Friday, December 07, 2007

Recent history and selective memory...

It's what the pundits have in backing their arguments.

Those arguing that the Steelers will end the Patriots perfect season this weekend, present the following thoughts - the Steelers are physical like the Ravens and Eagles, but better than either; the Pats are vulnerable against the run, and Steelers tailback Willie Parker is second in the league in rushing; the Pats offense has been in a slump the last two weeks while being pressured by these physical defenses; the Steelers defensive scheme is meant to cause confusion and will cause problems for the struggling Pats offense.

Let's look at each argument -

The Steelers are better than either the Ravens or Eagles. That's a fact. It is also a fact that they are physical with their linemen, but, as I mentioned in a previous post, not great with press coverage from their corners.

Yes, the Pats have struggled against the run this season - particularly as of late. However, as good as Parker has been, he put up 87 yards and a 3.1 per rush average against the defense deficient Bengals, 81/3.4 and two fumbles against Miami, and 52/2.5 against the Jets. Those teams are respectively 23rd, 32nd, and 29th against the run. That would be Parker's last three games - a total of 220 yards and an average of three yards per rush. Not exactly numbers that blow you away.

During the Patriots' offensive slump, they have averaged 29 points per game. The rest of the league is averaging 21.1 points per game. Wow. Twenty-nine points per game are gonna lose you a lot of games...really. On top of that, the last three games haven't exactly been sterling for the Steelers either. Yes they won two out of three, but, as previously noted, they played the Jets, Dolphins, and Bengals - losing to the Jets by two, and barely getting a three point win (at home, mind you) against Miami...horrible, horrible Miami.

As for the shock and awe of the Steelers zone-blitzing defensive attack...I seem to remember that the Patriots lit them up in the playoffs with lesser talent than they now have on offense. And correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time I checked, current defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was running the defense that got lit up then.

Before Steelers fans get up in arms, I'm not guaranteeing a Patriots win, but I am pointing out that the arguments are weak as to why they will end the streak. It could very well happen - the Pats have looked vulnerable recently, but no more so than the Steelers.

House of cards...

Until the Patriots beat Dallas and Indy, the comment was, "who have they really beat so far?"

It was almost the mantra of New England's critics.

Now the Steelers are supposed to give the Patriots a run for their money. They have the number one defense in the league. Number one against the pass, number one against the run.

Like the Eagles and the Ravens, they play a physical brand of football - they want to push the opponents around at the line of scrimmage, and make receivers pay after the catch.

Unlike the Ravens and the Eagles, they play a zone blitzing scheme, because their corners are not great cover corners, but are good in space. If they play up on the line and try to get physical with the Pats receivers and whiff, then you're talking about a lot of targets running free for Tom Brady all day. But that's not really what I want to address.

What I want to address is, who have the Steelers forged their defensive ranking against?

They have wins against only two winning teams - the Browns and the Seahawks. The Seahawks only have a winning record because they play in the doormat division, the NFC West. The pass-happy Browns gave the Steelers everything they could handle - even with ineffective play from their quarterback.

Of the twelve games, only four opponents, the Browns, Cardinals, Seahawks, and Bengals have an offense in the top half of the league - fourth, ninth, twelfth, and seventh respectively. Of the ten total opponents, five are ranked 25th or worse in total offense. The average offensive ranking of the Steelers opponents through to this weekend's game? other words, the Steelers have pretty much made their reputation against losing teams with an average of the 19th ranked offenses in the league.

All three of the Steelers losses have come on the road - Cardinals (9th in offense), Broncos (19th), and Jets (24th). Their sole road win was against the Browns (now ranked fourth) in the season opener when the Browns had Charlie Frye at quarterback. They nearly dropped the rematch at Heinz Field.

