White Hat Sports Headlines

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Santana to New York.......Mets

Johan Santana is a New York Met! Is this reason for celebration in Red Sox Nation? I mean the majority of fans have said that they were adamantly opposed to dealing the young and supremely talented Jacoby Ellsbury for the 2-time CY Young award winner. As an added bonus to keeping Ellsbury and Jon Lester the Yankees didn’t get him either. So they keep their prospects and their division rival didn’t land one of the best pitchers in baseball either. So why am I not more excited about this?
I feel that I am in the greedy minority, I not only wanted the Yankees to not get Santana, I wanted the Red Sox to get him. Santana is the pitcher who when you look at the schedule try to figure out whether or not your team is going to have to face him or not. He’s the guy who when you have tickets to the game, you are excited to see him in person, but dreading the fact that he is probably going to beat your team. In fewer words Johan Santana is a game changer. Attaining him while keeping Josh Beckett who seems to have jumped into his role of being the man after a dominant 2007 playoffs, is a teams dream and an opponent’s night mare. Last year’s Cleveland Indians team seemed dangerous in the playoffs because they had two top pitchers (Carmona and Sabathia) and enough offense to win. Compare that with what the Red Sox could have had, if they had pulled the trigger and landed Santana. Beckett in Game One, Santana in Game Two, and here’s where the debate could begin and the lunacy begins because you can either throw Schilling in at three, Buchholz, Wakefield, or the great Daisuke Matsuzaka to fill out the rest of the rotation. That is quality pitching and lots of it.
The Red Sox could have lived without Jacoby Ellsbury; they did it for most of last season. He’s a little bit of a luxury at this point. Coco Crisp hasn’t been great in his time with the Red Sox but he would easily fill the gap in center field. He made great strides towards becoming one of the best defensive center fielders in the American League last season. The distance between Ellsbury and Crisp in center field isn’t nearly as great as the difference between a Tim Wakefield and a Johan Santana in the starting rotation.
All of that being said and taken into account, Santana going to the Mets is the next best thing. He won’t even pitch against the Red Sox this season in interleague play; the Yankees on the other hand have to face the Mets 6 times. One would imagine that Santana would pitch against the Yankees in at least one of those games. The Yankees by not making this trade did two things. They don’t greatly improve their pitching staff, which is a major weakness going into this season. And Hank Steinbrenner was exposed as being a raving lunatic. “Lil’ Stein” changed his mind every afternoon on where the Yankees stood on adding Santana to their team and even called out members of his front office for being against the trade. He already appears as a caricature of his father portrayed by Oliver Platt in “The Bronx is Burning” trying to constantly be the center of media attention. We’ll know all of this for sure when he threatens to fire Joe Girardi for no apparent reason during the Home Run Derby. I think that’ll be a fun moment for the Yankees.
In the end, we’ll see how it plays out. The Red Sox will now likely still deal Coco Crisp, even though the one day sale on Huston Street seems to have come and gone without anyone really knowing. They are still in the market for a left handed bat off the bench to replace Eric Hinske, who apparently is huge in Arizona. Wait, Hinske is huge everywhere! The candidates are Sean Casey, Tony Clark and Brad Wilkerson. Wilkerson seems destined for Seattle now that Adam Jones might be ticketed for Baltimore in the Erik Bedard deal. Regardless, I think Casey is the guy the Sox should covet in this role. Casey has been adored by fans, media and front offices in all of his Major League stints. Many have called him the nicest guy that they have ever met in Baseball, which is as glowing a recommendation as one could receive. Clark had his time here, and it was good for the opener, after that it was terrible. We should just remember him for the good times, actually good time. I’ll only fondly remember him for striking out to end Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS that was a good time. OH, that Keith Foulke.
The dark horse for this role is a former Dirt Dog, Trot Nixon. Word is that his agent has him working out some at first base and could platoon there with Kevin Youkilis and right field with his replacement J.D Drew. (Not sure this would do anything good for J.D. Drew’s bounce back season. AT ALL.)
Pitchers and catchers report in 15 days from now, the truck leaves two days before that. I head down to Fort Myers on March 3rd; soon all will be right with the world, until the Red Sox drop two spring training games in a row to the Pirates, then all hell will break loose again.
Oh, those Red Sox.

~Sterling Pingree

1 comment:

melanie said...

Hey Sterling,
Your post would be much easier to read if you put in some paragraph breaks in there. It would look less like one long sport sock and more like something I could digest -- like individual cookies. Can you try it out on your next post?