What they’re saying about Johan Santana’s no-hitter

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No, it wasn’t a dream.

Johan Santana made a little history last night by tossing the first Mets’ no-hitter as part of an 8-0 win over the Cardinals. Here’s some reaction from around the baseball world:

R.A. Dickey, via New York Newsday: “We’re all talking about it,” referencing Mets manager Terry Collins. “What’s he going to do? Is he going to take him out? We’re all playing manager. And to a man, we all agreed that he’d have to rip the ball out of our hands.”

Mets manager Terry Collins, via New York Newsday: “I wanted it for him. I wanted it for the organization. But you just don’t jeopardize his career or the whole organization for one inning. We’ll wait five days and see how he is.”

Marty Noble of MLB.com: “All right, now what? What do we wait for now that hell is chilly and a Mets pitcher has thrown a no-hitter? What void do we now need to see filled to feel more baseball-content? Man walked on the moon before the Mets won a World Series, supporting Casey Stengel’s premise. But Armstrong’s giant leap barely preceded Cleon’s final-play catch. And that was merely NASA responding to Casey’s challenge. This was different, a greater challenge in some ways. NASA fought gravity and then no gravity. Johan Santana was against history, karma, the odds, medical advice, pitch-count concerns, an iffy forecast and the best-hitting team in the National League this season.”

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, via MLB.com: “That’s the way the game goes,” said Matheny, referencing the blown call by third base umpire Adrian Johnson. “We’re not going to sit here and cry about it. You could tell at the time that we thought it was a hit. More important than breaking up a no-hitter was that it was a chance to get a man in scoring position. We’re not spending any time talking about that.”

Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo, via MLB.com: “Sometimes those plays go your way and sometimes they go against you,” said Oquendo, referencing Johnson’s missed call. “That’s part of it. I know he’s doing his best. There’s nothing we can do about it.”

Josh Thole, via the New York Times: “Being part of this organization, they deserve one — they deserve more than one. All the great pitchers that have come through here, including Johan, you would think somewhere along the line. But I’m sitting back there calling pitches, and you realize how hard this is. These guys that call perfect games, my goodness, how do you do it?”

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, via the Associated Press: “I’m really happy for them. That’s been an albatross over the pitching in that franchise forever, since `62. One of the best pitchers they’ve ever had threw it and that also gives credibility to it.”

Mike Baxter, via New York Newsday: “I’m glad I had a chance to be a part of that. It’s an honor to be able to make the play for Johan, but ultimately it was his night.”

David Wright, via New York Newsday: “Man, that was awesome. Short of Tom Seaver , I can’t think of a better person to pitch the first one.”

Jose Reyes, via the Palm Beach Post: “I need to send a text message to congratulate him. That’s the first one in Mets history. That’s huge for them.”

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, via the Associated Press: “What pride! Long live Venezuela!”

Johan Santana’s post-game speech to teammates, via MetsBlog: “Tonight we all made history. That’s all that matters. Thanks to you guys, because you guys make it happen. I was just doing my job, and having fun.”

Matthew Leach of MLB.com: “Finally, at 9:48 p.m. ET on a rainy Friday night in Queens, it all gave way to relief and exultation. Fifty-one years of waiting came to an end, thanks to the reconstituted left shoulder of a beloved 33-year-old Venezuelan. No matter what happens in the rest of Santana’s career, he has a moment and a central place in Mets lore.”

Evan Longoria: ‘I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base’

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.