Mets get best pitcher on the planet

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Mets get best pitcher on the planet

Post  RedMagma on Sun Feb 03, 2008 1:45 am

Mets get best pitcher on the planet




http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=gammons_peter


C.C. Sabathia's wish list for 2008 is first, for the Cleveland Indians to win the World Series, and second, for the New York Yankees to miss the playoffs.

Ring.

Then bling.

One can argue that the landscape never was the same after the San Francisco Giants gave Barry Zito $126 million last winter, because Zito isn't Johan Santana. Perhaps no one is Johan Santana. He makes the New York Mets the clear favorites to win the National League pennant in 2008, his picture will be up on Hank Steinbrenner's wall next to the picture of Brian Cashman and he is the reason the Indians have no chance of re-signing Sabathia unless someone finds oil in Lake Erie.

"We'd better enjoy [Josh] Beckett the next three years," one Boston Red Sox official said, "Because we won't be able to sign him after his deal is up after 2010."

Bill Smith was handed the Minnesota Twins' general manager job, knowing that Torii Hunter was history, knowing that he was going to have to trade the best pitcher in the game. Now, it's easy to say he should have taken Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera and Jeff Marquez (from the Yankees), or maybe Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie and Justin Masterson (from the Red Sox -- although Boston officials said that once Santana turned down a $100 million, five-year deal from the Twins, they knew they couldn't sign him). Both offers, as the New York Post's Joel Sherman pointed out, were "B-plus deals," while Smith opted for a "C-minus deal" that doesn't include a position player as good as Ellsbury or a pitcher close to Hughes or Masterson.

Most other general managers assumed that somewhere, somehow Steinbrenner would force Cashman to cave in, which did not happen. By this week, Hughes was off the table, the Red Sox had pared their offer and, in Smith's mind, all that was left was what the Mets were offering. In addition, Omar Minaya's dogged persistence never allowed Smith to re-examine the notion of going for it all in 2008, then accepting two draft picks who might or might not be close to as good as Carlos Gomez and Deolis Guerra.

The Oakland A's received more by trading Dan Haren to the Arizona Diamondbacks than the Twins got for Santana. If the Baltimore Orioles decide to trade Erik Bedard, they will get more for him, who is a week older than Santana and never has thrown 200 innings in a season. The Diamondbacks control Haren through 2010, and if the Seattle Mariners acquire Bedard, they will control him through 2010, too. Hey, the Athletics may well have gotten more from the Chicago White Sox for Nick Swisher than the Twins got for the best pitcher on the planet, especially if Fautino De Los Santos is as good as Oakland thinks he is.

No matter what some other teams think about Gomez or how far Guerra is from the majors, the Mets still had to shell out four of their top 10 prospects and pay somewhere between $137 million and $151 million to acquire Santana. Now, when the Nippon Ham Fighters decide to post Yu Darvish -- the half-Iranian, half-Japanese phenom -- can they expect to get a $100 million posting fee in addition to whatever Darvish can extract from the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox or Los Angeles Dodgers? Probably. No prospects will be involved, and those players carry significant value.

Sabathia might not be Santana in terms of his longterm viability, but we are looking at $20 million per season if the Yankees don't make the playoffs this season and the Mets play the Red Sox in the World Series. No wonder the Indians haven't traded Cliff Lee or Jeremy Sowers, and will keep developing Adam Miller as a starting pitcher.

We know that the Los Angeles Angels will quickly pick up John Lackey's option for 2009, as the Dodgers will with Brad Penny's option. But those two and Kelvim Escobar all can become free agents after '09. Beckett, Haren and Brandon Webb all will have their contracts up after 2010.

Minaya deserves immense credit for holding on to the vision that what he most needed wasn't Livan Hernandez or Kyle Lohse, but rather a legitimate ace. Now Pedro Martinez can pitch at whatever pace he needs, and John Maine and Oliver Perez are backed up into more comfortable roles in the middle of the Mets' rotation. And if Mike Pelphrey develops a swing-and-miss breaking ball, Minaya still will have the best arm in the organization.