The Patriots offense has already faced five of the defenses in the top half of the league, including the third ranked Colts D. New England has beaten those teams by an average of 19.2 points - including the three-point games against Indy and Philadelphia (12th overall). Overall, the average ranking of the 11 defenses faced by the Pats is 18.7, only marginally better than the 18.8 for offenses faced by Pittsburgh.

One of the big differences, however, is that of the teams Pittsburgh faced, only the Seahawks and Browns are close to locks for the playoffs. The Cardinals and Bills are fighting for wild card positioning. The Pats have cut their offensive teeth against the division leading Chargers, Colts, and Cowboys as well as wild card hopefuls Cleveland and Washington.

What does all of this mean?

Absolutely jack, if the teams don't come out and play the way they need to. However, if the rest of the season is any indication, the Steelers have had trouble coming out and playing the way they need to when on the road.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Merry Christmas from 300 Patriots Fans!

300 New England Patriots

This links to a larger version that anyone can go to in order to get a screen shot to set as a background for your desk- and laptops.

'Tis the season!

The 360

The Sparta of America.

I'd like to be able to say that I came up with that...the Sparta of America.

It is a great description. But I have to give credit where credit is due. Thank you for that one Frank Deford.

As for the number?

53 players on the Pats
25 players on the Sox (not going with the 40 man roster)
15 players on the Celtics
22 players on the Revolution
24 players on the Bruins
25 players on the Cannons (Major League Lacrosse)
99 players on Boston College Football
97 players on Harvard University Football

Of the above, only the Cannons (5-7) have been unsuccessful during the most recent season. Others might have fallen short of expectations, but this is what each of the following has done in its most recent or current season -

Patriots - Season in progress, 12-0 with a chance at an undefeated season.
Red Sox - Won the World Series for the second time in four seasons, sweeping the National League Champion Colorado Rockies.
Celtics - Season in progress. With a newly minted "Big Three," the C's are 15-2 and on a blazing 72 win pace. Paul Pierce, rejoice.
Revolution - Four the fourth time in six seasons, the New England entry to Major League Soccer ended their season in frustration on the pitch in the league's championship game.
Bruins - After a down season, the Bruins are in sixth place in the East, a respectable 14-9, and only three games behind first place Ottawa in the win column. If they keep up their current pace, they will finish 50-32 and in the playoffs.
Cannons - See above.
BC Football - The Eagles finished up a solid season with a 10-3 record, including a loss in the ACC Championship game against Virginia Tech. While knocked out of contention for the national title, they still have a chance to bring home a bowl trophy and run the 2007 record to 11-3 if they can beat Michigan on December 28.
Harvard Football - The 8-2 Crimson went 7-0 in the Ivy League and handed 9-1 Yale their only loss of the season while bringing home the IL Title.

Of the teams that have pretty much wrapped their seasons - Sox, Cannons, Revolution, Eagles and Crimson - Boston area teams have appeared in league championship games four times (out of five), and brought home two titles. Of the remaining teams playing - the Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins, all are likely to at the very least make the playoffs in their respective sports.

The combined record of these teams for the 2007, 2007-08 seasons is 176-96,with 7 ties, which translates to a .631 winning percentage...even with the Cannons losing record thrown in.

Has any other city experienced this sort of success in the athletic arena? Ever?

Say it with me Boston sports fans...




Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Shut up and play...and ruminations on the potential Santana trade

This has been a tiresome week for me.

I live in Whine Country in Maryland.

I watch the boards and read various articles about the NFL games for several days after the games end on Sunday and Monday. For weeks I have heard fans of other teams bitch and moan about the lack of class of the Patriots. This week I have heard, both locally, and nationally (mostly in interviews with Ravens) how the officials took the game from them (thankfully the national press has pretty much said what follows here...well, with the exception of my sentiments on Samari Rolle).

