Monday, December 03, 2007


Greed will be the undoing of Theo Epstein this off-season. If reports are true regarding the Red Sox including likely rookie of the year candidate Jacoby Ellsbury in a trade for Johann Santana, and it's not the bluff that Dave over at The Coffin Corner hopes, then Larry Lucchino needs to step in now.

Sure, getting Santana would be a major move and keep the Sox as favorites in the East for years to come with a rotation of Beckett, Santana, Matsuzaka, and whoever the Sox have left after the trade to fill in the back end of the rotation. However, he's not worth anywhere near what Minnesota is asking - particularly if half his starts are coming in Fenway Park.

I noted the following in response to one of the postings at the Coffin Corner, because I wanted to note what no one has been saying about this deal from the Red Sox end of things -

Everyone is talking about his greatness, nobody is talking about the fact Theo is trying to bring a fly ball pitcher to Fenway who has a career 6.89 ERA when playing in Boston, or the fact that he's 1-4 in five post-season appearances with 3.97 ERA.

The Sox already have a lefty with better postseason numbers - Lester - 2-0 in two appearances with a 1.93 ERA.

At 23 and coming off of cancer treatment, Lester still has tremendous up-side. This season, coming back from injury Lester had a 0.77 Ground ball to fly ball ratio, worse than Santana's career ration of 0.88. However, last year, before Lester's health failed him, his ratio was 1.03 (in 81.1 innings pitched with a 4.76 ERA). In 2000, Santana's first season with the Twins, he tossed 86 innings with a 6.49 ERA to go with the 0.88 ratio (for those out there that don't get the ratio, the lower that number, the higher the number of flies given up by the pitcher).

From everything I have read about recovery from the sort of lymphoma that Lester suffered from, he won't be 100 percent until the start of the 2008 season - and he still posted a lower ERA this season than last.

I would be worried that the Sox were giving up way too much for a pitcher that hasn't been very good in Fenway through his career.
Many out there point out that Santana is more accomplished than Lester, and that Lester is unlikely to reach Santana's level. To that I say, I would rather have the solid middle of the rotation guy who comes up big in the postseason, than the ace who might account for maybe six more wins during the regular season, but disappears in the postseason.

I hate to say it, but right now, Santana is the A-Rod of pitching. He's a pretty bauble that hasn't been able to seal the deal when the pressure was on to bring home a championship.

Keep the everyday player. Keep the two major league ready pitching prospects. Let the Yankees gut their youth once again for a player who has on-year followed by off-year, and doesn't show up in the big games.

Take your chances Theo with what you have. Santana isn't what the Sox need.

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