Fred and Jeff Wlipon deserve credit for looking at their marvelous ballpark opening in 2009 and for being willing to spend the money to have a 30-year old superstar left-hander pitch that home opener, a 30-year-old whose athleticism, delivery and intensity should carry him right through his mid-30s. They will have $76 million tied up in Santana, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Martinez and Billy Wagner, but they also have David Wright and Jose Reyes, the best young players in the sport, for a combined $9 million in '08, the last fully guaranteed year of Delgado's contract.

Even when he struggled in the last five weeks of last season when he lost his slider, Santana was down only 1 or 2 mph in velocity, and the Indians, who won every one of their five matchups with him, said his stuff was as good as ever. The delivery and arm speed that make his changeup so great shouldn't diminish in the seven years of his contract with the Mets, barring a freak injury.

Since Santana went into the Twins' rotation for good on July 11, 2003, he is the winningest pitcher in the game at 78-34; Roy Oswalt and Carlos Zambrano are next, with 74 and 71 wins respectively. Among pitchers who have thrown a minimum of 750 innings in those 4½ seasons, Santana has the lowest ERA (2.92) and the most strikeouts per nine innings (9.63).

Now take him out of the American League and put him into the National League, which essentially is Divison 1-A.

Someday the Yankees might rue the day they did not get Santana. The Red Sox might rue the day they didn't put Santana next to Beckett, then figure out how to make Beckett whole on the $13 million difference in their respective contracts.

But the Mets had the money, they were in the right place and Minaya never gave up. In the wars of the ballpark openings, regional television networks and My Back Pages, the Mets have struck a mighty blow.

And in the National League East, where the Phillies and Braves are very good and very aggressive, the Mets now have what no one else has.

The best pitcher on the planet.


Last edited by on Sun Feb 03, 2008 1:53 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Mets get best pitcher on the planet

Post  RedMagma on Sun Feb 03, 2008 1:51 am

Johan Santana in great shape for career with Mets; ace passes his physical


http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/mets/2008/02/02/2008-02-02_johan_santana_in_great_shape_for_career_.html?page=0

Saturday, February 2nd 2008, 6:58 PM


Exclusive photo: It's official: a Daily News photographer caught Johan Santana in Manhattan today, after he passed the physical that makes him a Met.

On Super Bowl weekend, the Mets and their fans officially can dream of a return to the World Series in October.

One day after requiring extra innings to complete his record-setting contract extension, new ace Johan Santana passed a lengthy physical in Manhattan Saturday, eliminating the final obstacle to the bombshell trade the Mets hope will eradicate memories of their 2007 collapse and vault them back to favorite status in the National League this season.

"Coming into the winter, we really looked for a No. 1 starter and we have accomplished that objective...and this really almost exceeds those expectations,” GM Omar Minaya said on a conference call. “It doesn’t get better than Johan Santana."

Santana, who will be feted at an introductory press conference at Shea on Wednesday, arrived at the Hospital for Special Surgery Saturday around 8:15 a.m. in a dark luxury SUV, and after passing his extensive physical exam, the lefty departed about five hours later through an off-limits back exit, avoiding reporters and photographers who had been waiting for him for much of the morning.

Shortly thereafter, Santana, who flew Friday from Fort Myers to meet with Mets ownership and to take part in past-deadline contract negotiations at SNY’s studios, gave a thumbs-up to the cameras and signed autographs for several fans upon arriving at his midtown hotel with various Mets executives.

"We clearly see signing him as a major event in our franchise’s history,” COO Jeff Wilpon said. “We did everything we could to make Johan a Met for many years to come. There’s not usually a clock in baseball, but everyone was looking at their watches (Friday). I was confident and I’m proud of my team how we worked together to get this done.”

