Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More Thoughts, Post-Biggest Deal in Met History (Maybe)


IMAGE: MICHAEL 2973 FROM FLICKR


Here's how this deal breaks down for me if I'm a fan of each team that found themselves involved in the circus.

The Met Fan: I am absolutely, indescribably ecstatic. I have just landed the best pitcher my team has seen since Gooden's heyday, or maybe even The Franchise himself (I'm not counting Pedro as his peak was pre-met) without losing a single established Major League player, and without draining my system of its best pitcher and best position player. I have suffered through a long offseason after a longer September, an offseason rife with questions about the dedication of my ownership outside of the dollar bill, and the capability of my front office. Everywhere I saw Matt Wise, Ryan Church, Angel Pagan and Ricardo Rincon; I saw J-Roll beaming again with confidence; I saw Tom Glavine nonchalantly head back to his good 'ol boys in Thrasherville; I saw every personality on any airwave that could sniff a baseball cast my team aside in the Santana race, lest my superstar SS were included; I saw Hank Steinbrenner tamper and bumble his way through my emotions as a fan; And then I saw Freddy Coupons cash in his stash; I see the city of brotherly love stuffing their faces nervously with tastycakes; I see tomahawks going limp; I see the Mets not come in second in a major sweepstakes. There is, from the standpoint of a Met fan, nothing to complain about here. Nothing. On a scale of 1-10, the met fan comes out of this with a 10.

The Yankee Fan: As a Yankee fan in this spot, I would be very much at odds with these droves of fans, who are seemingly happy about Johan and the Mets because of his not going to Boston. It would seem to me that Theo and co. never really had their hearts in it. They tried to steal the girlfriend because they hated the boyfriend, not because they gave a damn about the girl. I would sit, as a Yankee fan, and look at what it is and what it could have been. I have Phil Hughes, who has always been highly touted, but so thoroughly unproven (note this article on former #1 pitching prospects), and I have Melky Cabrera, who may not be more than a Benny Agbayani without all that class. I have Ian Kennedy, whose ceiling does not rise so high, and I have Joba, who we all love in the Bronx, but he has a slight bug problem, and only a couple of months behind him. IN my rotaion I have Wang, who is a strong pitcher and still very young, butwho was shaky last year at times, and has come up miserably in the postseason. I have Hughes. I have a shell of Mike Mussina. I have Joba, unless he is in the 'pen, and if he is not, I have big questions there. Then I have Pettitte, who is a serious question in the wake of the report and his age, followed by a large cast of characters such as Igawa, Kennedy, Karstens, Sanchez, etc. It's ok, but it's not like Boston, or Anaheim, or Detroit, or Cleveland, or even Toronto. Seattle, anyone? I had a chance to get a pitcher who very well may have become the greatest pitcher in Yankee history, and the same GM that brought Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright would not bring me Johan Santana. My silver lining is that the Red Sox do not have him either, and I still have my kids, who could prove the law of averages wrong and become Santanas in their own rites, but I cannot patronize those other NY fans any longer. I must watch my crosstown rivas who hate me so puff their chests out, justifiably so. If I'm a Yankee fan, after seeing what it took the Mets to get him, I want Cashman out for not doing this, plain and simple.
On a scale of 1-10 the Yankee fan comes out of this with a 3.

EDIT: Upon further review, after reading this Bob Klapisch article from Northjersey.com, I feel even more strongly about this assessment. If what he's saying about the Twins offering to make a deal sans Hughes is true, it is inexcusable not to deal Kennedy, Melky and a third prospect for Santana, though Klapisch himself may not agree with me.

The Red Sox Fan: I see myself as being on the opposite end of the Yankee fan. Surely, I would have greatly benefited from seeing Santana pitch at Fenway, and it may hurt a bit after the media frenzy just post-winter meetings that told me Johan was mine, but I am not in a position where I need the man. I have arguably the best staff in the game as is, and most of it is poised to grow and get better. Lost amongst talk of Beckett and Lester and Buchholz is last winter's crush Dice-K, who may fare much better once adjusted to life in the states, with its smaller strike zones and all. I did not get that major shot to get better, but I am already on top, and my youth is considerably more proven than that of the Yankees. Papelbon is the best at what he does, and my two big young pitchers between them have a no-hitter and a World Series clinching win already. My new CF gave my team such a shot in the legs last fall that it ran all the way through the Rockies, and he's safe without Johan coming. Did I mention that none of these players were the rookie of the year? That's my 2B. I have a team with a cunning young GM that has played the Yankees like a violin in the Johan sweepstakes, ownership that has won more than all our previous owners, and a solid manager who is one of the game's best. My counterparts in the Bronx have drama at the hot corner, a new manager thrust into a mass of egos, one of whom he once served as the backup to, a loudmouthed new owner who is there through nepotism alone, and a GM that has produced the highest payroll in the game year after year with not a recent playoff series win, let alone a ring, to show for it. I don't need Santana, my rivals probably did, and they didn't get him. Oh, and all that money the Yankees spend that makes them so hard to compete with? It comes from a market that just may flip a bit over to the other team in town. I'm just fine.
On a scale of 1 to 10 the Red Sox fan comes out of this with an 8.

The Twins Fan: Well, what can I say? We've pulled rabbits out of hats before in Minny. After all, Santana himself was a mere rule 5 pick. There was the Pierzynski trade, the Viola trade, etc. I didn't get nearly what I thought I may in return for my ace, but I got a potential OF stud and 3 pitchers to add to a mix of many young arms that just have to produce a star or two. Under the radar as it has been, I am getting Liriano back this year, who showed Santana-esque flashes in 2006. I wasn't going to get anything if I kept Johan and he walked next year, my team tried the extensions and failed, and at least I have something in return. Maybe the whole not having to face Johan thing is a tad overblown, seeing as the Twins may not contend at all for a few years, but it helps to not have to watch one of the two biggest haves of my AL live it up with my old buddy. Despite the downsides, I have to have faith in an organization that has pulled out unlikely star after unlikely star. And I have Mauer, Morneau and Cuddyer all tied up. But one day, seriously, could Minnesota just keep one superstar and not watch them dominate somewhere else? Moss, KG, Santana...
On a scale of 1 to 10, the Twins fan comes out with a 4.5

A nice little anecdote: About five minutes after I read the words have acquired, on MetsBlog, God Bless Matt Cerrone, I called up Legends Sporting Goods, a local store here in Bay Ridge that makes customs jerseys, and asked for a #57 Santana Mets Pinstriped Home Jersey. The guy on the other end of the phone very emphatically asked me, "why?". I said, "you didn't hear? We got him!" The man was indeed unaware and started yelling with excitement, thanking me for making his day, and saying he'd be more than happy to make me that jersey. Such are the joys of the connection we experience through fandom.

Oh, this article from braves.com is a must-read for humor's sake. Best headline ever: Santana Deal Brings Parity to NL East. In it, Tom Glavine describes how the Mets' getting Santana "certainly evens the balance in the division". Oh, because the Braves picking up your old junk arm and Mark Kotsay really thrusted them to the top.

EDIT: "WOOOOOO" (Think Ric Flair)

1 comment:

The Kid said...

I believe a big:

WOOOOOOOOOOO

is in order here