Chat with Tim Kurkjian
The case for Santana
The case for Sabathia
Join the debate!Vote: Who is the best left-handed starting pitcher in baseball?
Archive: Hot Stove Heaters!
Buzzmaster (12:58 PM)
Tim will join us shortly, so keep sending in your questions and comments!
Tim Kurkjian (1:02 PM)
Thanks for loging on. I am going to Spring training one month from today!
Erik Bedard (Baltimore MD)
Did my invitation to this party get lost in the mail?
Tim Kurkjian (1:03 PM)
You are one of the best pitchers in baseball, left-handed or right-handed. I was assigned this debate and given the names. We only had two, and I think we have the right two.
Clive, Cleveland OH
Tim do u think the Indians will be able to come with a deal that would keep C.C. in Cleveland?
Tim Kurkjian (1:05 PM)
I think the Indians are going to have to resign C.C. if they plan on being playoff contenders for the next few years. It is clear to me that all the very best teams do everything they can to keep their best home-grown talent. I they think they cannot resign him they will have to trade him sooner rather than later. But I think they should sign him and will sign him.
Joe (Fall River)
So far, the only justification I can see for choosing C.C. over Johan is that C.C. is two years younger and perhaps more durable. Santana doesn't really have a prototypical power pitcher's build, while C.C. looks indestructible. Do you think Sabathia could hold up over time better than Santana?
Tim Kurkjian (1:07 PM)
I think gievn Sabathia's size, he should be able to hold up for as good amount of time. But let's not discount how durable Santana has been. In the last four years he has pitched more innings than anyone in baseball. And keep in mind that Sabathia looked a little tired in the postseason after throwing 241 innings in the regular season. So as durable as he may be it is possible the extra work load he took in 2007 slowed him down a bit in October.
Let's make an assumption for a second that both Santana and Sabathia wind up becoming free agents after next season when their current contracts expire. Can you think of a year when two better young pitchers were on the open market? How much do you see both of them getting in this situation?
Tim Kurkjian (1:10 PM)
I certainly cannot remember a time when two young left handed pitchers of this quality came out at the same time. I think the bidding for Santana will start at about 20 million per year, and Sabathia will not be far behind that.
Tim When we're all said and done, where do you predict Johan Santana will rank among pitchers in the last 25-50 years? And is it true that your next book is on the history of the sacrifice fly? (Johan and CC have never hit one :))
Tim Kurkjian (1:13 PM)
I could write a whole book on the sacrafice fly...just kidding. We will have to see how many more great year's Santana has. But, in the last four years, he ranks number one in baseball in wins, ERA, strikeouts, and innings pitched. Not too many pitchers in baseball hiostnroy have ever dominated a four-year period like he has. But to be included among the best pitchers of the last 50 years, say, he is going to have to give us another four really good seasons if not mnore to even get in the discussion with the Gibsons, Seavers, Clemens, and people like that. They're longevity is amazing, so we need to check back with Johan in about seven yearsd, before we can really start looking at him as one of the very best of the last half century.
Santana's stats in 2007 were very similar to his career marks, except his home run rate was higher. Is this cause for concern?
Tim Kurkjian (1:15 PM)
It did jump significantly in 2007. I checked around about that late in the season, and a couple of scouts told me that Satana just did not get the ball where he wanted to as often as he would have liked. he left a few balls in the middle of the plate, which he had not been doing in previous years. It sounds like something that can be corrected. I do not think he will have a problem with home runs next year or in the near future.
Brad (Duluth, MN)
When are the Mets going to swoop in and pluck Santana away from the Twins?