The two sides required an extra 90 minutes beyond the 72-hour negotiating window they were granted by MLB earlier this week before agreeing Friday on $137.5 million contract, which includes adding $7 million to the $13.25 million Santana already was scheduled to earn in 2008. The deal also includes undisclosed deferred money and an $18.75 million club/vesting option for 2014 with a $5.5 million buyout that would push the contract’s value over $150 million.

Wilpon and Santana’s agent Peter Greenberg both said the sides were about $5 million apart when the 72-hour deadline struck at 5 p.m. Friday, but as Wilpon put it, “we realized it wasn’t something we could walk away from.”

The result is the largest deal for a pitcher in baseball history, exceeding the respective marks for average annnual value and total dollars previously established by Chicago’s Carlos Zambrano ($18.3 million per year) and San Francisco’s Barry Zito (seven years, $126 million) within the past year.

“At some point in time, we didn’t think it was going to get done, but thank God it got done,” Minaya said. “We know our fans don’t want to hear that, they only would want to know why you didn’t get the player they wanted...At 5 we were thinking, what are we going to say if this deal does not get done?"

Santana, a two-time Cy Young Award winner who went 15-13 with a 3.33 ERA and 235 strikeouts for Minnesota last season, was acquired Tuesday — following a winter-long mantra of “patience, patience, patience” by Minaya — in a 4-for-1 deal for speedy outfielder Carlos Gomez and three young pitchers: Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra.

Minaya steadfastly refused to include Jose Reyes and outfield prospect Fernando Martinez in the deal, and waited out the Yankees and the Red Sox to land arguably the best starting pitcher in baseball.

“It was very hard for him to leave Minnesota, but once that door was closed, I can confidently say without putting words in his mouth, that the Mets were his No. 1 choice,” said Greenberg, who acknowledged that Santana’s 2014 option can vest based on Cy Young voting and/or innings triggers. “In Johan’s mind, he’s comfortable it’ll be a seven-year deal...In Johan’s words, he said ‘just leave that to me.’”

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Re: Mets get best pitcher on the planet

Post  RedMagma on Sun Feb 03, 2008 2:01 am

Quote:
Minaya didn't care for what he called "the worst case scenario." And though he hardly was convinced the negotiations would fail -- "At 5 o'clock," he said, "I pretty much felt we're not going to get it done" -- he was quite pessimistic about what appeared to be a stalemate in the making. The Mets and Santana's representative stood -- rather rigidly -- $5 million apart. The words Minaya said to himself were "Oh my God, this doesn't look too good."

And Peter Greenberg, the agent representing Santana, said "Without [the extra time], we wouldn't have gotten it done." And he noted his client had been "ready to walk away" from the fortune on the table.

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Re: Mets get best pitcher on the planet

Post  RedMagma on Sun Feb 03, 2008 2:02 am

Feb 2, 2008 9:18 pm - Quote: Get After It


http://www.metsblog.com/

...posted by Matthew Cerrone...

…by the way, this was my favorite quote from the conference call earlier this afternoon…

Mets GM Omar Minaya, on what’s next…

“We’ve been good on paper, but we haven’t won. This shows our fan base and our players that we care about winning. Our goal is to win a championship. We put in our part to get this done. This is a commitment to our players. Now, what we need now is a commitment on their part to get it done

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Re: Mets get best pitcher on the planet

Post  RedMagma on Sun Feb 03, 2008 2:02 am

Feb 2, 2008 4:01 pm - News: Santana to be Announced at 4:30 pm




http://www.metsblog.com/




...posted by Matthew Cerrone...

The Mets will hold a conference call at 4:30 pm EDT to announce the official acquisition of LHP Johan Santana from the Twins.

…i will be on the call, and will do my best to provide a few key notes while it is in progress…

…Update…4:28 pm…

…let me just say, ‘thank you, Internets,’ because i am on the road right now…i couldn’t get home in time for this call…so, i am pulled over, at a rest stop, sitting in a parking space, huddled in the driver’s seat online with my laptop and the conference call on speaker phone on my cell phone…

…Update…4:46 pm…

Omar Minaya, Jeff Wilpon and Peter Greenberg are on the call, Johan Santana is not.

