baseball gods productions

Thoughts about baseball, from the perspective of sports psychology and the role of sports in society. It includes team and player analysis, predictions, and what I think needs to be changed in Major League Baseball. Brought to you from the heart of baseball, Brooklyn, by baseball gods productions.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Johan Santana: How Much Is Too Much?

For the Yankees to get the top available starting pitcher, they might have to give up two of their top three young pitchers, and their young center fielder, Melky Cabrera. If they trade Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, their new rotation would be:

Johan Santana
Chien-Ming Wang
Joba Chamberlain
Mike Mussina

The Steinbrenners would have to fly down to Texas and kidnap Andy Pettitte and make him pitch at gun-point.

With Pettitte, you would have to say that is a top-notch rotation, and gives the Yankees a decent chance to catch the Red Sox, but certainly not a guarantee. The Red Sox rotation right now is:

Josh Beckett
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Curt Schilling
Clay Buchholtz
Jon Lester
with Tim Wakefield available in case of injury or one of the young guys struggling.

If it came down to a game 7 in the ALCS, I think Beckett and the Sox would still beat the Yankees and Santana. Nothing against Santana, but Beckett is the best big-game pitcher since Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson. The Red Sox lineup and defense is still better than the Yankees, especially without Cabrera in CF.

The Red Sox don't need Santana, and have no reason to offer more than they want to for him. This whole deal comes down to how desperate the Yankees are to beat the Red Sox in 2008. It looks like the Yankees are pretty desperate, but maybe not enough to give up Hughes and Kennedy along with Cabrera. I agree that those three would be too much for Santana at this point in his career. Maybe a couple of years ago, but not now after he has shown some signs of returning to the pack of top starters.

Taking a look at where the Mets stand in the Santana sweepstakes, it seems that it is very simple: including Jose Reyes is the only way they get Santana, and Omar Minaya says no way, Jose. As critical as I have been about Reyes's immaturity, I agree that it makes no sense to trade him for Santana right now. If the Twins included Joe Nathan, however, I would reconsider.

This is a time that Omar Minaya needs to get creative. There is always a way to get something done, if you are willing and able to think outside the box. The Mets as they stand right now will look something like this:

1 Jose Reyes SS
2 Luis Castillo 2B
3 David Wright 3B
4 Carlos Beltran CF
5 Carlos Delgado 1B
6 Moises Alou LF
7 Ryan Church/??? RF (platoon with Carlos Gomez, Ben Johnson, Damion Easley, or someone not in the system at the moment: best idea I've read: Bobby Kielty, a free agent)
8 Brian Schneider/Ramon Castro C (platoon)

Ramon Castro C
Endy Chavez OF
Damion Easley IF/OF
Marlon Anderson IF/OF/PH supreme
and one more from the RF group or perhaps Ruben Gotay if Easley is the RF platoon partner

Pedro Martinez
John Maine
Orlando Hernandez
Oliver Perez
Mike Pelfrey/Phillip Humber/Kevin Mulvey/Jason Vargas/???

Billy Wagner
Aaron Heilman
Pedro Feliciano
Jorge Sosa
Joe Smith
Duaner Sanchez
Scott Schoeneweis

Some recommendations:

Sign a guy like Bartolo Colon or Mark Prior and make him a setup guy.
Consider trying Heilman in the rotation, just to see what he can do.
Sign Livan Hernandez to replace his older half-brother for the half of the year that El Duque will be injured.
Shop Billy Wagner (and offer to pay most of his salary) to get some top prospects.
Shop Carlos Delgado and even Carlos Beltran, just to see if there's a market for them.
If they trade Wagner, go after Joe Nathan big-time. He's much better than Wagner and is not a clubhouse problem like big-mouth Wagner.

None of those things will happen, of course, but I assume there will be several changes before the season starts, but nothing huge. This is basically the same team as last year, with a better defensive catcher, and younger and faster RF (than Shawn Green), and more experience for Maine and Perez. The key may again be Pedro Martinez. I think he will have one more very good year before he really starts to break down. He would be really interesting as a closer in a couple of years, by the way. I always thought Roger Clemens would have been an intriguing closer once he passed 40. I guess that's why the baseball gods invented Strat-O-Matic!

On the downside, the old guys are a year older, and the young pitchers haven't really impressed anyone yet, and may never be good enough to stick around.

The thing about the Mets is that it's not really about talent anyway. It's all about attitude. This group could win the World Series if Willie Randolph manages to instill a killer instinct and eliminate all the dancing hysteria and pouting (Jose) and whining/sniping (hello Billy Wagner). The Mets should sit down as a group and watch the New York Rangers play hockey, to see what teamwork and hard work look like. In hockey, the team that wants it more usually wins, and I think this is true in baseball too, especially in September and October. That is the only reason the Phillies beat the Mets last year; they absolutely wanted it more.

If the Mets played baseball like the Rangers play hockey, they would at least reach the World Series in 2008 with or without Johan Santana or anyone else.

© Judy Kamilhor, baseball gods productions, 2007


Post a Comment

<< Home