There’s a great chat being hosted over on ESPN.com by Jayson Stark regarding the signing of Johan and how it will affect the NL East race.
His intro into the chat:
If Johan Santana was good enough to carry a team to a World Series by himself, the Twins would have played in about five of them already. But now that we’ve got that away, no sane human would dispute that Santana is a contract extension away from changing the face of the NL East.
Two days ago, the Phillies were the clear-cut favorites in this division. It’s safe to say they aren’t anymore. But does that mean the Mets are a lock? Not necessarily, according to the baseball men I surveyed in the last 24 hours.
The case for the Phillies
This may come as a shock to all residents of Queens, but we did find several bright, rational NL executives who still pick the Phillies.
Remember, they did outscore the Mets by 88 runs last year, whomped 82 more extra-base hits and drew 92 more walks. In fact, if you go around the diamond, how many positions are there where the Mets are definitively better than the Phillies? I’d give the Mets two — third base and center field.
The Phillies also catch the ball better. And would it really surprise anybody if the Phillies’ top two starters — Cole Hamels and Brett Myers — won just as many games as Santana and Pedro Martinez?
Finally, keep in mind the reason that one NL front-office man picked the Phillies — depth. The Phillies were deep enough last year to survive injuries to Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Hamels, Myers, Shane Victorino and Flash Gordon. And the Mets obliterated their system to make this deal, leaving them with “not much of an underbelly” if they have injuries. And everybody has injuries.