There will be a formal press conference with Santana at Shea Stadium on Wednesday, Feb. 6.

According to Greenberg, after the Twins, the Mets were Santana’s first choice. He told the Twins he would not stand in their way of getting the best package of players from wherever Smith needed to send him, but the Mets had always been his top choice, followed by either the Red Sox and the Yankees.

Minaya said there was a point during the negotiations when he worried that a contract would not get done, as they were ‘very far apart,’ with only an hour left to go. He asked for the extension, it was granted by the Twins and the commisioner’s office and they were able to agree on a contract. According to Wilpon, they were confident they could sign him, and there was no way they would have pulled the trigger on the trade if signing him was in doubt.

Greenberg said this was one of the most unique negotiations he had ever been apart of, especially with the added element of checking his watch every fine minutes.

According to Wilpon, the extension was needed to work out the final $5 million of the deal. In theory, explained Wilpon, Santana came down $5 million, while the Mets gave up an additional $5 million, for the two sides to meet in the middle on the final total.

Minaya called Santana, “A true, number-one starter.” He is happy to had added as much pitching and defense as he did this off-season, since it is what he believes is necessary to win a championship.

According to Minaya, it was Greenberg and Wilpon who did a great job working out the contract’s details in the final hours.

Minaya says he entered the winter saying he wanted to acquire a font-line starting pitcher, and though he was tempted at times to sign a free agent, for fear he’d be unable to replace Tom Glavine, something told him to be patient with Twins GM Bill Smith.

After the winter meetings, Minaya bet Wilpon a pair of shoes that Santana would become available again and that the Mets would have a chance to get him.

Last week, Smith called and said, “I want every one’s best offer,” and since he would never trade Fernando Martinez, Pelfrey or Jose Reyes, he offered up the four prospects and Smith accepted.

According to Minaya, it was very hard for him to give up on Humber, Gomez, Mulvey and Guerra, ‘but we need to win now,’ he added, and since the only way to acquire an ace was via trade, he had to do what was necessary.

Minaya says this is the team he will go to spring training with.

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Re: Mets get best pitcher on the planet

Post  RedMagma on Sun Feb 03, 2008 2:08 am

Boston Globe -Nick Cafardo- Sticking to his young guns
Cashman's plan isn't built around Santana


http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2008/02/03/sticking_to_his_young_guns/?page=1

While Brian Cashman may well have lost the AL East title to the Red Sox by not pulling off a Johan Santana deal, and while he will be second-guessed to death about his undying loyalty to young pitchers Philip Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy, one thing is for sure: You must give the Yankees general manager credit for sticking to his convictions.

If he needs to take a step back to take two steps forward, he's apparently willing to do it. He's willing to take the chance that another year of the youngsters gaining experience, with a new manager (Joe Girardi) getting his feet wet on the job, will pay dividends for the Yankees in 2009 when they move into the new Yankee Stadium.

Until then, the Red Sox might be in line to repeat.

The absence of Santana in the AL East is also good news for the Blue Jays, who may be ready to compete for the division title.

"I think we always expect that Boston and New York will compete for the best players," said Blue Jays general manager J.P Ricciardi. "So, when there's a Santana out there, you watch it, and when he doesn't end up in the division, you breathe a sigh of relief, I guess.

"But you have to take care of your own team, anyway. I think it's a tribute to Cash that he's so committed to those kid pitchers. That's your future. You put so much into developing those guys, you realize how valuable they are and the dividends they can pay for you down the road and in the present."

The Red Sox' Theo Epstein essentially made the same decision as Cashman - and we must add that both GMs did make substantial offers for Santana, though short of what the Twins wanted, probably by design. But for Epstein, it was a far lesser risk, given that the Sox have won two championships in the last four years. Cashman has four rings, but he hasn't won one in seven years with the game's highest payroll.

