January 30, 2008
Roundtable: Santana Reactions
by: The Geeks on Jan 30, 2008 12:49 AM | Filed under: Articles

Cross your fingers. Knock on wood. Whatever your preferred superstition may be, now’s the time. Because, provided he signs on the dotted line, Johan Santana is a Met. Without a doubt, yesterday was a thrilling day to be a Mets fan.

And for that reason, we opted to open up the forum and collect the thoughts of our entire staff of writers, since everyone had something they wanted to say. So, without further ado:

John Peterson: The Mets just acquired the best pitcher in baseball and gave up nothing in the way of top-tier prospects. They kept their most major-league ready young pitcher, Mike Pelfrey, and their best prospect, Fernando Martinez. I am very excited about the deal. The prospect of Santana and Pedro Martinez pitching back-to-back in 2008 is like a dream.

But someone has to present the negatives, and it might as well be me. The Mets traded three starting pitchers with a good chance of major league success and a high-upside outfielder for one year of one pitcher and the privilege of giving him the largest pitching contract ever. There is a lot of risk here. Santana could flame out over the last years of his contract; there’s already evidence that he’s not as good as he used to be, notably his escalating homerun rates. While he will almost surely make his money in the next two or three years, it’s likely that he won’t be worth $25-million-a-year at the end.

It’s a good risk to take. However, I am not sure the Mets needed to take the risk, no matter how much they convinced themselves they were up against the wall. My constant hope for the Mets, unlikely as it is, is that the organization will develop good young players and trust them with major league jobs, instead of always going to the mercenaries. That said, there’s no denying Omar Minaya did extremely well here, waiting until he had the leverage and only then pulling the trigger. The Mets have Johan Santana, and they are now the supreme power in the NL East.

Chris McCown: Hey, I thought I was going to be the only one to bring up negatives!

Obviously it’s a very fair price for the Mets; they made a great deal here. Omar showed a lot of restraint—something that he hasn’t had much of this offseason, considering the Castillo re-signing and the Milledge trade—in not giving up Fernando Martinez or a five-player package for Santana. Obviously it brings the Mets up to par with the other big contenders in the NL, even if Santana’s numbers continue to mildly decline and make him only a really good pitcher instead of a superstar.

However, it does continue a pattern of trading young players that I’m not sure is a terrific idea. The Mets have effectively gone back to the same kind of farm system they had after they traded for Roberto Alomar. They have Martinez, at least. It’s doubtful that any of the players they traded are going to be superstars, but as John said, if it continues to force the Mets to sign solid mercenaries at prices that continue to rise, it’s a net dollar loss for them to be trading away the majority of their prospects.

But, at the least, the Mets have two first-rounders and a sandwich-round pick from losing Tom Glavine. That should give them a solid start on a new farm system, especially if they start going over the slot recommendation for their picks. Overseas spending could also help remedy the situation. There’s always an inherent risk in trading for pitchers since they tend to be so injury-prone, but at this price, there’s really no way the Mets could pass up this deal.

Dan Scotto: First off, talentwise, I think the Mets get the big edge here.

John Sickels posted his Mets’ prospect ratings back in November, and there is a B+, two B’s, and a B-. Yes, that’s all it took to get the best pitcher in baseball.

Well, that and a ton of money. I think that this deal can’t be evaluated fully until we know how many years the Mets will have to commit to Santana. Shorter deals are far less risky; if you give him eight years and he blows out his elbow in year two, you might have a six-year albatross (which is far worse than a four-year albatross). It’s not the most likely outcome, but it’s all part of the calculation.

Assuming the dollar value isn’t at A-Rod level, I would be thrilled with five years, pretty happy with six, disappointed with seven, and horrified by eight. But make no mistake, this is an excellent trade for the Mets so far. He’s still under 30, and he will be helped by the weaker league. Can’t wait for Opening Day, myself.

Sky Kalkman: I’m more likely than anybody to be skeptical of the financial impact of this trade. Losing a handful of cost-controlled players for the right to sign a pitcher to a huge free agent contract doesn’t make this team better in the long run. However, the team is better in 2008, and I’m now excited to follow this team on a daily basis. And I’m not even a Mets fan.

