Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Santana to the Mets, not the Red Sox

OK. Yesterday, the Sox were unable to land an ace pitcher in a trade. They were unable because they wouldn’t part with an unproven young player. (This player had a reasonable replacement on the roster, but the Sox still wouldn’t budge.) After hearing the news, I went right to sleep, and slept through the night. I woke up this morning rested, with no stomach pains, and no slit marks on my wrists. Welcome, to the new Red Sox Nation.
If 2004 and 2007 hadn’t happened, today would be completely different. If the Sox lose, like they could have, in the ALCS both those years, and we’re pushing 90 years since our last title, today is different. Today I’d be looking at the roster and seeing two aging starters, and a clean-up hitter with a couple years left under contract. I’d be screaming at the top of my lungs that the window was closing fast, and the Sox needed to move to win TODAY. But, blissfully, 2004 did happen to change my life. And 2007 came along to give me a championship I could sit back and enjoy. So, today I’m not lining up on a bridge, or stomping around about finishing second to NY again. I can sit back and realize that this was probably the best thing that could have happened.
Personally, I flip-flopped almost daily as to whether I wanted the trade or not. On the one hand, I will ALWAYS sell the farm for a proven player, especially an ace pitcher. The Pedro, Schilling, and Beckett trades all worked fine by me...even if we gave Florida a superstar shortstop. (You just have to be sure you lock the guy up so you don't give away Grady Sizemore for a few months of Bartolo Colon like the Expos did) On the other hand...the Sox don't need an ace. They have one. They have a young one. So, if I'm going to shell out $130 million, I'm looking more at a Manny replacement than another pitcher. In a year or two, we're going to have to pay for a bat (whether it's Manny himself, or an approved equal). Thirdly, yes it will be fun to watch the kids develop. But I remember the big deal we made in '88 when the Sox were stacked for years to come with exciting young players like Greenwell, Burks, Benzinger, Marzano, Reed, and Horn. That didn't exactly work. If push came to shove, I would have said to make the deal, even if it included Ellsbury and Lester, but I wouldn’t have felt good about it.
Really. I could have gone either way. I didn’t want the Yankees to get Santana, so that worked out. Plus, the Yankees will have to live with the back page of the Post spouting headlines like: “Joba Junky, Johan Jiggy” every five days this season. That will make for a lot of fun. It’s one thing for the Yankees to pass on Santana. It’s another thing to have the Mets rub their noses in it all year as they cruise to the top of the National League. So, this really is the best of both worlds. Santana is out of the American League. (The Sox don’t even play the Mets this year…but the Yankees do.) The Sox can keep all the young talent, and use them to build on. And, there’s the extra $130 million to dole out as needed. Who knows? Maybe a bid on Sabathia makes it a complete win-win. Nice going Theo. My emotions are completely in uncharted waters…and I love every second of it.

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