Monday, November 26, 2007

Danny Devito called, he wants his TWINS back

Post #22 Topic: DIP-SET


No the other Santana, the only Santana. The best pitcher in baseball. Better than Beckett, better than C.C. Sabathia, better than Jake Peavy or Chris Young, better than Carlos Zambrano or John Lackey. The winner of two of the last three Cy Young awards. 4 consecutive 15 win seasons, all with over 230 K’s (at 28 years old, having been a starter for only 6). Career E.R.A. of 3.15 and even a save to his credit. Johan Santana is the best pitcher in baseball.

For the past several years, Johan Santana has been the reason that the Minnesota Twins have been on the map. Of course there’s been Tori Hunter. David Ortiz started as a twin (but was the back-up first baseman behind Doug Mientkewicz). Jacques Jones and Shannon Stewart were twins. Joe Mauer and Justin Mourneau are twins. Two years ago Francisco Lariano was the 2nd best pitcher in baseball, before the Twins burned him out causing him to miss the entire 06-07 season; but 2nd best to Johan Santana.

When someone says Johan Santana, these are the stats that come to mind. The name musters images of unhittableness, deadly sinkers and high cheese so stinky that batters have no choice but to take a whiff. But Johan Santana wasn’t always a star. Rather, in 1995, Johan Santana was drafted by the Astros to provide for a bridge to then closer Billy Wagner. Needless to say he didn’t pan out, and eventually wound up back in homeland Venezuela where in 1999 he was named the country’s athlete of the year.

Amazingly, in what many consider to be one of the finest baseball breeding grounds, this accolade was not enough to earn him a starting job in the majors. Rather, Santana was picked up by the Marlins (Cykiert 3 – Marlins Franchise 0 … reasoning to follow) in the rule 5 draft.

For those unfamiliar with the term, the rule 5 draft is an event that occurs each year at the owner’s meeting, during which teams that have stockpiled prospects are forced to sacrifice some of them to other teams who are willing to give them time in the Major Leagues, rather than burying them in Shreveport where the only fans that ever come around are rated on a scale from 1-5 and come standard with an “F” in front of them (I refuse to believe that early Christmas present known as global warming is responsible for the only thing that blows more southerners than the sisters of those southerners).

So the pathetic Marlins GAVE JOHAN SANTANA to the Twins… essentially. In reality, he was traded for Jared Camp. How good is Jared Camp? So good that he doesn’t even have a page on wikipedia (not that wikipedia is where I get most of my information or anything). Even I have a Wikipedia Page… Don’t Believe Me?

Ye of little faith.

Anyway, back to the point. From there on out Santana blew up. He became the game’s most dominant pitcher. He lead the Twins to the Playoffs twice. He won Cy Young Awards etc. etc. etc. BUT… and so as it was, once again it shall be. Though the course may change sometime the rivers always reach the sea (Zepp). Like all other players on small market teams like the MARLINS, Johan has decided to pack up his bags and head for what falsely appear to be greener pastures. I for one think the Twins are onto something. They have one of the league’s best farm system’s year in and year out. They got Mauer and Mourneau. Liriano will be back and they have two more young stud pitchers on the way. They’re getting a new stadium (Dairy Queen field… mmmmmm), they win games and their fans are PLEASABLE. But with one year left on his contract, and his eyes on a $20 million dollar a year deal, the Twins are left with no choice but to trade him to one of the league’s “Big Fish”.

I for one think the Mets are the ideal destination, and not only because I’m a Mets fan. Truth is that the Mets have the most to offer, the biggest need for Johan, and the demographics to help this South American Centaur feel right at home in a major market. And a major market is where he will wind up, seeing as only select teams (Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels, Rangers, Mets and that other team) can actually afford him. Then consider that the Sox’ rotation is clogged with Dasiuke, Beckett, Schilling, Bucholz, Wakefield and Lester (oops that’s six), the Dodgers need a power hitter and if healthy (Schmidt, Wolf, Penny…) have a pretty nice top three, the Angels just brought former teammate Torri Hunter over and are “actively pursuing Miguel Cabrera” who is now too good to play for the Mets Double-A affiliate, the Florida Marlins. While the Rangers remain an option and need pitching, New York is the place to go to make a national name for yourself and leave a mark on the game.

Back to the Mets. A package of young pitcher Mike Pelfrey, young Stunna’ Lastings Milledge, long relief man Aaron Heilman, and Carlos Gomez has to get this deal done. Those are four young(er) players, that combined equate to less than an 8 million dollar cap hit and have the potential to all earn starting spots with the Twins. While this may appear to deplete the Mets outfield, they still have Carlos Beltran, Moises Alou, and super-prospect Fernando Martinez who some believe is ready to step in immediately despite being only 20 years of age. Then ‘Duque can move to the bullpen, leaving the starting rotation as: Santana, Oliver Perez, John Maine, Pedro Martinez, and perhaps rookie Philip Humbert rounding, which would (assuming health) be amongst the best in the bigs… IF NOT THE BEST (that’s why they call them business socks). Oliver Perez is young and has ace stuff. If he can get a consistent leash around his fastball then the Mets have three potential 20 game winners at the top of their rotation with that Pedro wildcard filling the fourth spot. And Pedro was nice at the end of this season.