I’ll give even money for Santana bringing the Cy Young award back to New York for the first time since Dwight Gooden in 1985. Why? As a Twin, Santana’s averaged a 2.90 ERA over the past four years. Moving to a non-DH league knocks half a run off that. The difference in talent between the AL and NL knocks off another quarter run. Add in Shea Stadium’s penchant for keeping homeruns in check and the excellent Met defense and you’ve got the potential for a historic season. The only thing keeping Santana from going down as an all-time great pitcher is longevity. You can’t help but be excited about watching him make history as a Met.

Steve Hubbell: Santana or Youth Movement? A or B? In a dozen different forums over the past three months, the Geek community was asked to choose one or the other. No hedging allowed. Flip-floppers will be prosecuted. When I peevishly suggested two weeks ago that Santana’s arrival might actually usher in a renaissance of homegrown talent, my distinguished opponent—that’s you, John—responded with ill-concealed mirth and derision.

But how about it, folks? Now that the quarry we sought is apparently ours, what’s to stop the Mets from announcing to the world that the “core” of the team for the next half-decade is in place? Future holes in the batting order, rotation and bullpen will henceforth be filled from within, wherever possible, and by Type-Z free agents of the Easley-Anderson-Valentin stripe when not. No more extravagant free agent acquisitions that cost us dearly in draft picks. No more respectful observance of the “slotting” system. No more embarrassing courtships of Barry Zito-impersonators. Just a little tinkering around the edges to keep the whole glorious juggernaut moving forward.

Also, I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m really curious to learn some of the background details from the Johan-a-thon that will presumably come to light in the next few days.

For one thing, it seems that Santana may have always preferred the Mets. Torii Hunter even said so. But why would Johan favor blue-and-orange above other color schemes? Well, we know he wanted to go to an NL team, play in a pitchers’ park, and get paid a lot of money. But there are plenty of NL teams with deep pockets and distant fences. Why our ballclub in particular?

I submit, with no supporting evidence whatsoever, that the New York Mets have covertly transformed themselves into a well-run and respected organization. That’s right—while most of us were shrieking about epic collapses and imminent front-office housecleanings, certain professional baseball players were concluding that Queens was a pretty good place to ply their trade. This preference—if it actually exists—may have something to do with a (generally) competent and likeable General Manager and a profoundly decent, dignified, and knowledgeable field manager (who only occasionally tests our sanity).

Alex Nelson: And speaking of Omar Minaya, has anyone gone from pariah to savior faster? In the horrific aftermath of the Lastings Milledge trade, Omar was one of the big losers of the offseason; his inability to pull off anything significant was emblematic of the stagnation the team endured last September. With one little flourish of his magic wand—not to mention a lot of patience and persistence—everything’s rosy again, our faith in Mets management largely restored.

The one day I can’t seem to get out of my head is May 22, 1998. On that day, Mike Piazza was traded to Queens for a trio of prospects: outfielder Preston Wilson, starting pitcher Ed Yarnall, and 1997 first-round pick Geoff Goetz. The Mets have made other big trades since (Chris mentioned Alomar, at the time a similar talent to Santana), but the feeling this trade evokes is most reminiscent of that day. I sort of saw the trade coming, but when it happened, I still was overcome by incredulity. And the feeling didn’t go away; I grinned like an idiot for a week.

And right now, I’m still grinning. In 1997, the Mets enjoyed their first winning season since 1990, but that trade in May of 1998 served as a promise to the fans that the darkness of 1991-1996 wouldn’t be coming back—no flukes here. Alomar didn’t do that; that was almost expected, worthy of a fist pump, but no grin. The Johan trade, partly because Omar played it very smart, has energized the fanbase and regained much of the good will Minaya had built up prior to 2007.

And, in the wake of the Collapse, that’s pretty magical.

32 Responses to “Roundtable: Santana Reactions”

  1. Comment posted by coolpapabell on January 30, 2008 at 2:10 am (#599609)


  2. Comment posted by littlefallsmets on January 30, 2008 at 2:19 am (#599610)

    Upon reflection, getting Santana in a mostly-fair deal is a major coup.

    Three steps forward to be sure.

