Well the big news of the weekend in baseball is that the Mets came to agreement on a long-term contract with star lefthander Johan Santana, thus finalizing their deal with the Minnesota Twins.
Santana and the Mets inked a $137.5 million, six-year contract on Friday evening followed by Santana's passing his physical on Saturday, completing the four for one deal which sent the Twins four top prospects.
AP Baseball Writer Mike Fitzpatrick managed to obtain, in broad terms, an early analysis of the dollars-side of the deal for Yahoo sports;
Terms of the agreement were disclosed by a baseball official with knowledge of the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made. The deal includes deferred money and a club option for 2014 with a $5.5 million buyout that could make the contract worth about $150 million over seven seasons. Depending on Santana's performance, the option could become guaranteed.
On Saturday, MLB.com's Charlie Noble reported a more comprehensive look at the dollars year-by-year on a deal which could mushroom, according to New York Times' Ben Shpigel, to as much as $157 million if Santana meets the criteria for a "player's option" to vest.
Santana sports a career record spanning over 8 seasons of 93-44, including a 20-6 mark in 2004 and a 19-6 record in 2006, with a lifetime ERA of 3.22 having never walked more than 54 hitters in a season while averaging over 200 innings and striking out over 230 hitters in each of his last 4 seasons. In 2007, having had a somewhat off-year, his homer count jumped to 33 vs 22-24 in the previous 3 seasons and his ERA leaped to 3.33 from the mid-2.70s -2.80s in the previous seasons.
I find both fascinating, and hopeful for the Phillies, the reactions of former Met Tom Glavine, now with the Atlanta Braves, as well as others regarding the deal.
MLB.com's Marty Noble reports Glavine's take on the deal;
"Obviously, this is a huge lift for them," Glavine said. "The guy is arguably the best pitcher in the game right now. They have every reason to be excited about that and optimistic about their season, but so do we. I think we addressed our needs really well, and I think we all feel good about our chances.
"When Randy Johnson went to the Yankees ... everybody was ready to hand them the World Series trophy, and it never happened. That's why you play the games. You just don't know what's going to happen."
APs' Fitzpatrick reported these comments;
"He's good but he's not unbeatable. He got hit around last year," said pitcher Tim Hudson of the Atlanta Braves, one of the Mets' chief rivals in the NL East along with Philadelphia. "We've just got to be concerned about ourselves. We can't be consumed by what anyone else does."
Finally, ESPN's Jayson Stark provides the enlightening take of one unnamed GM on the deal and on the Mets in general;
We polled 12 front-office types this week on whether they thought the Phillies or post-Johan Mets would win the NL East. Ten of them took the Mets. But one who didn't, an NL executive, was adamant that the Phillies have an energy and a personality the Mets lack.
"I'm talking about the way guys like (Jimmy) Rollins and (Chase) Utley and (Shane) Victorino play," he said. "Guys like that find ways to grind out wins. The Mets don't have those kinds of guys. Both those teams had a lot of guys who got hurt last year. But after the Mets got hurt, they didn't play the same way. Chase Utley got hurt and the Phillies kept on coming. To me, that's because that 'gamer quotient' was still there."
Further, it must be remembered that the Mets, as exemplified by shortstop Jose Reyes, gave up on ground balls by not running them out.
Offensively, they didn't have what it took down the stretch. And once one gets past Santana and John Maine, the rest of the rotation is one huge and aging question-mark. I'll stick by my Santana, Maine, three days of rain analogy and assert that the Mets will be looking up at the Phillies in 2008 rather than over their shoulders even with Santana's acquisition.
I would feel even better about the Phillies if they acquired an innings-eating, mid-3s ERA 4th starter behind Hamels, Myers and Kendrick as well as a capable middle reliever.
Mark Burt has been a lifelong baseball fan, particularly of the Philadelphia Phillies. Shortly before the 2006 season, Mark decided to start a baseball blog -- http://www.blogging-baseball.com which is now entering it's 3rd year online.cf baseball store