But no! Instead, we default to the obvious. Every season there’s that two week period where we, as fans of our respective teams truly believe that our GM’s are going to make that blockbuster move that makes us World Series worthy for the coming season. We see the rumors, often fabricated, in our local papers. Our friends talk about the possibilities. We write down the potential line-ups when we should be paying attention to our Grecian Math T.A.’s who don’t speak a spot of English and have yet to communicate one logical use for the derivative of Pi squared. We think of who we would give the ball to for game 1 of the fall classic and whether that man can also go for game 4 and game 7 if by some freak accident our American/National league opponent can last that long. And then just as we place our order for the custom-embroidered, authentic vintage jersey that cost us $250 and three weeks of eating Ramen Noodles and sugar cubes, that player signs with the gosh darn (this is a kosher blog) Yankees. Them Damn Yankees. Everything that is wrong with sports. All that is bad about New Yorkers. The entire source of yearly salary inflation. The GOD DAMN YANKEES.

Was it not three weeks ago that the Yankees declared that they would not fold to Alex Rodriguez’s demands for a billion dollars per playoff strike-out or inning ending double-play agreement? Weren’t Hank and Hal and all of the other Steinbrenner’s telling us how the young guys – Melky and Duncan and Kennedy and Joba and Phil Hughes were going to be the NEW FACE OF THE YANKEES? To answer your question… YES, emphatically.

But then the evils of being the richest franchise in sports kicked in. Kudos for the new owners for holding out as long as they did, but when Heidi Klum is sitting on your lap butt naked you can only concentrate on your Super Mario Bros. game and your buttered popcorn for so long. And then the Dominos started falling. A-rod for 10 years at 27.5 per. Total = 275 million (with 30 million dollars in home run incentives available to the lifetime loser). Mariano River re-upped for 3 years at 15 per. Total = 320 Million. (Mind you that Rivera’s E.R.A. last year was nearly a point and a half higher than its been since 2002 – translation: Cue Taps). Jorge “George” Posada rejoined the empire for 4 years at 13 per. Total = 372 million. And now, as we could have predicted, rumor has it that Santana will be the next to join the squad. Figure he gets 7 years at 20 per (which is a good deal given that Zito got 7 years at 18 per, and only won 11 games last year and threw less than 200 innings for the first time since 2002). But that’s another 140 million, bringing the Steinbrenner’s three week spending total to a whopping 520 million dollars in committed money. I haven’t spent that much money since I took my half-asian friend to the “penny per pound” night at the ground round. That is more than the Marlins and the Twins will spend over the next 10 years… COMBINED (assuming the Marlins fold within the next two years for what the Marlins owner identified as “inclimate weather”, although the only storm in Miami stopping people from attending Marlins games is “coming in from the west”). Oh, and Andy Pettite has a 16 million dollar option on the table should he decide to drop the cheeseburgers (or the Rocket’s Jock).

Don’t forget the rest of the Yankees and their salaries. Pavano at 10 mill, Mussina at 11, Kei Igawa at 4 mill, Jeter at 21, Abreu at 16, Damon at 13, Giambi at 23 and Matsui at 1,406,210,000 yen (13 million dollars, presented in yen for effect). THAT’S A LOT OF STEROIDS.

But Santana will cost more than 20 million per season. Included in his price will be the last 5 years of the Yankee’s player development, all of the Steinbrenner’s dignity, and all of the fan’s willingness to “build” a champion.

The Twins will want a proven young starter; JOBA CHAMBERLAN, come on down. Yankee fans say he’s untradable and I would tend to agree. Unless of course that player you’re trading for is Johan Santana, then you send them Joba and his father’s emotional story and a lifetime supply of homegrown coffee beans (Juan Valdez style). They’re also going to want a young “project” pitcher, since there is NO PITCHER IN BASEBALL who can on his own take Santana’s spot: Ian Kennedy or Phil Hughes come on down (in Drew Carey Voice). How bout a center-fielder to take Hunter’s place? Melky, don’t forget to spay or neuter your FORMER GM. And how about a DH, with his salary paid for? Giambi’s got one year left and there’s no more room for him in the Yankee’s lineup.

Sadly, Joba, Hughes/Kennedy, Melky and a free Giambi might not even be enough to obtain Cy Young the second’s services. But don’t be fooled, the Yankees will not stop there. Rather, the Yankees want to be certain that they win the championship this year.

Yeah, the Yankees are certain every year. But with Santana in town, trust suddenly MIA GM Brian Cashman that this year the evil, miserable, ruiners of all that is holy Yankees mean business. THAT IS, until they meet the Angels in the division series.

Other Notes

I (meaning me and my friends from college who’s combined brain power equaled that of a growth-stunted turtle for four years) invented the dance move the spin. I’ve spun all over the world. Spun in Germany, spun in Spain. Spun in Amsterdam, spun in Vegas. Spun in N’awlins, spun in Montreal. Spun in New York, spun in Ohio. Spun blacks, whites, Asians, Indians. Spun shorts, talls, fats, skinnies (firm believer in the equal protection clause so sue me… get it?). Spun smarts, dumbs, funnies and borings. I’ve spun ‘em all. So imagine my fright when I walked into the local bar this weekend and watched two other dudes spinning chicks. Now by spinning I don’t mean twirling, for twirling is merely the amateur’s way of partaking in spinning. I mean SPINNING. So attention all of you wanna be’s and band-wagoners: GET OFF OF MY CLOUD.

The older you get, the longer the 5 second rule becomes. It’s still called the 5 second rule, but at 24 years old I just count slower.

Thanksgiving is like a birthday; you binge all week but nobody gets laid.

Motion to change the name of finals. There’s nothing final about finals. If they were really finals, I couldn’t validate not studying for them by saying I’d do better on next semester’s finals.

Whatever Emily!

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