Once last Johan Santana gasp

The RAB MLB ’08 The Show Giveaway Contest
Game 1: The birthday present that keeps on giving

What fun would Opening Day be without the New York tabloids questioning the Yankees’ off-season? Today’s (hopefully) last gasp of Johan Santana doubting comes to us from John Harper in a column where the headline and reality don’t seem to line up.

“Scouts say Yankees should have traded for Johan Santana,” the headline on Harper’s latest screams. The article says otherwise:

Over the last week I posed that question to six major league scouts and executives who saw the Yankees multiple times this spring, and for what it’s worth, here is the consensus opinion:

The Yankees could well win multiple championships over the next 10 or so years, thanks largely to a pitching staff built around young guns Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy. But this year? Forget it. It’s more likely their streak of 13 straight playoff seasons will come to a crashing halt…

“I love their future,” was the way one scout put it. “But if you think those young guys aren’t going to take their lumps at times this season against American League lineups, you’re dreaming.”

The point Harper is trying to make — that the Yanks should have traded for Johan Santana to win now — is not the one he succeeds in making. Rather, by noting that the Yanks “could win multiple championships over the next 10 years or so,” Harper just proves all of us who were questioning the Santana trade right in the eyes of scouts.

The Yanks didn’t trade for Johan Santana because they too felt they could win for years after Santana loses his effectiveness. Agree or disagree with their decision, the rational has always been as simple and as transparent as that conclusion.

As we head into Opening Day, hopefully this will be the end of the Johan Santana speculation. He’s on the Mets and not the Yankees or the Red Sox (or the Twins who surprisingly ponied up for Joe Nathan instead), and the Yanks are in a position to potentially win a lot and often over the next decade. End of story.

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The RAB MLB ’08 The Show Giveaway Contest
Game 1: The birthday present that keeps on giving
  • steve (different one)

    The Yankees could well win multiple championships over the next 10 or so years, thanks largely to a pitching staff built around young guns Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy

    so this is the consensus opinion? and this proves the Yankees made the wrong decision, how?

    has everyone collectively forgotten that the Red Sox missed the playoffs in 2006?

    i don’t think the Yankees will miss the playoffs this year, but if that is the price to pay for “multiple championships over the next 10 years”, then who here wouldn’t gladly sign up for that?

    what would you rather have, the Sox’s 2006-2007 with one year of no playoffs and one title, or the Yankees’ 2006-2007?

    have we gotten so spoiled as a fanbase that we can’t watch these guys “take their lumps” this year? i don’t think so. but the media largely seems to think so. and if there are some fans who would jump ship because of a rebuilding year? good. who needs them? it’ll make it easier for me to get tickets ;)

    • Whitey14

      Steve you couldn’t be more right. Although it was embarassing for the Sox to miss the playoffs in 2006, it was soon forgotten in 2007. I’d be happy to have them win the World Series every other year for awhile.

      I’ll be honest, regardless of what the prognoticators have said, this Sox team doesn’t feel really good to me. I think 90-92 wins will win the East and that either ny or Bos will be sitting home in October.

  • Geno

    At newspapers, the person writing the headline is very rarely the same one who wrote the article. This is most likely the fault of a lazy headline writer, who neglected to read the entire story before deciding on a headline.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Oh, I know. But columnists will often suggest their own headline. Either way, it’s just sloppy.

  • whozat

    Also…haven’t multiple sites, including this one, shown that all they really need from Ian, Moose, Phil and Joba (when starting) is league average performance?

    Sure…they’ll take their lumps. But no realistic fan is expecting much more than an ERA between 4 and 4.5 for Phil and Joba, and one between 4.5 and 5 for Ian and Moose. And such a performance would _likely_ get the Yanks into the playoffs. At that point, I’ll take my chances with Phil and Joba in my playoff rotation along with Andy and Wang.

  • http://www.overheardinnewyork.com NC Saint

    “As we head into Opening Day, hopefully this will be the end of the Johan Santana speculation.”

    Would that it were so, but you’re dreaming. A number of MSM goons have been trying to pretend that the relative success of Santana and Hughes this year will be decisive in determining whether the trade should have been made, and perhaps will even serve as a referendum on Cashman. This is, of course, ludicrous, as even the Steinbrenners understand, but it makes sense to your average sports reader, and it’s a fun narrative to write about.

    I am as big a Hughes believer as anyone, but if he doesn’t struggle at times in his first full (well, almost full) year, it will be a miracle. And while no pitcher is ever guarunteed to have a great year, if you take one of the best pitchers on the planet and send him down to face AAAA lineups, he’s got a solid chance of putting up some impressive numbers.

    There will be weeks, maybe months this season when Santana has just done some great work and Hughes hasn’t. If we don’t see some poorly-argued criticisms of the trade-that-wasn’t from the NY dailies and the ESPN goons, I will be absolutely shocked.

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  • pete c.

    Starting this season with these kids like their doing, is a big gamble. Nobodies denieing that. But these guy’s gotta get their feet wet sometime, and nows as good a time as any. Hopefully a little pain now will pay off in the not to distant future.

  • Count Zero

    We haven’t heard the last of this…by a long shot, unfortunately.

    I feel confident we did the right thing, as does just anybody with sense. I just wish we weren’t counting on Moose to put up an ERA under 5, and on Andy to give us 200. But I’m more than willing to miss the playoffs one season to keep the big three.

    • steve (different one)

      why shouldn’t they count on 200 innings from Pettitte?

      • Count Zero

        I’m not saying he won’t give us 200…just that I’d rather not be counting on it. As in — the only starters that even have a chance to give us 200 are Wang and Pettitte counting on it. If one of those guys doesn’t give us 200 or very near to it, our BP is in for a hell of a long year.

        This whole thing with the back spasms makes me nervous…

        • steve (different one)

          i hear you.

          i guess i’m just not worried about Pettitte. he is chock full of veterany goodness, and i have very little fear that he won’t throw close to 200 innings this year. the back thing doesn’t worry me.

          now, if he had elbow or shoulder pain i’d be out on the ledge.

  • beezr

    Massorotti has a similar article about Buccolz today in the Boston Herald. He compares him to Santana and says he has to start producing because he could have been traded for Santana. Both of these writers are setting up a theme they can go back to all year when the young pitchers struggle and/or Santana excels. For a beat writer, it’s just too good/easy a story to pass up. But really, the development of young a player and people’s judgments of that development shouldn’t be effected by a trade between two unrelated teams.