About 7 years ago, there was a “Free Johan Santana” movement in Minnesota that wanted the Twins to move the young left-handed phenom into the starting rotation. After Santana spent the majority of four years in the bullpen and another half-season at Triple-A, the Twins finally gave him a permanent spot in the rotation to begin the 2004 season. He immediately became the best pitcher in baseball, winning the AL Cy Young by going 20-6 while leading the league with a 2.61 ERA and 265 strikeouts.
In four seasons as a full-time starter Santana went 70-32, winning two ERA titles and three strikeout crowns while capturing a pair of Cy Young awards and deserving a third. It was an amazing metamorphosis. At 21 years old Santana was a little-known Rule 5 pick who showed some promise, at 23 years old he was an ace-in-waiting who dominated from the bullpen or rotation, and at 25 years old he was the best pitcher in baseball. Three years later he’d be the best pitcher in baseball and all of us in MN were pretty damn happy.
This week Johan was traded to the Mets for 4 prospects. While getting 4 unknowns for the best pitcher in baseball seems like a travesty, you can’t really think about it like that. Johan was going to be lost to free agency next year, so the Twins really were trading one season of the best pitcher in baseball for 4 prospects, which really isn’t that bad. The Twins have had great success in getting prospects and turning them into great players – in fact, that’s how we got Johan – so i’m not going to say all is lost
In a perfect world, we’d sign Johan and he’d be the best pitcher in baseball for another 10 years and he’d enter the Hall of Fame witha Twins cap on his head. The world just doesn’t work that way unfortunately, especially when you’re a small market team. So, all i can do is thank Johan for brightening my day every 5 games and wish him well.
I’m just happy he didn’t go to a Boston team, with Moss, Ortiz, and Garnett they’ve done enough.