So, Johan Santana is a Met. It is official. Barring his left hand falls off during his physical, Johan Santana is a Met. Quite possibly the most dominant pitcher of the 00’s is headed to the Big Apple – the city that never sleeps. This is also the city that will eat you up and spit you out if you don’t live up to your paycheck…in a New York minute – which for those non New Yorkers out there is not very long. Don’t know what I mean? Just ask Kevin Brown (14-13 in 2 seasons with NYY, $35 million), Carl Pavano (5-6 in 3 seasons with NYY, $27 million), and Pedro Martinez (27-17 in 3 seasons with NYM, $39 million).
Santana has a lot going for him though – he is 28 years old, in the prime of his career, and shows no signs of slowing down. Although he had a decent lineup behind him in Minnesota, imagine what he can do with Beltran, Reyes, Wright, and Alou smacking in runs left and right. The fit seems perfect. But is the possible reward even worth the risk?
Although a healthy Santana pitching for the Yankees or Red Sox would automatically make them the World Series favorite, I don’t necessarily blame either team for backing out of the trading circle. More than any other position in the sport of baseball, pitchers are the most unpredictable from season to season. Whether it be injury, bad luck, lack of run support, or just falling out of rhythm, pitchers are never a safe bet. Investing the amount of money you can use to buy a small country for a pitcher just does not make sense to me – no matter how good they are. However, unless you are the Yankees and print your own money, eh – why not take the chance. But at the expense of Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy – nope, I don’t think so.
With that said, I will say this: If there were any pitcher in the league I WOULD spend an insanely large amount of cash on, it’s Santana. Lets hope for the Mets sake that he remains healthy and does not turn out to be Kevin Brown (LAD), Mike Hampton (COL) or Barry Zito (SF) – the last three pitchers to steal $100 million by signing a piece of paper. Their average record the season before signing those megadeals? 16-9. Their average record the season after signing those megadeals? 14-12.
Now kids, what was today’s lesson?
Don’t pay pitchers a ton of money!
That is unless you are Johan Santana. Now lets just hope Johan Santana pitches like Johan Santana.