It’s a (very) old story by now, but I thought this was interesting. Brian Cashman brought up the Yankees’ decision to pass on Johan Santana prior to the 2008 season while talking to Andy McCullough about the team’s blend of stats and scouts recently. “We had data that indicated that this was a high-risk player going forward, health-wise,” said the GM, citing the left-hander’s velocity and slider usage in particular. “I fought hard … It was a public bloodbath because Hank Steinbrenner was very adamant about wanting him. But we did the right thing. We stood down. We listened to the information we had at hand, and trusted it. And were rewarded for doing so.”
As you may remember, the asking price for the then-29-year-old Santana involved some combination of Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Chien-Ming Wang, Melky Cabrera, Mitch Hilligoss, and others. That doesn’t include the nine-figure contract extension he would have required. The Yankees passed and instead decided to wait a year and use the money to sign CC Sabathia, a very risky decision — Sabathia could have easily signed an extension and skipped free agency — that has worked out beautifully. Santana, now 34, is likely to start the season on the DL with continued shoulder woes and has started just 109 games during his five years with the Mets due to various injury problems, most notably a torn shoulder capsule.