Mets Get Santana; Become NL East Favorites

It’ s being widely reported tonight that the Twins and Mets have agreed to a trade that would send All-World pitchersantana 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? 

9 Replies to “Mets Get Santana; Become NL East Favorites”

  1. I’m pumped obviously, as a Mets fan it’s AWESOME. But I’m also completely amazed at how Minnesota’s GM handled this (did he get advice from Isiah on this one?). In early December the Yankees offered Hughes (probably a legit frontline starter) and Melky Cabrerra. Melky’s a much surer bet (if he doesn’t have quite the same upside) as Gomez and Hughes is a HUGE upgrade over Humber who projects as a No. 3 starter. You can’t tell me the Yankees don’t put the same deal back on the table today if the Twins play the “if you don’t do it we’ll trade him to the Sox card.” So, if you’re the Twins, do you give up that much in return talent just to get Santana out of the AL? I sure don’t.

    If the deal goes through the Mets will run out 4 starters with sub-4 2006 Era’s and Pedro. Not a bad rotation. Woo.

  2. Gotta give Omar a ton of credit credit for being wise enough to not overplay his hand. Gotta kill Smith, who somehow found a way to get more for Garza from TB (where at least he got Delmon Young) then he did from anyone for the best pitcher in the game. Hard to fathom how that is possible. I heard a great comparison which all you card-sharks will appreciate way more then me, that Omar was just (insert Teddy KGB accent) hanging around and hanging around and the Yanks and Sox folded and boom, now all Minnesota is left with is a package from the Mets that doesn’t have either their top hitting prospect or their best pitching prospect in it. I think thats another very underplayed part of this, the fact that the Mets now have Pelfrey to step in if there is an injury to the elder starters, or more likely take the pressure off Pedro & Duque early in the season and save them for the stretch. I think that might end up being big.

  3. This is a pretty bad column by George Vecsey in the New York Times, but I did enjoy the unbridled pessimism about the Mets.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/sports/baseball/31vecsey.html?_r=1&ref=sports&oref=slogin

    He claims replacing Glavine with Santana “does not necessarily make them a better team”. Huh?

    Also, I think everyone has made too big a deal over Reyes’ crappy September. Everyone has slumps, and he’s a young kid. Young guys are going to fold under pressure sometimes. That’s the disadvantage of having young players, right? Pretty sure he’ll be fine.

  4. You’re right doog, Vecsey’s column was atrocious. One of those: “I’ll go the other way and call acquiring the best pitcher in the solar system a bad move and if Santana does well nobody will remember what I said and if he gets hurt or something I’ll remind everyone that I’m a genius for predicting that it wasn’t going to go well when the rest of the world was lauding the trade.” I hate people like that.

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