    Before we start throwing confetti down the canyons, however, we have to remember that the Mets’ offense from RF and C regressed in the off-season via bad moves and at 2B 1B and LF by the simple fact that older injury-riddled players don’t get better with the passing of a year… they get worse.

    Two steps backward at least.

    This move in combination with the other moves leaves the Mets with their best positional prospect, F-Mart, two years away at the earliest and with only one long-term-viable starting outfielder at the major league level.

    You can’t look at the tremendous import of the Santana move outside of the context of the fact that… before that, this off-season was… if not exactly disasterous… certainly disappointing and regressive on most levels.

    We will see how much positive gain remains after factoring these things back in, I suppose, and see if only having one legit outfield prospect in the chute proves to be a worthwhile risk.

    Gotta hope for the best.

  3. Comment posted by Eli on January 30, 2008 at 2:24 am (#599611)

    Despite my aversion to trading the four prospects for Santana, I suppose that if I were Omar, I would probably have also pulled the trigger, particularly if it is true that Humber’s curve flattened. The trade would have been a lot more palatable to me if Milledge was still slotted for right field and Anderson Hernandez was given second to lose (he will surprise us if anyone ever gives him a chance) rather than Castillo who might be more likely to be on a hip replacement operating table rather than ranging around second base. I do hope that the Mets will act as Steve Hubbel suggested – that is to stop going to the mercenaries, but I do think that Omar is caught in a viscious cycle – he has so few prospects that he will continue to go outside the organization to fill holes.

    Assuming Santana stays healthy, we’ll be better in 08 than we would have been with the four kids, but lets evaluate this trade in four years.

  4. Comment posted by Bangkok Mets Fan on January 30, 2008 at 5:29 am (#599613)

    It’s nice to say we’ll evaluate this trade in 4 years, but to be fair you don’t have that luxury as a GM. You have to know there is uncertainty, but you have to make the trade (or not) today. There are lots of possible downsides, none bigger than he could blow out his elbow in Spring training and we’d have a huge financial albatross for a long time. However, there is just no way that you don’t do this trade. As Mets’ fans history has taught us to keep our glasses forever half full, but this is as close to a no brainer as there ever was. I will miss watching Guerra develop (if he does) and I think Humber was worth more than most, but I think (hope) a year from now the name Dylan Owen will make us forget about all of these guys. I have the same happy sense of Deja vu as Alex, but probably being a bit older, it feels more to me like the day we got Gary Carter. A happy day

  5. Comment posted by Bangkok Mets Fan on January 30, 2008 at 5:33 am (#599614)

    Oops, sorry of course I meant half empty.

  6. Comment posted by Ed in Westchester 2.0 on January 30, 2008 at 6:42 am (#599615)

    A-Hern Eli?


    The guy can’t hit his weight.

  7. Comment posted by Metswin2008 on January 30, 2008 at 8:22 am (#599622)

    AHearn?….. AHearn? Were talking AHearn?

    Didnt he bat his weight one year? Oh no, thats right it was closer to his age. My Bad!!!

    Mr. .055

  8. Comment posted by john on January 30, 2008 at 8:36 am (#599627)

    Anderson Hernandez was given second to lose (he will surprise us if anyone ever gives him a chance)

    Im curious in what exactly you saw from A Hern that would make you believe this

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  10. Comment posted by MetsFanSince71 on January 30, 2008 at 8:38 am (#599629)

    best positional prospect, F-Mart, two years away at the earliest

    Maybe not. Many think we’ll see FMart as early as this year.

    I see virtually NO downside to this trade.

  11. Comment posted by Danny on January 30, 2008 at 8:53 am (#599653)

    There is always downside. There is certainly risk inherent in this deal. It can’t be denied. The most fragile of all athletes is the major league pitcher. You just never know. And the Mets will be giving him the largest contract ever given to a pitcher.

    BUT, it was a move that Omar had to make when the market came back to him. It was a chance worth taking. The move singlehandedly propels the Mets into arguably the best team in all of baseball. I defy someone to tell me who is appreciably better. Johan is a special player, an absolute difference maker.

    Steve – I have a hard time seeing the Mets filling a bunch of positions from within with Willie Randolph as the manager, but we’ll see (if Willie stays as manager, or if he softens on his veterans “know how to play the game” stance).

