Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Chiming in on Johan

I'm dying to get to the rest of the Pats list, but that is getting bumped until tomorrow because I absolutely have to chime in on Johan Santana going to the Mets. So as to avoid making this one of my marathon posts, I'll just say that the whole "Johan Sweepstakes" could not have worked out any better as far as I am concerned. Here's why:

1) The Red Sox don't gut their farm system to get a pitcher who very well may only have 1-2 GREAT years left. Sure, an average Johan Santana is better than a really good most pitchers, but for $20M a year? No thanks. Double that with the fact that that contract will more than likely be a monstrous albatross in the backend of the deal. Maybe not as much in the NL, but in the AL I could see him justifying that salary for two, maybe three more years and then having a $20M middle of the rotation starter who absolutely nobody will take off your hands thanks to the cash he is making. Again, no thanks.

2) Maybe in the long run Johan would be a bit of slog on the Yankees payroll - not quite to Giambi levels but a slog nonetheless - but in the immediate future I am certainly happy to not see him in a Yankees uniform because make no mistake, there is still nobody I would want to see the Sox facing less than Johan in a big game.

And three more miscellaneous thoughts:

1) This is the ultimate Omar Minaya move. He comes in, offers the best package for a pitcher who nobody really wants - let's face it, both the Sox and the Yanks had more to offer and could have gotten a deal done if they wanted to do so; a red flag on Santana if you ask me - and is now about to go beyond breaking the bank for the guy so that he can keep his job for at least another year. I think Santana assuming he stays healthy will be a dominant force in the NL but at the same time, gauaranteeing that a pitcher will be taking $20M a year out of your payroll for the next 7 years is an enormous risk with the potential to backfire big time. This is almost like the Shaq deal which seemed so great for the Heat initially and now has them pulling up the rear of the Eastern Conference. Sure they got their ring, but how you like them now?

2) The only way I would have endorsed this trade for the Sox would be if they could have done a straight Johan for Lester deal and made the deal NON-contingent on a contract extension. Not to dog on Lester because he is a great story and all, but I have seen nothing really from his time in the bigs that has told me, "You know what, this guy is it!". Maybe I am rushing to decisions, but the guy seems like a perennial NL 15 game winner, but not cut out for the AL East. I know I am not alone in that thinking either. I beg anybody to argue with me on this. Just remove yourself from the Sox prospect hype and PR machine first though please.

3) If the Sox were to make a blockbuster deal, I'd much rather it be for an impact bat because let's face it, other than Manny and Papi there are really not a lot of guys that scare opponents in that lineup. And let's not put the rose-trimmed glasses on Youklis and Lowell either. When you only get about 40 homers combined from your corner-infielders, that is not exactly ideal. I know the Sox are defending World Series champs, but I still cannot shake the fact that myself and everybody else I talked to spent the better part of the summer coming to grips with how painfully average the lineup was and how the team would inevitably crash and burn in the postseason. Granted they peaked at the right time, but still, it's not like they have a lineup filled with "up and comers".

OK, that's it for now. There may be more to follow on this, pending reactions.

1 comment:

Chad said...

I agree that this is the best scenario of how this could have turned out. I know Minaya has been aggressive in the past, but I think he’s also trying to make Met’s fans forget about what happened last year when the Met’s inexplicably self imploded during the last week of the season.