Despite that, at least in the eyes of Yankee fans, the two are already firmly linked. The story is well known. Santana's Twins were shopping him following the 2007 season. The Yankees, in desperate need of a front line starter, balked at the asking price, which at various times included some combination of Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Chien-Ming Wang, and Melky Cabrera. Brian Cashman, not wanting to pay twice for Santana in surrendering the necessary pieces to acquire him and committing the necessary dollars to extend him, chose not to make the deal. Instead, Cashman gambled that the equally talented Sabathia, slated to be a free agent following the 2008 season, wouldn't sign an extension and would be there for the taking a year later.
Cashman's decision was heavily criticized in many circles, and by Hank Steinbrenner as well. Things didn't get any better when the Mets landed Santana for a song - four fringe prospects, only one of whom remains property of Minnesota - while the Yankees missed the playoffs in 2008. More than two years later though, I doubt anyone would say Cashman made the wrong decision. After an outstanding 2008. Santana dealt with elbow issues last year, required surgery, and appears to be a bit diminished compared to his former self. Meanwhile, Cashman managed to land Sabathia as hoped, and the Big Fella led the Yankees staff to a World Series title in his first year in the Bronx.
The Yankees have hit a rough patch over the past week, going just 2-5, alternately betrayed by their starting pitching, bullpen, and offense. The Subway Series isn't nearly as important as it's hyped up to be, but given the state of the Mets in recent years and the way the past week has played out for the Yankees, dropping tonight's game would further raise the already ratcheted up panic level in Yankeedom. A win on the other hand would soothe the nerves heading into tomorrow's off day.
Last year we often turned to Old Blue Eyes in big spots. I don't think tonight's game is quite that important, but in an effort to change the Yankees recent fortunes and in hopes of making tomorrow's off day alarm free, we're going with Sinatra. CC Sabathia and Johan Santana haven't crossed paths in more than two years. Much has changed for both of them in that time. But whether they realize it or not as they square off tonight, they've both had a profound influence upon the direction of both clubs over the past two plus seasons.
Strangers in the night, exchanging glances
Wondering in the night, what were the chances?