See ya, Santana

Goodbye, Johan.

Today the Twins almost nearly probably finalized a trade (pending contract extension and physical) that sends arguably the best pitcher in Twins history – Johan Santana – to the Mets for…well…some people I’ve never heard of.

Goodbye, Johan.The Twins couldn’t afford to keep him – he wanted max dollars, and he certainly probably maybe deserved them, and after re-signing The Laughable MVP Justin Morneau. But it’s still too bad to see such a great player go to New York. Again. For a bunch of guys only the scouts have heard of. (New York’s #2, #3, #4 and #7 prospects, reportedly, for what that’s worth).

This is what makes baseball so different from other sports in the offseason – and not for the better. Trades involve future Hall of Famers for no-name AAA prospects; people you’ve never heard of are packaged together, with no frame of reference. Free agents are signed almost randomly to teams that you have no reason to watch. If deals aren’t penned in time, it goes to a lawyer to figure out. It’s as if you need some kind of Bill James encyclopedic mind to understand it.

I don’t like the baseball offseason. Not at all.

See, when the Timberwolves shipped off their greatest player ever to the Boston Celtics, you at least knew who the Timberwolves were getting in return. It wasn’t equal, but it was at least recognizable.

But this? Well, I guess that’s baseball.

Two Cy Young awards. A multiple-time All Star. More wins, better ERA and more strikeouts than anyone – ANYONE – in baseball since 2003. For four unproven guys.

Good luck, Johan. I miss you already.

This was lovingly handwritten on January 29th, 2008