No, Mike Krzyzewski, it’s not harder to win at Duke than with the New York Yankees

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Last night Mike Krzyzewski became college basketball’s all-time winningest coach. Good for him. One of his postgame comments was interesting:

Krzyzewski used the New York Yankees to explain how hard it is to keep a program on top because of players changing every four years, or even earlier with the NBA draft looming overhead. “We don’t have Jeter or Rivera for 15 straight years and you have to do it in intense competition in a great school,” he said. “We never have problems because usually we can develop a team.

Call me crazy, but is it not 1000 times easier for an elite college sports program to attract top talent year-in, year-out than it is for a major league baseball team to develop two Hall of Fame talents and keep them together for 15 years?

In the latter instance you have those couple of Yankees players and … well, that’s pretty much it.  In contrast, what Duke and Krzyzewski does is to basically sign the top three or four free agents every single year for decades on end.  Except they don’t have to pay them. And there are several programs that do this in both basketball and football, albeit not quite at the high level Krzyzewski does it.

That’s not to take away from Krzyzewski.  He has to maintain that high standard he has established and he has certainly done it really well.  But to think that there isn’t a really huge amount of momentum that keeps a major program like Duke basketball going that simply doesn’t exist in baseball seems off to me.

I’ll cut him some slack, though. Bobby Knight hugged him after the game and that was bound to addle his senses a bit.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.