Tim Kurkjian (1:18 PM)
That is a good question. To me the Mets need him even more than the Yankees need him, and much more than the Red Sox need him. But people around the game have been telling me for months that the Mets might not have what it takes to get Santana, unless they are willing to get rid of Reyes, and they are not going to do that from all indications. The Mets slide last year were due to a lot of factors, but none was bigger than their shiortage of starting pitching. I do not know where Santana is going to go, but my guess would be that it is not going to be the Mets.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Mr. K: In your opinion, can both pitchers adjust their styles as they get older? In other words, should they lose anything off of their fastballs, will they still be effective pitchers into their late 30s and/or early 40s?
Tim Kurkjian (1:21 PM)
I think that both are going to have to do that. Only the greatest pitchers of all-time are able to pitch mostly the same way until the end. And all the great ones make major adjustments as they go along. Roger Clemens added a splitter halfway through his career and that made a big difference, and pitchers like Tom Glavine have made constant adjustments through his career which is how he got to 300 wins. I think both are capable of adjusting their styles somewhat, and remaning really good pitchers into their late 30s because both have a very good idea how to pitch.
Can you see any other teams stepping into trade talks for Santana in the spring.Other than the Yanks and Bosox.
Tim Kurkjian (1:23 PM)
Well I guess some other team could make a play, but I do not see it. To acquier Santana you need a bunch of prospects and a bunch of money. The Red Sox and the Yankees have both and I do not think another team out there has enbough of each to get a deal done. So my guess is, if he goes anywhere, he will go to the Yankees or Red Sox, and from I can tell the Red Sox are not going to indlude Lester and Ellsbury in the same trade. If the Yankees include Kennedy, with Hughes a Cabrera, that package might be enough to get it done.
Naomi Farkas (Washington, DC)
Who do you think was more dominant over a four-year period, Santana or Pedro Martinez?
Tim Kurkjian (1:26 PM)
I have to check the numbers for four years on Martinez. But I can tell you that his 1999-2000 seasons were perhaps the best back-to-back seasons of any pitchers in history, given that he was in the AL, in arguably the greatest hitting era of all-time, and he still had an ERA under 2.00 and struck out over 300 in each year, I believe. I think Pedro's best four years together are more dominant than Santana's, but again to win the pitching triple crown during a four-year period is a stunning achievement.
Are you concerned that the big paydays for these 2 players will have a negative effect? If it doesnt, could these guys go 25-5 with a lineup like boston or ny?
Tim Kurkjian (1:29 PM)
I have been worried about what the high salaries will do to the game for the last 25 years and yet the game continues to flourish in revenue and attendance, so maybe I should stop worrying so much. It Santana played on an offensive team such as the Yankees, his 15-13 record last year would have been a lot better, and I think it is safe to say he could go 25-5 in his best year, getting the run support you know he would get from the Yankees.
With both of these guys under the age of 30 and either at or very near 100 wins, are they the two best bets to be the next pitchers to reach 300?
Tim Kurkjian (1:32 PM)
They would be my top two choices, among young pitchers to get to 300. But as great as Santana has been he has 207 more wins to go, and he is 28 years-old. So he has to avergae 21 wins a year for the next ten years to make it. That would be an amazing run. That is why when I vote for the Hall of Fame, and a guy wins 300 games, I find it almost impossible not to vote for him if he was good enough and durable enough to hang around long enough to win 300 games. My guess is neither Santana not Sabathia makes it; and if they do not make it, I do not see another young guy making it for another 20 years or so.
Patrick (Brooklyn, NY)
Do you think Hank's very public insistence that the Yankees are in the best position to offer Santana the extension he's looking for if he gets traded could be construed as a signal to Santana that "We're pulling out of this trade, but you should veto any trade to Boston because we'll outbid them in free agency next year"? Could that be grounds for a tampering charge?
Tim Kurkjian (1:35 PM)
Hnak has been very public on quite a few issues since taking over the control of the Yankees. I do not think what you are talking about is tampering, I think he is just stating a fact that we all know the Yankees can outbid anyone whenever they want. I think Hank is trying to lay the groundwork that long-term New York is the best place for Santana if he is interested in making the greatest amount of money that he can.
