30 January 2008

Santana Trade to Mets: Best for Yankees

I realized this morning that in my haste to get something out there about the Santana deal last night, I entirely forgot to mention how this affects the Yankees:


Why? Why would losing out on an opportunity to acquire the best pitcher of the new millenium come as welcome news to Yankee fans?

Because he didn't go to the Red Sox.

Much like the Pedro Martinez deal in the winter of 2004, the trade of Santana to the Mets represents the best of all possible worlds for the Yankees and their fans.

Of course, the best scenario for the Yankees, when you consider all non-possible worlds, includes that universe in which the Yankees can trade Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa, and, oh, let's say Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester (hey, this is MY fantasy world...I can trade other teams' prospects if I want!) to the Twins for Johan Santana, who not only thrives and wins a dozen Cy Young awards in Yankee pinstripes, but also works for the MLB minimum, does community service, and saves a flock of nuns from a burning building on his way to Yankee Stadium for Game 7 of the World Series, whereupon he throws a perfect game. And also war and disease and poverty come to an end and Jesus returns. And I have hair.

But back in this universe, this is really the best we Yankee fans could have hoped for. No, we don't get Johan Santana. But neither do we have to give up any of our prospects for him, only to have them win MVPs and Cy Young awards forother teams later. Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy are all still Yankees, at least for now.

Along the same lines, even though Santana is a great pitcher, he's going to be very, very expensive, likely making $20-$25 million per year for the next 6 years or so. That's a helluva lot of money to invest in one player. That would mean that between Alex Rodriguez and Johan Santana, two players on the yankees would make more than 5 or 6 entire MLB teams did last year. That's a huge risk, even with a pitcher as good as Santana.

Of course, if he's awesome for the next 6 years or so, the Yankees would gladly pay that kind of money to have him on their roster, but there's not guarantee that he won't get hit by a bus or something, not to mention the kind of general erosion of skill that comes with age anyway. So, on the flip side, because the Yankees' closest rival and only real competition for the annual AL East crown did not get Santana either, there's no conceivable way in which Santana could come back to bite the Yankees in the ass that way either.

Sure, they play the Mets twice a year, so Santana might conceivably pitch against the Yankees twice in the regular season. Last year, the Yanks faced Curt Schilling five times(!), and Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Beckett four times each. Back in 2005, Tim Wakefield made six starts against the Yankees. can you imagine having to face Santana six times in one season, not to mention the possibility of meeting him again in the playoffs? On a scale of one-to-ten, that would suck.

So, things being what they are, the yankees are now in a good position to let their young pitchers demonstrate what they can do, as Yankees, and the Red Sox are no better off than they were two days ago. A resolution has been reached. Balance has been restored.

Short of the Rapture and/or my hair growing back, this is a darn good outcome.

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