Johan Santana is coming to New York. That’s exciting – even if you’re a Yankee fan. No he’s not coming to the Bronx, but he isn’t going to Boston either, and for the Yankees, that’s the best part.
Of course the Bronx would’ve welcomed Santana with open arms but at the expense of phenom Phil Hughes and fan favorite Melky Cabrera, there might’ve been some negative backlash. The Yankees could’ve gotten Johan months ago, but Yanks GM Brian Cashman was against the idea because the Twins wanted the Yanks to part with their top young pitchers (a combination of Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Joba Chamberlian.) The Twins asking price was just too high for Brian’s liking and so Santana ends up taking the 7 train to Queens instead of the 4 train to the Bronx.
The Red Sox were also on the verge of acquiring Santana, it was all set, just needed the trigger to be pulled and it would’ve been offical. But something happened….both the Yankees and the …
What a difference a day makes, eh? Or more to the point, what a difference Johan Santana makes.
Following the Mets’ acquisition of the two-time Cy Young winner (pending a contract extension), the Las Vegas oddsmakers have labeled the Mets as 5-1 favorites to win the World Series this season, according to Adam Rubin on his Daily News blog.
Those odds are second in baseball to only the defending Champion Red Sox, who Vegas has named 9-2 favorites.
Sean Van Patten, an oddsmaker for Las Vegas Sports Consultants, on the impact Santana will have in Queens:
“Oh yeah, he’s a huge difference-maker,” Van Patten said. “He’s pretty much about as close to a guaranteed win as you can get. He’ll end up making the other pitchers a little bit better. He’s above and beyond what most other pitchers are in the game, plus you’re getting him in his prime. There’s a little bit, too, when these American League pitchers come over to the National League, especially the first …
UPDATE No. 2: According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Mets and Santana are close to agreeing to a five- or six-year contract extension that will average roughly $21.5 million per.
UPDATE: Jayson Stark on ESPN.com is reporting that Team Omar and Team Johan are in fact “far enough apart” that it seems increasingly likely that talks will continue right up to Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline, and could even collapse altogether, though Stark writes that “the odds of that appear remote.”
The report would seem to clash with what Cerrone had reported above – that the sides were haggling over bonuses and options rather than dollars and years. However, I swore during the Santana Saga that I would never doubt MetsBlog, so as odd as it sounds, I’m taking ESPN’s report with a grain of salt…for now.
According to Matt Cerrone’s MetsBlog, the Mets and Johan Santana were in negotiations for most of the day yesterday and through the evening. The buzz seems to be …
According to ESPN.com, the Yanks have agreed to terms with free agent infielder Morgan Ensberg on a one-year contract. It seems like only yesterday that Ensberg was an All-Star, slugging 36 homers in a breakout season with the 2005 Houston Astros. But Ensberg has fallen on some hard times at the plate since and hit just .230 last season in 115 games with the Astros and San Diego Padres.
Ensberg has spent the majority of his career at third base, but will be moving across the diamond in the Bronx to compete for time at first, joining a group that currently includes Jason Giambi, Shelley Duncan, and Wilson Betemit. Via ESPN:
“I’m extremely excited about it,” Ensberg said Thursday. “It’s a great team and a great lineup. Most importantly, it’s a team that’s consistently playing for a World Series. After you’ve been in the league for a few years, you really start valuing that pursuit.”
I think if you’re Morgan Ensberg coming off a year in which you hit …
In the history of the franchise, the payroll of the Mets has never exceeding $117 million, a high water mark they set in 2003 during the ill-fated Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar, Jeromy Burnitz era. In ’07 the team came close, sporting a payroll roughly at $115 million. However 2008 figures to be a historic year for the Amazin’s, according to Adam Rubin on his Daily News blog.
Rubin writes that “even if Santana doesn’t get a signing bonus or other bump to the $13.25 million he’s due to make in 2008, the Mets’ payroll will be at an all-time high – an estimated $128 million.”
Even so, that figure does not even approach the luxury tax threshold, which the Wilpons have avoided like the plague for years. The tax, which last season penalized teams sporting a team payroll exceeding $148 million, will rise to $155 million for the 2008 season and $162 million in 2009. By 2011, the luxury tax threshold will reach $178 million. Bottom …
So, Johan Santana will be a New York Met. The long, dreary Winter of Santana has finally come to an end. From this vantage point, this looks like the perfect ending — everybody wins.
