Sunday, February 3, 2008

Johan Mania finally comes to an end

Hey Sportsflow readers, I am back again for another baseball personnel post. FINALLY, Johan Santana is officially not a member of the Minnesota Twins. I can’t believe the Red Sox finally gave up Lester and Ellsbury to get it done! Wait… I mean, I couldn’t believe it when I heard the Yankees gave up Melky, Hughes, AND Kennedy. Damnit… the Mariners gave up Adam Jones and Sherrill?

Nope. As it turns out, in the end it wasn’t the best offer that won the BINGO for Johan, but the most persistent. The New York Mets were in these talks from a bit after the get-go, but they were far and away the most persistent. The Yankees vs. Red Sox For-The-Best-Player-In-The-Game II (Last decision: NYY gets A-rod, BOS gets the 2 championships) turned out to be a dud. Not only was it a dud, but it was probably meant to be a dud from the beginning. Let’s face it, the REAL reason either of these teams were in this sweepstakes was so the other team wouldn’t get Johan. They were both really gung-ho about it from the start, but then this realization hit the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, and Mets all at the same time: Johan wanted a HUGE contract, biggest in history for a pitcher, on TOP of the whole selling the farm to get him thing. It wasn’t worth it, not the money PLUS the prospects, and the offers slowly dwindled to one A+ prospect and a few mediocres.

Except for one team: you got it, the Mets. The Mets took advantage of the new way of thinking, pulled Martinez from the table, and STILL got Johan. I read what they gave up (contrary to ANY report, and repeat after me: there was NOOOO way the Twins were getting Jose Reyes. No way… no how.) and it was just shocking. The most shocking thing about it? I am a firm believer than the Twins didn’t have to trade Johan. It wasn’t mandated by Carl Pohlad. Thanks to the revenue sharing now enjoyed by MLB teams, every team starts off with over $70 million per year. Carl Pohlad is the RICHEST owner in baseball. I do repeat clearly, there is no one in the MLB richer than Mr. Pohlad. But even Pohlad’s wealth is irrelevant, because it’s not about that. Slowly, the Twin’s payroll has been going up. It was simply a matter of choosing the way to go. They chose Morneau and a rebuilding effort over keeping Hunter, Johan, Morneau, Mauer and Liriano together to see what they really could do with a full year of Liriano as a starter. They CHOSE not to… Bill Smith wasn’t forced to. They had the money… they chose to save it and rebuild instead. Smart? Maybe… they probably weren’t going all the way with that group in this climate of a STACKED American League for the next few years (fyi: The Yankees have $80 million coming off the books next offseason… I hate New York teams.) However, I’m blaming this more on a poor strategy (Twins fans DESERVE to have a good team to cheer for consistently… not one every 5 years) rather than baseball economics.

So I’m sorry Twins fans… I know a LOT of them, and I really feel sorry for you. As a Tigers fan, I knew that feeling. Here’s a toast hoping that Phil Humber is going to be a stud…

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