  12. Comment posted by David Goldman on January 30, 2008 at 9:21 am (#599697)

    Obviously this is a trade that had to be made for the prospects we gave up. The Mets should fairly easily be able to replace the pitchers they gave up with similarly talented or more talented ones through the draft, particularly if in light of the new revenue stream on the horizon with the new ballpark the team is willing to go into a more Yankees mode of going over slot for players that fall to them in the draft because of signability issues. Santana will effectively be taking the spot of a replacement level player and thus will be worth 5 or more games in the standings next year by himself. If the team can get a little improvement from Reyes, a slight bounceback from Delgado, a healthy season out of Pedro and just hold the line everywhere else, we could really have something special on our hands here.

  13. Comment posted by sjp on January 30, 2008 at 9:28 am (#599713)

    This is a coup! This is a steal. santana for really nothing!. Core remains in tact. And the odds of him getting injured are smaller than the odds of those prospects make half the impact on baseball the way this killer does. Holy Nuts

  14. Comment posted by paumanok on January 30, 2008 at 11:13 am (#599975)

    I understand all the reservations. Risk is built-in whenever you give one player, especially a pitcher, a lot of money to acquire services he may eventually be unable to render to the fullest expectation, of course not even mentioning giving up some solid talent to get the right to take said risk.

    But the reason this works is because the Mets want, and arguably need, to win right NOW. The timing could not be better. You need to erase the memory of 2007 and look forward to 2008. You need to reenergize your fanbase in preparation for the new stadium and the relatively new network channel. You need to send out Shea with a bang. And most of all, perhaps, you need to seize the moment.

    A buddy of mine who works in the industry (who would have given up F. Martinez if he had to) said to me, there are plenty of average to above average outfielders available, and pitching prospects, but an elite lefty in his prime is rare indeed. And he’s right – though I did not think so at first – especially considering that the reason this is the best time for a move like this, before all those listed above, is the Mets have the pieces in place NOW. Wagner, Pedro, Duque, Alou, Delgado, and to some extent, Castillo, will not be around in five years when you finally see the fruits of patiently conditioning those prospects traded to Minnesota.

    The Red Sox did not win this year with only young guys; it was a mix of old and young, established stars, players in their prime, and players on the cusp of being in their prime. With Santana, the Mets have a similar balance.

    To me, this is not a desperate move by a GM wanting to usher in a new era and save his own arse in the process. To me, it is the final piece of the puzzle that will allow Shea to host one last World Series, and give those older players the Mets have a final shot at the Classic, namely Delgado, Wagner and Alou. It is strikingly odd to me these players have not factored much in the debate over Johan’s acquisition. With a few exceptions, it is hard to think of a trio on one team that deserves to go to a World Series more than this one.

    This trade should be applauded by all Mets fans. As for filling the upper levels of prospects and replacing those aging players I mentioned, we’ll worry about that after the beautiful ride 2008 promises to be, a task perhaps made easier with a new trophy to accessorize our new stadium.

  15. Comment posted by JamesSC on January 30, 2008 at 11:41 am (#600024)

    LFM, I love that you can still see the negative side of this fantastic day.

    I will take the “downside” of our offense with a pitching rotation of Santana-Martinez-Maine-Perez-Pelfrey/Duque with our pen getting the added bonus of Pelfrey in the pen, and Dirty coming back hopefully healthy. Wagner-Heilman-Felicino-Wise-Pelfrey I think is a good pen, throw in a healthy Dirty and you have the chance at a dominate pen that is now being rested by a much stronger rotation.

    I still disagree that our offense will take a collective step back, you have underrated Church from day 1, and I think we will get progression from key players and our offense will be about the same maybe a little better than last year. But right now, this team has the chance to steamroll through the regular season, and hey, won’t it be fun having a NLCS with Santana/Martinez vs Webb/Haren?

    The Mets have made other big trades since (Chris mentioned Alomar, at the time a similar talent to Santana), but the feeling this trade evokes is most reminiscent of that day. I sort of saw the trade coming, but when it happened, I still was overcome by incredulity. And the feeling didn’t go away; I grinned like an idiot for a week.

    And right now, I’m still grinning.

