There are numerous reasons why it would make sense for the Yankees to acquire Johan Santana. According to Wallace Matthews, the most pressing reason is: so the Red Sox don’t get him.
This is exactly the kind of thinking that the Yankees need to avoid. There are more teams in baseball than simply the Yankees and Red Sox. The Yankees must do what’s best for them. Whatever makes them the best team in the long run will also make them the best equipped to beat the Red Sox. It’s as simple as that.
Matthews states his case:
And then there is one compelling reason for why they damned well better get him, at whatever the cost (short of Joba Chamberlain, of course): If they don’t, he might just wind up with the Red Sox.
That, of course, would be disaster, and the end of baseball as we have come to know it around here. If Santana goes to Boston, the Yankees go to second place in the American League East for the rest of George Steinbrenner’s life, and maybe Hank Steinbrenner’s, too. It’s as simple as that.
No matter how many home runs Alex Rodriguez hits, no matter how many hitters Chamberlain freezes, no matter how many great years Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada have left in them and no matter how much further Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy develop, the Yankees will never overcome a team on which Josh Beckett is the No. 2 starter.
Say the Red Sox get Santana. What would you set their chances at of winning the World Series next year? 25% at most? Sure, they would probably be almost a lock to make the postseason. But remember, for all of Beckett’s “clutchness,” it is still possible for aces to have a bad series. And Santana is only 1-4 in the postseason to begin with. So clearly, he can be beat.
To say that the Yankees will never be able to beat a team with Santana and Beckett is foolish, to say the least. I think a better statement would be that the Yankees will never overcome the Red Sox if they trade away too much of their young talent for established players.