If you believe the reports that surfaced during the off season, Johan Santana was an Ian Kennedy away from become a New York Yankee.
Ian freaking Kennedy? Are you kidding me?
The same guy who was on the wrong end of a 13-4 defeat to the mighty Tampa Bay Rays?
Seventy pitches and six runs in only two-and-a-third innings from the guy you just couldn’t give up to get Johan Santana.
Against the Rays.
How did I not spend more time on this when it happened?
The Yankees are a World Series-level offensive team relying on two rookies, two senior citizens, and an ace that hasn’t won a big game (or pitched well in a big game) since joining the Yankees. The reason why Chien-Ming Wang’s nineteen win season was “quiet” last year is because he didn’t have a single “loud” win.
No big wins. No statement games. A few big losses, especially against the Indians in the playoffs.
How can a team with a $200,000,000 payroll go into the season relying on THAT guy to be their ace?
The Joba Issue
Are they really planning on extending him mid-season and moving him to the rotation? Joba Chamberlain the reliever is dominant. Joba Chamberlain the starter is a huge question mark.
Can he maintain the intensity for an entire game?
How will hitters handle him the second and third time through the order?
Most importantly, who replaces him in the bullpen? It’s not like their bullpen is loaded. They’re going to remove one of their two best late-game weapons? That could be devastating. So you get a few good starts? Unless Rivera can go two and three innings per save, you’re risking losing them in the late innings anyway.
You don’t turn a strength into a weakness midseason to experiment with a rookie who’s never started in the major leagues.
Back to the Ian Kennedy Thing
I just don’t understand why they didn’t make the move for Santana.
Ian Kennedy does absolutely nothing special. He doesn’t have plus-stuff, doesn’t throw exceptionally fast…he’s very, very average.
A decent three or four in a normal rotation.
But a decent third or fourth starter was the sticking point to trading for the best starter in the American League?
I don’t buy the money argument. The Yankees are moving into a fancy new stadium next season. They’ll be PRINTING money.
How were Hughes and Kennedy too much to give up for what would probably be THE piece that moves them ahead of the Boston Red Sox in 2008, and probably beyond?
Without Santana, they’re guaranteed to have two or three pitching mismatches against the Red Sox in a seven game series. They have NOBODY who can match up with Beckett. All of the other matchups at worst are toss-ups, at best actually favor the Yankees.
But when you go into a seven game series knowing you’re going to lose at least two games to the other team's ace, you’re fighting an uphill battle.
Even if you are the mighty Yankees.
I’m a Red Sox fan. I didn’t want the Yankees to land Santana. I’m ecstatic that he’s currently pitching for the other New York team.
But I know this: If George were still in charge, the Yankees would have made the move for Santana and would be the odds on favorite to win the World Series.
Hank’s Yankees? They’re a decent team that might win the AL East, but isn’t built to win in the playoffs. They’ll inevitably lose to the Tigers, Mariners, Angels, Indians, or Red Sox because they have nobody in their rotation who can match up.
Great for me, bad for Yankee fans.