    I couldn’t agree more, I have been resisting the urge to jump up and down and fist pump randomly all morning :) I literally jumped out of my seat and screamed when I first heard the blurb on ESPN that we traded for Santana.

  16. Comment posted by JamesSC on January 30, 2008 at 11:52 am (#600037)

    As for the “lets start a youth movement now” move, I think there is a good chance we will be looking for a big price 1b next year (Texiera), but outside of that I think the comment is sound.

    We will probably spend a good chunk of money keeping Maine and Perez the next few years, and I think we will be signing Pedro to a 2 or 3 year deal at the end of this year, but Santana-Maine-Perez is a trio at the top of our rotation that can lead us for the next 5 years. On offense we will be seeing Reyes-Wright-Beltran for the next 5 years as well (and maybe a Texiera for the last 4 of those :)). I think our 3 1st rounders next year (2 real 1 sandwich) will help replace the names we lost today.

    I will miss seeing Gomez and Reyes at the top of our offense, but Gomez was a luxury item for us because of Reyes. He had more value in a trade then he did to us because we already had his game changing abilities in Reyes.

  17. Comment posted by littlefallsmets on January 30, 2008 at 11:52 am (#600038)

    I don’t know where anyone would think that Andy Hernandy is anything more than a left-side defensive super-sub but… substitute “Gotay” in there as the one with second base to lose and I’m with you.

    F-Mart couldn’t stay healthy in double-A this year.

    I think if we see him NEXT year before September call-ups, you’re rushing him along… and then he doesn’t perform immediately and he’s traded to the Washington Expos for a bag of magic beans and Cliff Floyd, somehow, and is an All-Star there in ’11.

    As for the old guys on the team, if anyone signs Alou El Duque or Delgado for next season, they’re crazy and… I can’t see Castillo still able to play ball through the end of his Mets contract but…

    If Pedro is mostly healthy this season, I can see him hanging around a while, though, and Wags too. Used properly, I think those guys still have a good amount in the tank.

    Delgado, Wagner and Alou may all “deserve” to go to a World Series but they’re not being talked about much because… Delgado’s on fumes, Alou’s one more moderate injury away from retirement and the overtaxing of the Mets pen made Wagner look bad during The Great Collapse.

    It is fun to talk about “names” but if the names have aged-out or injured-out of the majority of their talent, names mean nothing, the only thing that matters is results.

  18. Comment posted by littlefallsmets on January 30, 2008 at 12:07 pm (#600055)

    Put a lefty up against this line-up and your right-fielder and your catcher hit about as well as your pitcher… and even against a rightie, the catcher’s maybe a .250 hitter.

    When injury takes Alou completely out of the line-up and severely limits Castillo’s and Delgado’s offensive production, in combination with those hitters’ limitations.

    Well, lets just say that the starting pitchers are gonna have a lot of work to do on those days.

    Mets might have the pitching now, to make up for that regression…

    I’m just saying, we gotta temper the massive jump forward the starting rotation has made and the smaller steps forward that have been made in defense, in bullpen and bench strength with the fact that the offense will have regressed.

    Before the injuries pile up and against a rightie, yeah, the offense will look about as potent as last year but under sub-ideal conditions, it will be worse than it was last year.

    Do not misunderstand, there is still a very good chance that getting Santana still produces a net improvement to the club.

    But Santana’s improvement to the Mets does not exist in a vacuum. Nearly all of the other deals this off-season ended up taking away from the team, not adding.

  19. Comment posted by JamesSC on January 30, 2008 at 12:44 pm (#600132)

    Do not misunderstand, there is still a very good chance that getting Santana still produces a net improvement to the club.

    But Santana’s improvement to the Mets does not exist in a vacuum. Nearly all of the other deals this off-season ended up taking away from the team, not adding.

    Ok, lets really look at this:

    OF: Beltran-Alou-Church-Endy vs Beltran-Alou-Gomez/Milledge/Endy/that guy from row 3 seat A who looks kinda big.

    Off of last years production, we are looking at a net GAIN here. Church is a reliable if unspectacular bat who we can entrust to actually be on the field. Beltran is Beltran and Alou is likely to generate something similar to last year but probably not as much. To me this is about the same or better. This could have been a bigger improvement with Milledge and Gomez around, but vs last year I think we get more from our OF not less.

