It’s behind the subscription firewall, but Joe Sheehan today says what I’ve been saying for weeks:
Like Alex Rodriguez in 2000, like Barry Bonds in 1992, like Greg Maddux that same winter, Johan Santana is an elite talent irreplaceable through normal means, and as durable as any pitcher can be in modern baseball. If the standard in six years and $140 million, or seven and $155 million, as ridiculous as those figures sound, they may be well worth it if the alternative is spending two-thirds of that over that same period for half the performance.
No baseball team has benefitted from trading or letting go to free agency a multi-Cy-Young winning durable pitcher in his prime. The Cubs with Maddux, the Dodgers and Expos with Pedro, the Red Sox with Clemens, the Expos and Mariners with the Unit, several teams with Schilling. It has always been a disaster.
HOF-caliber pitchers who don’t get hurt are rare. Pitching prospects are a dime a dozen. And when you’re moving into a big taxpayer-funded stadium, you don’t slap the fans in the face by letting your best pitcher since Bert Blyleven walk.