January 29th, 2008. It’s a day that will forever be recognized as one of the most significant days in the history of the New York Mets franchise. It’s not often you can acquire a good starting pitcher, none the less, the best one of the 21st century. Johan Santana pending a contract extension is going to be a Metropolitan.
The two time Cy-Young award winner has already made a colossal impact on the organization, the Big Apple, and most importantly, the team’s faithful followers. I have already spoken to seven different fans that unlike Fred Wilpon in regards to finalizing Santana’s extension, have broken their banks, and purchased his Mets jersey on EBay.
From a baseball standpoint, Santana immediately elevates the Mets from a “maybe” to the odds on favorite to emerge as the cream of the National League. It is quite apparent for obvious reasons that need not be stated, Mets fans are enamored with the acquisition. September can now be buried somewhere in a history book. It has probably occurred almost five months too late, but Omar Minaya has once again restored faith within the fan base of a team whose very foundation is built upon the phrase, “Ya gotta believe!”
Santana may or may not go out and toss the organizations first ever elusive no-hitter. He may win the Cy-Young, he may make 20 win seasons a bench mark in Flushing, but before he has laced up a pair of Nike’s and taken the field, or even signed a contract extension for that matter, he has unquestionably restored championship aspirations.
In wake of this league altering trade, I wondered how fans of different teams around baseball felt regarding Johan’s pending move to Queens, and how it may change the culture of baseball and their favorite temas.
- “I said holy crap when I found out. It looks like it’s going to be another one hundred years before I see the Cubs win a World Series.” –Jon Mackrow-Lifelong Cubs fan.
- “It really puts the Mets in a great position to take back the NL east, and maybe more so the entire NL altogether. If they didn’t get Santana, it would have been a disappointing off-season for the Mets. As a Brewers fan, I just hope it’s never his turn in the rotation when the Mets face the Brew Crew.” –Dennis Dimascio-Lifelong Brewers fan
- “I couldn’t be happier with Johan leaving the AL central, even better, the AL entirely. No longer will I have to see my White Sox flail at his changeup, en-route to being one hit yet again. Santana was the most dominant pitcher in the AL, I say good riddance, and good luck in the NL.” –Steve Hamden-Lifelong White Sox fan.
- “It’s a great move for the Mets. They really had to somehow get a good pitcher to complete their team, in the end they came out with the best pitcher in the game.” –Steve Pinchak-Lifelong Red Sox fan.
- “The Mets completely owned the Santana deal because if they didn’t get him they would have probably been forced to pay the same price for Joe Blanton. The Twins messed up by not getting Phillip Hughes from the Yankees. They seen March approaching and panicked. They jumped on an offer that had no pitching. Even the spects they got back are not high ceiling guys. And when you look at what the A’s got for Nick Swisher, Gio Gonzalez and De Los Santos both are better rated then any pitcher in the deal. Also you look at the Dan Haren trade and you get Carlos Gonzalez plus Dana Eveland and 4 other top prospects for a pitcher who is far below the level of a Santana. And yeah you’re going to have to pay him 160 mil but its baseball money. Plus your New York, they can afford it, they won’t even notice it, so salary should not be an issue. My overall opinion is that Carlos Gonzalez is better than Gomez. Gio Gonzalez, De Los Santos and Dana Eveland are better than any pitcher the Mets gave up. I’m an A’s fan but that is the value that good players have right now and flat out the Twins did not get nearly enough. Both the "big" deals this off-season had a better value than the Twins got. That being said it still won’t be enough because the Mets as always are overrated." –Andrew Infante-Diehard Athletics fan
- “The Mets could certainly use Johan since they’re terrible. I think it’s unfair for him though, seeing how his talent will be wasted on such a bad team.” –Brittany Greer-Braves fan…..as if you couldn’t tell
- “The Mets absolutely raped the Twins, no question about it. I mean Gomez is a nice little player, he’s quick and got a cannon, but he has proved himself to be nothing more than a .230 hitter at any level. Kevin Mulvey? I went 3 for 3 against him in high school. Johan is the best the game has to offer.” –Anthony Gonsalves-Lifelong Yankees fan.
- “The most satisfying part about landing Santana is that every analyst placed the Mets as the team LEAST likely to deal for him. It’s a steal on the Mets behalf and automatically elevates them to the front of the NL this year.” –Angel Pastrana-Mets fan
The bottom line comes down to this. The Mets added a two time Cy-Young award winner and Baseballs leader in Wins, earned run average, as well as strikeouts since the 2003 campaign, at the age of 29. With this, it allows Pedro Martinez to be slotted in as the number two starter, and relieves him of the burdens that goes along with the responsibilities of being an ace, especially coming off shoulder surgery. I feel as though there is a fair chance he will benefit from the move, more than any other player on the club. John Maine and Oliver Perez come off 15 win seasons and posted ERA’s under four. It can be argued both were better last season than Cole Hamels. You’re in terrific shape when your number four starter is coming off a better season than your top rivals’ ace.
A midst the 2006 playoff run, there was an evident swagger that the Mets took to the field everyday. They knew they were the best, as did anyone who played them. They were confident and I will even go as far as to call them cocky. After 2007, it had vanished, sailed off into the night along with Yadier Molina’s home run. Johan Santana is not even under contract at this moment, but the sense is that the swagger, the confidence, its back.