    IF: I think we are better off here for next year as well. Wright should continue to improve (especially defensively), Reyes should as well, Castillo for the full year is a plus over what we got last year and Delgado I think will be better than last year. Castillo is a risk down the road, but for 08. This is an improvement.

    C: Here we are going to take a hit offensively, but we do get a nice gain defensively as people simply don’t run on Schneider and when they do they get thrown out pretty frequently. He is nothing at the plate, but Castro can be used librally here especially when one of our other bats or resting or as a late game bat off the bench when we need a hit at the bottom of the order. Lo Duca did not give us that much here, so I don’t see us as exactly losing that much. I do agree there were better options available, but this is not a huge loss.

    So offensively, for NEXT YEAR, this team ranges for me from a little worse to a good bit better depending on injuries, and progression from Reyes/Wright and having Castillo for a full year and Church vs disarray in 07.

    Pen: Our pen is looking much better for the year, we get the loser of the 5th spot in Duque/Pelfrey who could both give us solid innings. Sosa as a full year in the pen could be a nice plus, and Dirty coming back could be very nice. We added Wise who is a good middle innings guy and we still have Hielman/Wagner at the end of the game with a lot more rest.

    Rotation: Our rotation is a huge step forward from last year. Glavine is replaced by Santana which gives us another 40 innings out of the rotation and barely comparable value in the rotation. We get a full year out of Martinez (even if that is only 25-30 games), Maine and Perez should improve as a set (especially facing teams 3/4th starters all year), and the fifth slot suddenly becomes solidified by Duque/Pelfrey with Sosa and maybe a player like Garcia waiting in the wings.

    I just can’t follow the glass half full analysis in comparison to last year. Do I agree with Omar’s moves this year? No. Castillo is too long of a contract and Gotay might have been able to give more, giving up on Lastings was a mistake and we should have just paid for Yorvit or kept Estrada as our catcher. But comparing this year to last year? I just don’t follow the arguemnt. Now, anything can happen on the field, Church and Santana might think it is fun to take a Taxi from the hotel together on opening day, but we are better today then we were last year, and honestly it doesn’t seem debatable.

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  21. Comment posted by clmetsfan on January 30, 2008 at 12:57 pm (#600159)

    Given how little I was excited about the Mets farm system anyway, I can’t call this anything but an enormous win.

    I see Gomez’s ceiling at something like a Darin Erstad with better wheels, but most likely I think he’ll be more like a Tony Womack at the plate.

    I’m just glad we got something for Humber, who’ll be lucky if he has Paul Wilson’s career. I think Mulvey has the best shot to be a consistent starter, but nothing more than a 3 or 4. And while losing Guerra hurts a bit, he’s only 18 and who knows what kind of path he’ll have.

  22. Comment posted by paumanok on January 30, 2008 at 1:12 pm (#600181)

    2 things:

    Delgado, Wagner and Alou may all “deserve” to go to a World Series but they’re not being talked about much because… Delgado’s on fumes, Alou’s one more moderate injury away from retirement and the overtaxing of the Mets pen made Wagner look bad during The Great Collapse.

    It is fun to talk about “names” but if the names have aged-out or injured-out of the majority of their talent, names mean nothing, the only thing that matters is results.

    First, your characterization of the three is unfair. Delgado had a bad year like Beltran’s first in New York, and while his age is nothing to smile about, given his consistent production over his career the assertion he is running on fumes is premature. Alou, lest we forget, had a 30-something game hitting streak at the end of the year that was eclipsed by all the bad news. Yes, he is injury-prone but he is the best run-producer on the team when healthy. As for Wagner, he had a 2.63 ERA and 35 saves for a team that won 88 games. Looking bad because of the circumstances surrounding his performance last year have nothing to do with his numbers throughout with his career and what he can do next year. All in all, these names are important because they are built on past performance, which is the best indicator of future performance. But that’s an argument for why to remain optimistic, not why they deserve to be anywhere. The way that plays out is I think all 3 will want it bad this year and given their past successes, that is something to look forward to.

    Put a lefty up against this line-up and your right-fielder and your catcher hit about as well as your pitcher… and even against a rightie, the catcher’s maybe a .250 hitter.

