It could go down that Johan Santana was involved in two of the most lopsided trades in baseball history. In addition to landing with the Mets from the Twins for a pile of potential prospects, the two-time Cy Young Award winner was once traded from the Marlins for a dude named Jared Camp.
That was after the Marlins plucked him away from the Astros in the Rule 5 Draft.
So yeah, there are a lot of smart baseball folks that missed the boat on Johan Santana. The Mets, however, are not one of those "smart" teams. Instead of feeling the knee-jerk blather from fans, pundits and Billy Wagner regarding the dearth of wintertime moves, the Mets now have the best pitcher in baseball at the top of the rotation.
We'd get into the analysis of how good Santana is with his statistics and all of that stuff, but what's the point? He's a lefty, he's nasty and he's better than everyone else in the game. Go look up the stats yourself, though I will give one warning before you click on the link - they should make Phillies fans a little sick in the stomach.
Out here in the hinterlands I really don't get the full affect of the Philly sporting press's deconstruction of the Santana deal, but then again who needs it. After all, it's not the balance of power in the NL East that shifted with Santana's arrival in Queens - it's the balance of power in the entire National League that shifted.
Playoff baseball at Shea one last time, anyone?
The big question, of course, is what does it all mean for the Phillies. Well, for starters the Phillies will have to root for an even bigger and more epic collapse from the Mets down the stretch. They also have to root for an injury to Santana, though the guy hasn't missed a start since 2004. In that regard the Phillies might be better served with a voodoo doll.
More concisely, facing Santana a handful of times in 2008 will have a profound effect on the Phillies' lineup. That's especially the case when one notes that Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Geoff Jenkins are all lefty swingers.
It is worth noting that switch-hitters Jimmy Rollins hit .321 against lefties in 2007 and Shane Victorino went at a .291 clip. But then again, Santana has been just as tough on righties (.220) as lefties (.223) during his career.
Here's what else Santana-to-the-Mets means for the Phillies:
It means they should go out and make an offer to a pitcher like Kyle Lohse or Livan Hernandez and hope they sign on...
Before the Mets get both of them.