To that, I answer the following - since Belichick took over, you have never heard players blame each other for any of their losses (Peyton Manning, I'm looking at you), you have never heard the Patriots blame the officials (Ravens, I'm looking at you). The team has gone longer than any other team in the NFL without a player arrested (Bengals, Redskins, Cardinals, Bears, Dolphins, and...well the rest of the NFL, I'm looking at you). The team hasn't had any assistant coaches get into trouble on their own time (Detroit, and Arizona). As a matter of fact, other than Belichick being named in a divorce proceeding and the tragedy that took Marquise Hill, the Patriots are pretty much in the news for playing football.

As for the Ravens and their fan base, the idea that the refs took that game from them is patently ridiculous. While I have made many of the following points elsewhere myself, I would like to thank Peter King for the following summary of the end of Monday night's game -

• New England ball, fourth-and-1, Baltimore 30, 1:48 left, Baltimore up 24-20. At the last second before the snap, Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan calls timeout. The play went on, with Baltimore stuffing Tom Brady for a loss and, theoretically, that should have been New England's last gasp. One problem.
Only the head coach is supposed to be able to call time on the sidelines. But in
this case, the league has interpreted the rule on a last-millisecond timeout call that the side official cannot be responsible for seeing whether it's the head coach or another coach who calls time. So it's technically legal for Ryan to have called the timeout, and the league's point is the head coach is responsible for controlling his bench. In this case, Brian Billick has to be responsible for his sideline, and when Ryan calls time, the burden is on Billick to accept the call because it happened on the Baltimore sideline.
• New England ball, fourth-and-5, Baltimore 13, 55 seconds left, Baltimore up 24-20. Brady retreats to pass. From the right side of the line, tight end Ben Watson runs downfield into the end zone, with nickel back Jamaine Winborne riding him tightly downfield. Once Watson gets past the 8-yard line, it's illegal for Winborne to have anything but incidental contact with Watson, but he clearly has an arm on him well past the 8, and all the way into the end zone. Maybe the call should have been holding, maybe the call should have been illegal contact, but it was a legitimate call, not a ticky-tack one. Winborne impeded Watson's path.
The back judge, Billy Smith, called holding, a five-yard penalty and automatic
first down. I would have called illegal contact, but both penalties have the same impact, which is to give the Patriots a first-and-goal at the Baltimore 8. Great guts by Smith to make a call in that atmosphere.
• New England ball, first-and-goal, Baltimore 8, 50 seconds left. Brady throws to the left corner of the end zone for Jabar Gaffney, who catches the ball in front of his body with both hands while getting both feet down. During the time he gets both feet down, Gaffney moves the ball in front of him but never takes either gloved hand off
the ball and never juggles the ball. It is ruled a touchdown, and there is a booth review ordered by replay official Dale Hamer. The play is reviewed by ref Walt Anderson and confirmed. Let's remember what replay is: It's to be used to overturn a call only if there is indisputable visual evidence that the call is wrong. There's no way you can look at this play -- and I've seen it 10 times, in slow-motion -- and say there's clear evidence he didn't have control of the ball.
• Baltimore ball, second-and-10, Baltimore 45, eight seconds left. Kyle Boller throws a Hail Mary to the 3-yard line, and, in the middle of the scrum, Baltimore wideout Derrick Mason puts his hands on Patriot cornerback Asante Samuel's shoulders and pulls Samuel down. Mark Clayton makes the catch and is tackled at the three. There is no flag. Big mistake. There certainly should have been offensive pass interference ... but even if that was the call, it would not have changed the outcome. Because the clock expired, and the game can end on an offensive penalty, the game would have been over without the Ravens having another chance to score.

Let's also address Samari Rolle's complaint about the 53-year old former player, and official who called him "boy at least five times." The large black man whom Rolle accused, by his own admission, of having "never strapped on a helmet," in relation to what Rolle felt were bogus calls.

The more that comes out about Rolles complaint, the more it sounds like he incited the ref. Rolle claims that he was told by 110, "boy, shut up and play." Part of his complaint is that Rolle himself is 31 years old and a father of three, and "you don't call a grown man 'boy.'" To which I say, maybe he should act like a grown man and accept responsibility for his actions, and not blame the refs for his teammates screw-ups.