    Second, I understand your concern about Church’s productivity against lefties…he batted .229 against them last year. But don’t forget that Willie is apt to play Castro against lefties instead of Schneider, so the ineffectiveness of the bottom third of the lineup is mitigated by that fact since Castro hit .276 against lefties last year, a very nice average for a number 8 hitter. Also, do not forget D Wright and Alou, who eat up and exhaust lefties, and your 3 switch-hitters in Reyes, Castillo, and Beltran, who are not easy outs. Taken together, this lineup’s no picnic for a lefty.

  23. Comment posted by davidg on January 30, 2008 at 1:13 pm (#600183)

    Omar deserves a great deal of credit for getting the deal done without including F-Mart. While we’ve lost some talent, we will be able to restock the farm with 3 first rounders and aggressive foreign player signings. In all, getting 6 new high level prospects (assuming two-thirds actually make the majors) will only cost $5-10mm. So adding that total to the Santana contract only increases the “deal value” by $1-2mm per year – and that’s not a big price to pay. We do lose a couple of years of development time in our system, but that can managed by an effective GM.

    We certainly increased our profile and post season expectations with this move, but if I were Omar, there are one or two more deals I’d go after:

    1. Sign Kevin Mench – With Endy coming off an injury and Gomez now gone, it would be great to have another true OF (Easley/Anderson don’t count). Mench’s huge split differential (hitting against lefties) would make him a great platoon in RF with Church and provide a good replacement if (or when) Alou goes down.

    2. Keep an eye on Joe Nathan – The only thing better than getting Santana would have been getting Santana and Nathan. He is supposedly on the block and would be worth another scoop of our minor league talent to get. With him in the pen, we would upgrade what remains the last question mark going into the season.

    Other than that, the team is largely in place. We can deal with the lack of output from Delgado and the potential injuries to Alou and Castillo at the All-Star break if we have to.

    Get Santana signed – and start the season. Let’s Go Mets!

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  25. Comment posted by JK47 on January 30, 2008 at 1:28 pm (#600200)

    RF was a black hole last year. Here’s what our collection of right fielders did for us last year– mind you these are the numbers compiled by these players when playing RF:

    Shawn Green (437 PA)
    sOPS+: 90

    Lastings Milledge (103 PA)
    sOPS+: 88

    Carlos Gomez (55 PA)
    sOPS+: 23

    Endy Chavez
    .324/.359/.324 (37 PA)
    sOPS+: 74

    Every guy we sent out there hit worse than a typical right fielder. It was Shawn Green and a bunch of other guys who didn’t crack a .700 OPS.

    Ryan Church: 118, 131, 114
    Shawn Green: 114, 95, 104

    Green will be entering his age 35 season; Church will be entering his age 29 season. Church is also better with the glove. Forget about the fact that our starting RF isn’t named “Milledge” and it’s pretty obvious that RF has been upgraded from 2007.

    Also, I love the idea of bringing in noted lefty-masher Kevin Mench.

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  27. Comment posted by JK47 on January 30, 2008 at 1:31 pm (#600204)

    Ryan Church: 118, 131, 114
    Shawn Green: 114, 95, 104

    Oops, forgot to label that– it’s Church and Green’s OPS+ over the last three seasons.

  28. Gravatar
  29. Comment posted by John Peterson on January 30, 2008 at 2:43 pm (#600346)

    From John Sickels, revised Twins prospects:

    1. Deolis Guerra, RHP, Grade B+
    2. Tyler Robertson, LHP, Grade B+
    3. Kevin Mulvey, RHP, Grade B
    4. Anthony Swarzak, RHP, Grade B
    5. Ben Revere, OF, Grade B
    6. Carlos Gomez, OF, Grade B
    7. Glen Perkins, LHP, Grade B-
    8. Phil Humber, RHP, Grade B-
    9. Jeff Manship, RHP, Grade B-
    10. Trevor Plouffe, SS, Grade B-

