It’ s being widely reported tonight that the Twins and Mets have agreed to a trade that would send All-World pitcher Johan Santana to New York in exchange for four prospects: outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey, and Deolis Guerra.
The deal will not be complete (and will probably not be publicly announced) until the Mets reach an agreement with Santana on a contract extension. It seems very likely that that won’t be a problem.
The initial reaction if you’re a Phillies fan has to be: “Oh, Sh%#!”. Santana is probably the best pitcher on the planet right now and you have to think that this acquisition, without losing player of consequence from the major league roster, makes the Mets the NL East favorites heading into the 2008 season. To make matters worse, it looks like they got Santana at a discounted price. The deal is probably not as good as some offers the Twins received from the Yankees and Red Sox over the past couple of months. There are rumors that Santana told the Twins front office, some time in the last week, that if he was not traded before spring training, he would exercise his no-trade clause on any potential trade thereafter, and leave as a free agent after the season. So the team asked all the interested teams for a final “best offer”, but apparently the Yankees and Red Sox had lost some interest, and the Mets stepped up to make the deal. The Twins tried to get outfield prospect Fernando Martinez into the deal, but Mets GM Omar Minaya stood his ground and it appears to have paid off.
It seems possible that the Red Sox and Yankees’ main interest was keeping Santana away from each other, but it still seems a little odd that they backed off from a chance to bring in one of the top pitchers of this generation. I’m especially surprised that the Yankees did not make a push, considering they appear to be slightly out-manned right now by the Red Sox and the Tigers. Also, they let Santana go to their cross-town rivals, probably sacrificing the baseball headlines in New York to the Mets for the foreseeable future.
Gomez appears to be a pretty big-time prospect, but not on the level of Phil Hughes. Humber is a former first-round pick, but is not as good as any of the pitching prospects mention in previous deals, like Ian Kennedy, Jon Lester, or Clay Buchholz. He is not even as good as the Mets’ own Mike Pelfrey. The other two pitchers in the deal are not major prospects. Mulvey is a Villanova product who was a second-round pick of the Mets in 2006.
One good thing to come out of this trade will be potential duels between Santana and Cole Hamels. They have the two best changeups in the game, by far, and it should be very interesting to see them going at it. I just wish I could have seen it happen in interleague play, not in a divisional game. Maybe Santana won’t sign a deal with the Mets? Maybe?