This will result in a talking to the officials by Goodell, but it should also result in a smackdown on the Ravens who seem to think that the officials are trying to help the Patriots by edict from the league offices.

One of the most ridiculous accusations is that the league wants to help Bill Belichick, who has pretty much become the NFL version of Darth Vader in everyone's eyes, win. It was obvious in the way the game against the Colts was officiated, and the way the officials helped AJ Feeley toss three picks, and of course the way the officials ignored an obvious penalty on the Baltimore Hail Mary in the closing seconds. If Clayton gets into the end zone, that's a potentially game changing play on which the refs blew the call. Do Ravens fans think the NFL told the refs to blow that call too?

Bottom line, they need to get their heads out of their asses and really look at how that game was called. Yes, it was poorly officiated, but it was poorly officiated on both sides. And if the second most penalized team in the AFC really thinks that the refs were quick to throw the flags on them, then maybe it has a lot less to do with the Patriots record than the fact that year in and year out they play disciplined football, and, as such, are one of the least penalized teams in the league. That might have followed the Ravens into the game more than any conspiracy by the NFL to keep the Patriots without a loss.

If they don't want the flags thrown, maybe they should try playing with discipline - hell, Ed Reed was five yards off-sides on an extra-point attempt. How often do you see that?

As for Santana, and I'm not talking the guitar legend...

I'm pretty much on record at a number of other blogs as not in favor of this trade. Johan Santana is a superb power pitcher whom I would love to see on the Red Sox for the right price. The deals as structured combined with the rumored contract demands are not the right price. Maybe if Santana were 27, it would be, but he's 29, has already pitched over 1300 big league innings, has faded down the stretch and has been mediocre, at best, in the post season.

This doesn't even take into account Santana's Fenway park numbers - 1-3 (15.2 innings) in three starts and one relief appearance with a 6.89 ERA, 12 K and a 1.85 WHIP. The only win came in the relief appearance and his last Fenway start was 5 innings with a 7.20 ERA. Part of what has hurt Santana in Fenway is the fact that he's a flyball pitcher. Those flyballs that are outs in the Metrodome are going to be doubles off the wall in Fenway.

I can't help but feel that given the fact that Jon Lester is 23, was solid in a year that he came off cancer, and put up better numbers in his first year than Santana in his first, I can't help feeling that giving the Twins Lester and three to four prospects that will likely be playing in the majors within the next two seasons, that the Red Sox are grossly overpaying ala the Vikings for Herschel Walker for a bauble they don't really need. What surprises me here is that the Twins haven't jumped on this offer, given that the Sox are currently not bidding against anyone else.

Why do I compare this to the Walker trade? I think, like Walker in Minnesota, that Santana will have limited success in Fenway, and that his propensity to give up flyballs will negate any upgrade he would otherwise represent over Lester who is likely to average 14 to 16 wins per season over the next couple of seasons (health permitting).

Power pitchers who begin to develop elbow problems like Santana has been exhibiting begin to show significant drop off in numbers between the ages of 33 and 35. Given Santana's demands, I can't help feeling that in four years that the Sox would be paying $20 to 25 million per year and dealing with the same situation that the Mets did this year with Pedro Martinez - paying gobs of money for a guy who couldn't get off the bench until late August due to injury.

And none of this takes into account the domino effect of paying Santana obscene gobs of money in spite of the fact that he's nowhere near the post-season pitcher that Beckett...or for that matter, Lester is.

Given the way last year's JD Drew signing went down, it feels like Theo has become enamored of another shiny bauble that the team doesn't need, and is bidding against himself in an effort to get it.