The Mets win because, well, isn’t it obvious? The Mets win because they get Santana, arguably baseball’s best pitcher the past five seasons and an ace who is not yet 30 and likely has another 5-7 years of dominance remaining.
Santana wins because he will get paid exorbitantly — something to the tune of six years, $150 million. He also wins because he goes to the National League, where will look even more dominating and maybe extends his career.
The Yankees win because Santana did not end up in Boston. They also win because they thought with their heads instead of their wallets for a change and didn’t go get Santana just because they could. Instead, they saved the money and the top-notch pitching phenoms — a choice that should help the franchise for years to come.
The change signifies a change in Yankee thinking.
Some great quotes from former Twin Torii Hunter via Bob Nightengale of USA Today. This stuff is music to every Met fan’s ears.
“The Mets are not only getting a Cy Young winner,” Hunter said, “but an absolute bulldog who’s great in the clubhouse. He’s going to dominate that league. They’re going to absolutely love him in New York.”
“I know he’s happy, too, because he really wanted to go to the Mets. He’s always wanted to swing the wood. He can hit.
“So I don’t know who’s happier, Johan, the Mets, or everyone in the American League because they don’t have to face him anymore.”
So says Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press. According to Walters, tired of the excruciatingly slow process, Johan Santana gave the Twins somewhat of an ultimatum, informing the team that if he were not traded by Tuesday, he would refuse to waive his no-trade clause and would play out the upcoming season with the Twins before filing for free agency at year’s end. Under that scenario, Minnesota would have received nothing more than two compensatory draft picks – disaster for a small market team looking to stockpile assets. So instead, Santana was shipped to the Mets, whom Walters calls “the team of [Santana's] choice.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumblings that Santana may have preferred to land with the Mets all along, where not only will he benefit from pitching in a pitcher’s park to less intimidating NL lineups, but he will also be reunited with pal Luis Castillo, and, evidently a pitcher who loves to hit, will get the opportunity to flex his lifetime …
As you might imagine, there’s more Santana coverage out there today than you can shake a stick at. So we’ll do our best here to consolidate the highlights. Let’s start with Joel Sherman and Mark Hale, who open their piece in the Post today by succinctly summing up the whirlwind of events over the last two months:
When Red Sox officials flew to Nashville in early December for the Winter Meetings, they were convinced the Yankees would land Johan Santana because of a willingness to include Phil Hughes in an offer.
When the Yankees left the Winter Meetings, having decided to keep Hughes, they were sure the packages brandished by Boston would put Santana alongside Josh Beckett in the Red Sox’s rotation.
Yet yesterday afternoon, the Yankees and Red Sox were bystanders as the Mets completed the biggest score any team made this offseason – and perhaps the biggest trade in their history – by sending four prospects to Minnesota to actually acquire Santana, a two-time Cy Young winner whose presence catapults …
If Tom Coughlin has not already had some words — probably choice ones — with Plaxico Burress I think it’s safe to assume Burress will hear from the coach soon.
Coughlin is not too pleased with the bravado of Burress, who has predicted a Giants’ victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
“This is not how we’ve done things all year,” said Coughlin Tuesday.
Burress doesn’t see what the fuss is all about. He feels he is just expressing confidence in his team.
“I don’t understand what the problem is,” Burress said. “The goal is to come here and win, not just to step out here on Sunday and say, ‘Yeah, I’m playing in the Super Bowl.’ You can say that with more arrogance and more confidence, that were going to win the football game. The goal is to go out here and win the game.”
Personally, I don’t think Plax said anything horrible. I wish, though, that he hadn’t said anything at all. I don’t want the Giants giving the Patriots anything …
“It is time for us all to move on.”
That was what Jason Kidd told ESPN The Magazine in an interview on Monday. A day earlier it was reported that his agent had asked the Nets to trade his client to a contender. Kidd said he had no knowledge of the situation, but now the truth is out. Jason Kidd and the Nets appear to going in two different directions.
“It used to be if I got a triple-double, that was an automatic win. That’s just not the case now. We tried to make this work,” he told ESPN The Magazine. “We have found out it doesn’t.”
The Nets ended their 9-game losing streak Tuesday Night against the Milwaukee Bucks as Kidd had 9 points and 11 assists to help end the worst losing streak in over three years. The hometown fans at the Medowlands still cheered Kidd as he was introduced prior to the game.
Kidd has started 43 games this season, with an average of …