Mark (Research Room)
Tim, for reference Pedro from 99-02 was 5th in wins, 2nd in K, first in ERA
Scott (St. Michael, MN)
Assuming the Twins keep Santana next year, which do you think is going to be the better 1-2 punch: Santana and Fransisco Liriano, or Sabathia and Fausto Carmona?
Tim Kurkjian (1:39 PM)
I think Sabathia and Carmona will be better just because we are still not certain about Lariano's health. Now if he comes back to the form that eh showed in 2006, I would take him and Santana over any two pitchers in baseball. Those two guys were amazing starting in about June, and were as big a reason as any that the Twins made that remarkable run to the playoffs. Liriano's injury was major one, and I always like to see how a young pitchers deals with such a thing before he find his old form. And do not forget how good Sabathia and Carmona were for the Indians last year.
Tim what do you make of Sabathia's playoff performance against the Red Sox?
Tim Kurkjian (1:43 PM)
Again it was very disappoiting and very unlike Sabathia given the season that he had. It is possible that with 241 innings, it tired him out in October, but it is also possible that he just did not throw strikes like he did in the regular season. He was constantly behind his counts against the Red Sox and they really made him work. I do not think that is the start of anything troublesome for Sabathia; I just think he was not used to that kind of workload and pitching that late in the season.
A few years ago, we would have never had this discussion b/c Santana was head and shoulders above everyone else. Has the pitching just ogtten better over the last year or so or has Santana come back to the pack?
Tim Kurkjian (1:46 PM)
There is no doubt Santana came back to the pack in 2007, when his loses and home runs went up, and his innings pitched went down. There is no doubt that baseball has added more good young pitchers in this decade. I think a lot of young pitchers were getting tired of seeing so many home runs hit, and they figured the best way to get to the big leagues was to become a very good starting pitcher, and I think a lot of young kids have worked towards that.
Chris (Hamilton, OH)
Tim, Where do you think Johan would have more success (factoring in ballpark, defense, and pitching coach/catching staff), Boston or NY?
Tim Kurkjian (1:48 PM)
I think he would have a little more success in New York, because being a left-handed pitcher logically he would face more right-handed hitters and Yankee Stadium appears to be a better place for a left-handed pitchers as opposed to Fenway. And as good as the Boston offense is I think the Yankees would score even more runs for Santana which would add a few more wins each year.
Mike (Columbus, OH)
Tim, do you think with Adam Miller on the horizon might cause the Indians to be more unwavering in their negotiations with Sabathia?
Tim Kurkjian (1:51 PM)
Miller is a very good pitching prospect; I was very impressed when I saw him pitch last Spring. Yes, I think his eventual emergence will play a small factor in whether the Indians resign Sabathia. But the bottom line is they have to resign him if they have any intention of staying in the playoff race, in that division, over the next few years. To ask Adam Miller to do that at his age is just asking way too much.
You you were building a team from scratch which MLB SP would you want the rotation built around?
Tim Kurkjian (1:54 PM)
I think I might start, off the top of my head, with Felix Hernadez of the Mariners, just because he is so young and his stuff is so good. Granted he has a long way to go to getting to the class of Santana and some other really good pitchers out there. But he is 5 to 7 years younger of many of the best young pitchers, and that really gives him an advantage.
Matt (st. paul, MN)
I hear about the Twins top pitching prospects, but are they that good? The Twins seem to not have as deep as farm system as years past. Is this true? Who are a couple of their top prospects?
Tim Kurkjian (1:59 PM)
Well with Perkins and a few others, the Twins still have a very good farm system to work with. What makes them different is that they have already brought some of their best young ptiuchers liek Baker and Liriano to the big leagues. I think if they keep Santana and Liriano bounces back, the Twins have a chance to have as good of a young rotation as we have seen in some time.
Tim Kurkjian (1:59 PM)
Thanks for stopping by. I hope it is warmer where you are than where I am!