• Santana ’08 = Mussina ’01?

    Posted by on November 29th, 2007 · Comments (7)

    I recently received an e-mail from a friend regarding the salary/contract demands of Johan Santana where he wrote: “I’m still waiting for one person to point to a contract that has ever worked out for a pitcher at those terms. Mike Hampton, Kevin Brown, Barry Zito…all busts for the money.”

    This did get me thinking about recent “attractive” pitchers who switched teams as free agents or via a trade because of their salary demands.

    It seems that, for every Wilson Alvarez there’s a Greg Maddux. For every Mike Hampton there’s a Pedro Martinez. For every Kevin Brown there’s a Randy Johnson. For every Frank Viola there’s a Mike Mussina. For every Bret Saberhagen there’s a Curt Schilling. For every Bartolo Colon, there’s a David Cone. For Barry Zito there’s Nolan Ryan. For Andy Messersmith there’s Tim Hudson.

    Can it be that we just remember the busts more because they were duds?

    I’m not saying here that Johan Santana will not end up like a Hampton, Colon or Zito. But, can anyone, for sure, say that he won’t end up like Mike Mussina did when he signed with the Yankees?

    In 2000, Mussina signed a six-year, $88.5 million deal with the Yankees. Is $14.5 million a year in 2001 that much different than $20 million a year in 2008? Yes, it’s more. But, when you factor in the inflation of baseball contracts over the last seven years, is it that much more?

    Think of it this way, the difference between $14.5 million in 2001 and $20 million in 2008 is an increase of $786,000 per year for the seven years. That seems like somewhat normal baseball star salary inflation, no?

    So, if you’re dead set against Santana because of the money alone – as I once was – were you as upset when the Yankees signed Mussina in 2000? If I recall correctly, I was not upset with the Mussina deal back then. Therefore, I really have no right to be upset with the Santana money now.

    However, Moose was a true free agent. The Yankees only gave up a draft pick with the money – not actual players, as would be the case with Santana.

    If someone wants to debate whether it’s worth the money and the players to get Santana, I would respect their right to say it might be too steep a cost – because, there, it may just be the correct stance to take on this one.

    Comments on Santana ’08 = Mussina ’01?

    1. j
      November 29th, 2007 | 12:24 pm

      The more these trade talks go on, the more I feel like we’re going to get screwed. Ellsbury and Buchholz got taken off the table and went to bed, but now all of a sudden it looks like Hughes is in play, and possibly becauee the Red Sox might steal him for some mediocre MLB level talent and some unproven not-so-high-ceiling talent at the AA/AAA level?

      Mix in the fact that our payroll will be super bloated for the next 5-10 years as a result of this, and I’m wondering what’s so bad about riding it out with the kids we’ve got. No Hughes, Chamberlain, Cano, Tabata or Jackson – that should be final. I’d have a tough time biting my lip on opening day if something disastrous happened and one of those guys was sent packing.

    2. minikraft
      November 29th, 2007 | 12:37 pm

      its truly not worth the money and the players to get him, especially when I go over to mlbtraderumors.com and see that the red sox supposedly have the lead with a bunch of bums that the Twins are apparently high on. At least we put Joba and Cano off the market, but although giving up Hughes is acceptable to me, it makes me sick to see again how a team would rather give Johan for bums from the sox than for decent prospects from us.

    3. MJ
      November 29th, 2007 | 1:13 pm

      To begin, you’re assuming that Santana only signs for $20M. I’m figuring he gets closer to $22-23M a year. Also, as you pointed out later, the Yanks signed Mussina as a free agent. The cost of getting Santana is more than just money, it’s giving up young players who are both talented and economically efficient commodities.

      If Santana made it to free agency without getting traded by the Twins, I’d be hesitant to give him that kind of contract but I could probably be convinced since the Yanks, more than most teams, could take such a gamble and still survive. But I don’t want the Yanks to trade for Santana if it means giving up the entire farm AND having to pay for him as a free agent.

      Like I said before, if Boston gets him, so be it. I’d rather not bet the farm just to keep him away from the Red Sox. That’s not a smart way to run a business.

    4. minikraft
      November 29th, 2007 | 1:32 pm

      As Steve points out in his next article, our farm may not really be that great anyways.

      And so be it lol. If Boston gets him, they assure themselves of another world series and the dynasty status among the media, undeservedly so.

    5. Corey
      November 29th, 2007 | 2:13 pm

      i say let the sox get him. I think this may be the only way for us to win because finally all the pressure won’t be on us to win, but on the sox to repeat. They will be seen as the ones that are the heavily favored, and I like being the underdogs, worked for us in the past

    6. Ference
      November 29th, 2007 | 2:16 pm

      The real sad part is how people overrate Jon Lester’s ability. I applaud him for overcoming cancer and he deserves all the credit in the world but I believe that a lot people overvalue him because of that bout with cancer. In reality, Lester reminds me of a guy I am not sure many of you would remember, Damian Moss, who pitched with the Braves and Giants in the early 2000′s. He had similar stuff and the same problem as Lester, the inability to find the strike zone and very high pitch counts early in the game. Kazmir has the same problem but he is far away better than Lester or Moss ever were or will be.

      If you ask me, if the Twins are asking from us one of the Big 3 (IPK, Hughes, or Joba) Cano, Melky, and prospects than they had better be asking for Ellsbury, Pedroia, Bucholtz, and prospects from the Red Sox because that would be about even.

      However, if Minnesota takes that proposed deal of Lester, Coco, and scrub #1 and scrub #2 it will become patently obvious that the city of Minnesota is in Boston’s back pocket what with Ortiz, Garnett, Moss and then Johan.

    7. minikraft
      November 29th, 2007 | 2:36 pm

      real good point ference, with that acknowledgement, I’ll guarantee that the Sox will get Johan. Looks like the Sox will win again this year and match the Celts and Pats. Sad world we live in, might as well call all their teams the minny bostonians LOL

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