But enough about Pedro Feliciano. With time running out on an already once-extended Friday evening deadline, the New York Mets completed their 5-for-one trade for Twins starter Johan Santana with the two sides inking a 6-year, $150 million contract. The pact eclipses both the annual value of Barry Zito’s deal with San Francisco and the total value of Carlos Zambrano’s $183 million agreement with the Cubs. Newsday’s Ken Davidoff points out Santana’s deal is the 2nd most lucrative in the Majors, outstripped only by Alex Rodriguez’ new contract with the Yankees.
Confirmation of the above signing comes after a morning and afternoon of somewhat ominous pronouncements from Bristol, CT that indicated the Mets and Santana’s representatives might not resolve their differences — leading paranoid persons who closely resemble me to wonder at which point would the Yankees or Red Sox prepare new offers once the negotiating window slammed shut.
“If seven years for Barry Zito is stupid, then seven years for Johan Santana is stupid,” declares Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, “but what were the Mets supposed to do?”
Santana’s total package ” seven years, $150.75 million ” is simply the price of doing business in a market starved for starting pitching. If the Mets win one World Series during Santana’s tenure ” or, even better, multiple World Series ” then their investment will look pretty darned prudent.
The top starting pitchers ” Santana, Jake Peavy, Carlos Zambrano, Roy Oswalt ” rarely make it to the open market. Indians lefty C.C. Sabathia figures to be the next exception, and he likely will hit the jackpot as a free agent, surpassing Santana. Rest assured, that deal will be stupid, too.
Maybe the Mets could have bid $200 million for Sabathia next winter, but the Indians’ oversized lefty is much more of a physical risk than Santana ” and besides, there was no guarantee the Mets would sign him, anyway.
Ask yourself this: Who will be the Yankees’ future ace if none of their young pitchers develops into a top-of-the-rotation starter? Heck, who will be their Josh Beckett this season? The Yankees lack such an animal. And they quickly could regret allowing the Mets to steal Santana.
Some baseball people question whether Santana was healthy at the end of last season, but most believe he will remain durable and effective. Pitching is less of a strain against National League lineups, which include a pitcher and generally are weaker overall. If you’re going to place a $150 million bet on a pitcher, Santana is probably the best possible choice.
While we never did see an apology this week from Wally Matthews to Omar Minaya, at least we know the Mets’ GM and one of his more vocal critics are once again on speaking terms.