I understand not being able to do Lester straight up for Santana, even Lester and one player, but Lester and three seems too much for a team that doesn't actually need Santana. Don't even get me started on Buchholz or Ellsbury, neither of which I think should be included in any deal for the Twins ace.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Scraping the bottom

Sometimes in professional sports, scraping bottom isn't about finishing last. Sometimes its about the fact that the franchise is run into the ground for so long that employees feel like they go to work in a cave somewhere far below the level of the rest of the respective league - bad drafting, bad coaching, bad free agent signings, bad executive decisions (budget, contracts, etc.).

Some teams are so bad in a given season that they become a benchmark against which other teams are measured - the 1962 New York Mets won only 40 games; in the team's first season the Buccaneers lost all 14 regular season games, becoming the first NFL team to do so in the Super Bowl era; the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers won nine while losing 73.

Sometimes, as I said, it's less about the single season then it is about sustained periods of putrescence. Some teams just historically have issues - the Cubs, Browns, and Clippers have been the sad sacks of their respective leagues for years.

But who are the teams scraping bottom now?

Let's start with the worst of the worst -

The New York Knicks - The Isiah Years. Not including the partial season of 2003 - 2004 that Isiah Thomas has presided over this team as team president/GM and/or coach, and not including this season's sterling start, Isiah Thomas has managed to pad his resume with the following facts -

  • The team has an aggregate record of 89 -157. Currently the team is on pace for roughly a 25 win season.
  • Thomas himself has been embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal, found guilty by a jury of his peers.
  • He has put together a team of individuals with the highest payroll in the league, but has never been able to get the team to .500.
  • He has publicly feuded with his team's biggest star, Stephon Marbury, who claims he has the goods on Thomas and also admitted to sleeping with a team intern.
  • Owner James Dolan has publicly supported Thomas, going as far as to say that he believed that Thomas was doing a good job and had the team headed in the right direction.

Sure, there are other teams that have finished below the Knicks in the standings (last year's Celtics for one), but none have had the combination of futility on the court, in front office, and in the court rooms as the Knicks have had.

The Knicks were, at one point, one the NBA's most storied franchises. Now they're the punchline.

A close second? The Matt Millen Detroit Lions - Like the Dolan owned Knicks, the ownership of the Lions is in serious denial about their general manager, Matt Millen. Millen has drafted poorly, made poor hirings of coaches, and has played the free-agent market like a neophyte stock broker on Wall Street. Like the Knicks, there have been teams that finished behind them, but no other team has been as consistently bad.

To wit, under Millen,
  • Detroit had an assistant coach arrested for indecent exposure. Said coach faced no significant consequences from the team.
  • The team has set a record for futility with six straight seasons of double digit losses, and are sitting at 6-6 this season after a four game losing streak (no general manager in NFL history has presided over any team with as many 10+ losses per season). With games remaining against Dallas, San Diego, Kansas City, and Green Bay, a seventh straight season isn't out of the question.
  • Has gone through at least three head coaches.
  • Repeatedly drafted wide receivers with a top ten pick when the team had glaring needs at other places like offensive and defensive line.

Number three is, of course, the Miami Dolphins - Since 1998, this might be a team with some of the worst personnel decisions in the NFL. Consider that starters tend to hit their stride in their third or fourth year - particularly the later round picks.

And the result of their drafting futility?

  • In the six drafts from 1998 to 2003, Miami had 59 choices. It exercised 46 of those picks and used 13 other choices in trades to acquire veteran players. Only Ricky Williams, acquired in a draft day deal as one of those 13 other choices, is on the current Dolphins roster (with thanks to Peter King for these numbers).
  • They weathered the Nick Saban experiment.
  • And while the jury is out, picking a glorified and injured kick returner with their first rounder just goes against conventional wisdom from a personnel standpoint.

