It's not often Steve Lombardi and I agree on the state of the Yankees. Today is no exception.
Santana pitched in 30 games for the Twins in 2000. And, their record in games where Johan appeared was 2-28. Yes, the team record in those games was two and twenty-eight.
Santana was 21-years old at the time. Smart move by the Twins - breaking in a kid pitcher by not throwing him out on the front-line where he could be eaten by wolves. That’s how it was done in the old days.
First of all, the 2000 and 2001 editions of Santana didn't feature the same devastating changeup as the modern edition- a pitch he was sent to the minors to perfect.
More importantly, the Twins that year featured 27 year old Brad Radke, 26 year old Mark Redman, and two 24 year olds, Eric Milton and Joe Mays. Those four combined to throw 738 innings- not a lot of room at the inn. The Yankees have no similar problems- the alternative to IPK is Kei Igawa.
The Twins lost 93 games that year because they scored only 748 runs. Their payroll was dead last in the league- behind such luminaries as Tampa, the Marlins, the Pirates, and the Royals.
Attendance hovered around one million for the third year in a row- the front office could afford to be patient with a Rule 5 pick. That might explain the most- Santana had to stay with the team in some role or he'd be sent back to the Astros.
But Steve did get one thing right- it's tough to pitch in the major leagues for a 21 year old.