Tony Massarotti says the Yanks’ and Sox’ reluctance to trade Johan Santana could cost them when Toronto’s deep rotation takes the AL East crown this season. Like many people — including myself — have done, Massarotti compares a potential Santana deal to the 1997-98 Pedro Martinez trade-and-sign the Red Sox pulled off — a move that changed the franchise.
Don’t people remember? Back then, the Cleveland Indians were the elite team in the AL, the kind of power the Red Sox are now. The Indians had won two AL titles in the span of three years. After losing the 1997 World Series in seven games to the Florida Marlins, the Indians had the chance to acquire Martinez from the Montreal Expos in exchange for a budding young phenom named Jaret Wright.
Never mind the slightly inaccurate rendition of history (Jaret Wright, at least according to Baseball America, was not as highly thought of as Clay Buchholz — or even Carl Pavano, whom the Sox sent over for Pedro), this is a nugget I hadn’t known.
Can you imagine the team Cleveland could have had in 1999? Manny Ramirez’s 165 RBI, .333/.442/.663 season, Jim Thome’s 141 OPS+ and Pedro Martinez joining a young Bartolo Colon (127 ERA+) to lead the rotation. Wow. Chalk that non-trade into the "Oops!" column.