bring to the Giants. He got choked up, and his eyes welled when he spoke of missing his father, who passed away in 1992. And the 6-foot-10 Livermore product talked about coming full circle, both in life and his career, which will culminate in Cooperstown.
"My ability and my skills may have diminished," Johnson said, "but my edge and my will to win have not."
Think Tim Lincecum, who grew up in Seattle watching Johnson pull the national pastime off life support, couldn't use a fireside chat or five (one for each of Johnson's Cy Youngs) on how to handle the trappings of such success?
"It's going to be awesome," said Lincecum, the reigning National League Cy Young king.
What's truly awesome is Johnson paying it forward.
As a wild, young flame-thrower, he bent the ears of some of the game's greatest power pitchers, from Warren Spahn to Nolan Ryan to Bob Gibson to Tom Seaver.
This is something like what the Giants were hoping from Matt Morris, and Matt Cain did learn some things from him. But he was never a fireballing pitcher like Johnson. And Johnson also spoke with some of the greats of the past, Spahn, Ryan, Gibson, Seaver. You rarely hear Bob Gibson's name anymore, he disappeared off the radar after he retired, so Johnson must have seeked him out.
In addition, he's a lefty and thus would have some appropriate hand-sided tips to pass on to fellow fireballing lefties Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner. He could pay off on his salary without throwing a pitch if he can impart any lessons to Sanchez and Bumgarner that they can take and be more productive going forward.
Furthermore, since Johnson has changed from a fireballer to more of a pitcher in recent years, he might also have some words of advice that Cain, Lincecum, and Zito can learn from. Particularly Zito since we still have him for another 5 years, $100M+. But Cain is also a tip or two away from improving from a good starter to an elite starter, which Lincecum was last season. He made a leap in 2008 by pitching as well on the road as he did at home previously. Hopefully he can take another leap in 2009.