In light of all of the talk about giving up The Messiah (Hughes) for Johan, I thought I'd throw an alternate path out there for Cash 'n crew to follow. While Johan is widely accepted as the best pitcher available, that may not be true, and at least there is a potentially cheaper alternative that I believe the Yanks should pursue.
Let's take a look at Johan and Erik Bedard's stats side-by-side:
Age: Bedard is 8 days older than Santana
ERA last 3 years:
EB - 4.00/3.76/3.16
JS - 2.87/2.77/3.33
Ks/9 3 yrs
EB - 7.94/7.93/10.93
JS - 9.25/9.44/9.66
Ks/BB 3 yrs
EB - 2.19/2.48/3.88
JS - 5.29/5.21/4.52
EB - 10/16/19
JS - 22/24/33
EB - .260/.258/.212
JS - .210/.216/.225
Total Pitched Thrown Career:
EB - 11,391
JS - 20,191
First, based on an average of about 3,300 pitches per year, Johan has about 3 years' more wear and tear on his arm than Bedard. This difference can primarily be attributed to the much earlier success Santana enjoyed. While this is a positive for Johan in terms of perception when comparing the two, in actuality it is a serious negative. It's hard to argue that an arm with the equivalent to 3 years' more mileage is a good thing.
The other thing that becomes obvious when looking at the stats side-by-side is the trend of the 2 pitchers. Santana's stats are pretty damn good; there is no doubt, however, that he is trending down; this to me signifies that Johan has topped out in terms of performance. Bedard is the opposite; his important stats have been trending up over the past 3 years.
If all that happens is that both pitchers continue at last years' levels then by the numbers Bedard is as good as Johan. If, however, the trend for either one continues, Bedard would actually be the better pitcher.
The other factor involved here is what the Yanks would have to give up to get either pitcher. Hughes would have to go to get Johan. I would imagine that the Orioles would be happy with a the same package except substitute Kennedy instead of Hughes.
Which rotation would you rather have -
Considering that I think Hughes will equal both Johan and Bedard in a year or two, and taking into account the obvious trends for both pitchers, I'll take rotation #2 every time!