Walking away from the one available pitcher who can match up with Josh Beckett had to be tough, but Cashman never relented on Kennedy and eventually pulled back Hughes. He had no angst about the Red Sox obtaining Santana or, for that matter, the Mets stealing the back pages of the New York tabloids. He's past all of that now, thinking about his own team and trying to re-create the Yankee dynasty from his early days as general manager.

"It's right for us," said Cashman recently. "This is what we want to do."

What Cashman has is uncertainty but also, perhaps, some of that Barack Obama hope. Hughes and Chamberlain could be No. 1 starters in the minds of Cashman and his scouting staff. Chamberlain, a very tough setup man for Mariano Rivera, has to show he can bring that dominance to the rotation and incorporate more than his fastball and slider. Hughes, who strained a hamstring May 1 last season and didn't return until August, was throwing 91-92 toward the end of the season, and the feeling is he might get his velocity back in the 93-94 range when completely healthy. Kennedy is a favorite of the Yankee brass, a budding Mike Mussina.


Page 2 of 5 --

Hope, yes. But guarantees?
more stories like this

"He knows those pitchers better than any of us," said Ricciardi. "We all have our scouting reports and opinions and ideas on pitchers all around baseball, but nobody knows them more than Cash and his staff. I think Cash is a very underrated GM because everyone assumes he's got deep pockets and he's always going to dig deep and spend a lot of money, but he really believes in his development system."

While some baseball officials feel that two-time 19-game winner Chien Ming-Wang is not going to be an ace, a few scouts say not so fast. Aces are sometimes hatched from experience and maturity. Wang turns 28 in March.

"Way too premature to say that Wang won't be an ace," said a rival American League scout. "He's got the stuff. If he develops the mental toughness - and over time that can come - then you have an ace, because he has the stuff to be an ace."

The argument against what Cashman is attempting is that three young pitchers may not be able to give the Yankees 180-200 innings apiece. In Chamberlain's case, there's already discussion that he might stay in his setup role for part of the year.

The Yankees won't be lousy, so forget that notion. They will be transitioning to what Cashman believes will be a better team. And his veterans are buying it.

"Everyone has great faith in Cash's decisions," said outfielder Johnny Damon. "We're going to be fine. It's exciting watching those young kids pitch, and our lineup will support them."

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Re: Mets get best pitcher on the planet

Post  RedMagma on Sun Feb 03, 2008 2:20 am

Before these players needed TJ surgery they were projected to have a very high ceiling were talking about leading a staff or bullpen.

Garcia - Has better stuff than Hughes before he got injured

Brackman - Was projected to be one of the top five picks but team got scare because he needed TJ surgery.

Sanchez - This guy was projected to be an Ace of a staff.

Cox - Projected to be the Yankees closer. Was top reated closer coming out of college.

Melancon - Projected to be the Yankees closer. Was top rated closer coming out of college.

Everyone of these pitchers except for Brackman will report to training camp, Sachez will probably be ready in May and Brackman will probably pitch in fall league.

All of these ptichers were perdicted to have a very high ceiling were talking about ace and closer type stuff here not 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th starter were talking about ace stuff and as far as Cox and Melancn they were the top closer coming out of college and were also projected to close in the pros.

Now if it true what they say about TJ surgery were pitchers come back stronger than I really think the Yanks are siting in a very good situation right now. I look forward to seeing Sanchez, Garcia, Melancon and Cox contributing later in the season and Brackman should be ready by the time fall league start.

All of these pitchers could easily top the 100 list of MLB prospects and will easily crack the top ten on the Yankees prospect list after this season. All of these kids are just flat out stud and the Yanks future look very bright.

By the way I have a feeling Duncan will have a big year in AAA this year. Dont forget he is only 22 and he was rush up to AAA. By they way I think TJ Henry will have a good year for the Yanks and this kid was one of the Yanks top prospect before he got traded and he is only 21.

Go Yanks!

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