Despite the bad news up the turnpike the sun came up this morning in Philadelphia, or at least it would have if not for the rain.
The Johan Santana signing certainly isn't good news for Phillies fans but it isn't the end of the world either. The most surprising detail was how little the Mets surrendered to acquire his services, but that is a topic Twins' bloggers can lament on their time.
Does the trade make the Mets the team to beat in the NL East? Probably. But before we start imagining ticker-tape parades down Broadway, let's not forget New York still has plenty of question marks. Pedro is 38 years old. Billy Wagner is in decline. So is Carlos Delgado. Jose Reyes, once the most exciting and dangerous player in the Mets lineup if not the entire league, utterly collapsed in the second half of 2007. The rest of the Mets starting rotation is not the second coming of the the Orioles' starting foursome in 1979. So let's not start tearing our hair out yet.
If Santana is on his game, and his second half in 2007 wasn't so fabulous either, he replaces Tom Glavine in the rotation and can be expected to add roughly six or seven more wins. Yes, that would have put the Mets over the top last season despite their legendary collapse at the end and begs the larger question in these parts as to whether or not the Phillies have improved themselves in the off-season as well.
The Pedro Feliz signing has impressed at least one Phillie, Jimmy Rollins, who apparently can vividly recall being robbed of a few extra base hits by Feliz. Memories of earlier signings at third base -- David Bell in particular -- are still fresh wounds in these parts. Can Feliz deliver at the plate? Very hard to say, of course. But he is an upgrade over last year's rotation at the hot corner.
Shane Victorino is a better centerfielder than Aaron Rowand and, frankly, plays as hard and with the same reckless abandon. Until last year, Rowand didn't exactly tear things up at the plate, so there is no reason to expect the changeover diminishes the Phils. Jason Werth and Geoff Jenkins should more than adequately handle right field.
The key is pitching and the keys to pitching are Brad Lidge, Brett Myers and Kyle Kendrick. If Lidge recovers his confidence at his new address, Myers matures into the kind of person let alone pitcher we've been waiting for, and Kendrick can continue to develop into the kind of ground-ball pitcher who can thrive in Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies chances are good, Johan Santana notwithstanding.