Amazing for a team that once was a perennial power in the AFC East.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and the Baltimore Orioles - Sure, I'm grouping these three together because these three teams prove that it doesn't matter how big or small a team's budget is when ownership has no idea what it's doing. Continuing a recent history of futility, the Pirates and Devil Rays have become nothing more than glorified triple A teams cultivating talent for the rest of the league. The Orioles and George Steinbrenner wannabe, Peter Angelos has shown that a team can go out and spend money and still suck.

Were it not for the fact that the Marlins have established a pattern of binging and purging in order to win championships, they would make this list as well.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Patriots won last night.

As a New England fan, that's pretty much the good of it.

I suppose you can throw in the following facts as well - when the chips were down, the Pats came up big while the Ravens made the mistakes that lose you games. Even when the Pats made mistakes, they turned them to an advantage - like a late penalty before the snap that negated a fourth down play that would have given the Ravens the ball back with less than a minute-and-a-half to play. Instead, it was fourth and six, and Tom Brady scrambled for a first down.

Oh...and the forced fumble by Kevin Faulk after Brady was intercepted just before the half was probably worth at least a three point swing in the final score of 27-24.

As for the bad and the ugly...well, there was a whole lot of that in this game.

This was, for Brady and the wideouts, a bad game. Brady completed less than 50 percent of his passes, including a couple of poor throws (the interception at the end of the first half and the ricochet off a Raven helmet in the red zone late in the game come to mind). The receivers dropped a number of balls that hit them on the hands - Randy Moss had at least two and tight end Ben Watson one. Of those, at least two of them would have accounted for touchdowns and an 11 point swing (Watson's unforced error in the back of the end zone turned into a field goal attempt).

Asante Samuel was bad. He was picked on, and he made few plays. The biggest play he made was for the Ravens when he misplayed a 15-yard sideline pass into a 50+ yard reception in the first half.

The refereeing was bad as well, although I would say not as bad as the Colts game. The refs left calls on the field against both teams. I will even grant that the Pats touchdown to Jabar Gaffney was borderline, but I also don't believe there was enough to merit overturning the call on the field. Of course none of this matters since Raven Bart Scott was undergoing a meltdown which would have given the Pats the ball with four fresh downs on the Raven two yard line.

As for the Ravens public claim that the officials were trying to give the game to the Patriots, they might want to re-watch the film of the bomb at the end when the official kept the flag in his pocket in spite of the fact that Derrick Mason did not play the ball. Replays clearly show that Mason threw a block on Asante Samuel, the closest defensive back to receiver Mark Clayton who came down with the ball. Not only did Mason hit Samuel, he then wrapped the corner from behind, aiding Mason in making the reception that almost won the game for the Ravens.

Yeah, refs conspiring to get the Patriots an undefeated season are going to ignore that every time, I'm sure.

As for the ugly...

The Patriots run defense was ugly through most of the game, as Willis McGahee carved up the Pats (at least until the game was on the line late in the fourth quarter). The Pats secondary was also carved up for the second week running by a career second string quarterback.

That the Ravens can't come to terms with the fact that their own mistakes killed them is ugly.

What could possibly have been the ugliest is what the Ravens allege about one of the refs calling Sumari Rolle "boy," throughout the game...were the ref white. Head linesman Phil McKinley, a black man and former player in the late sixties and early seventies (ie: the man grew up during segregation and the Civil Rights Movement). Given the background of the "name caller" I would say that Rolle and his teammates are looking for any reason to try and discredit a mediocre officiating staff just because they don't want to accept responsibility for melting down in their loss.

On a different note - the time of year has come again for the annual weight loss contest. Husband and wife teams: me and my wife, my wife's sister and her husband. Whichever pair drops a combined 40 pounds first, or whichever pair has the greatest combined weight loss by May 1 wins. I weighed 188.5 yesterday. Let the games begin.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Philosophical sports question of the week...

If a Major League Baseball player is a "major leaguer," and a National Hockey League player, is in the "big leagues," and a player in the National Football League is a "pro," then does that make a player in the National Basketball Association an "associate?" Too WalMart?


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.