  30. Comment posted by Tom Ace in the QC on January 30, 2008 at 2:54 pm (#600371)

    I haven’t been back on the geek since the year ended but boy am I stoked, amped, hype, whatever you want to call it. Santana, simply put, is the best pitcher in baseball and has been without question for the last 3 years. I didn’t expect Gomez to have an impact this year and certainly Church is a better option in the OF. Like someone else said, the odds of a couple of the Gomez / Humber / Guerra / Mulvey bunch becoming year to year all stars is not that high. Could happen with Gomez and Guerra but it’s no lock and thats what it would take to make this deal an even trade with Santana. Our rotation is now the best in the NL with no doubt in my opinion, our bullpen will be better and our offense should be roughly the same or even better if Delgado can keep up his production from August and September of last year for a full season. I dont get any of the worry about Reyes, I would still rather have Reyes than 80% of the SSs in baseball for next year and he is only going to get better. With Santana now and the other things I listed, and barring any major year ending injuries to Wright / Reyes / Beltran / Santana / Pedro then I think we are by far the favorites to win the National League and lining up our rotation gives us a damn good chance against any of NYY, BOS, CLE, or LAA in the WS. Thats speaking a little bit too soon, as we have to get there first, but like I said, we are by far the favorites and barring huge mitigating circumstances Willie should be fired if he doesnt get us there (just saying, I think Willie will do a mediocre job which should be good enough).

  31. Comment posted by Jordan Fensterman on January 30, 2008 at 2:56 pm (#600378)

    I had been lobbying for this trade for a long time. I can’t believe we were able to hang on to F-Mart also. Prospects are for trading. I understand why people would say that paying a player what they are actually “worth” lessens their value over players who are under club’s control at lower rates…but Johan is Johan…there is no other, this is what the Mets needed to compete. I have stated many times that a team should always trade prospects for proven star talent. We can always spend extra $$ and replenish our farm system through international markets where we can get players good enough to be in the first round of the baseball draft simply by paying for them. Even though A.J. Burnett is awesome and Al[ois] Leiter is announcing for the Yankees, that trade worked out pretty well for us didnt it? This one will too.

  32. Comment posted by MightyJoeOrsulak on January 30, 2008 at 7:02 pm (#600902)

    This deal would have been great if it were part of a coherent winning strategy. As it is, it would seem like a ton of money has to be spent in the short term in order for us not to waste the 4 or so all-star years left in Santana. Because by year-5 the Twins will start winning from the deal.

    By ’09 2 pitchers are up for free agency; we have no LF (Martinez will almost surely not be ready), no 1B, Castillo is still an albatross, replacement+ RF. Most important-we have nothing in our farm to replace what we have lost. Rather than have an outfield of Gomez, Milledge, and Beltran and a staff of Maine, Perez, Pelfrey, Mulvey, Humber (all but two of whom are cost-controlled) we have ?, Beltran, Church, and pitchers Santana! Maine, Pelfrey, ?, and ?. All of those ? will cost money, as will our ? at 1B, and unless Omar is shrewd, we will have lost a ton of organizational flexibility. Already we are in a transition yr.

    By ’10, Castillo is a sunk cost, and FMart is ready to begin. We will be looking at Milledge and Church and wanting to cry. Apart from that, what we do here depends on how we handle the previous 2 years. If we just get hung up in mediocre free agents and other stop-gaps, we will be in bad shape; but if the Mets move forward with vision, we could be very strong by now, and overcome the 2 bonehead moves of signing Castillo and trading Milledge.

    Ironically, this deal might put us in more of a long-term route than we would have been in its absence.

  33. Comment posted by Chris from CT on January 30, 2008 at 8:42 pm (#601038)

    Before we start throwing confetti down the canyons, however, we have to remember that the Mets’ offense from RF and C regressed in the off-season via bad moves and at 2B 1B and LF by the simple fact that older injury-riddled players don’t get better with the passing of a year… they get worse.

    yes catcher regressed since lo duca is 36 and just had surgery on his knee… for RF I’ll concede that but the clubhouse will be a better place w/out milldedge (know your place rook). I’m not sure how offense got worse at 2b since we resigned both valentine and castillo(so we ended up where we started) I’ll agree w/ the LF comment as Alou isn’t exactly getting younger or more durable.

    I agree w/ fansince71 a lot of scouts say that f-mart may be ready by July to contribute although I’m not so sure about that…..the term “hitting machine” has been thrown around in regards to him….

  34. Comment posted by Super T on January 30, 2008 at 8:42 pm (#601039)


    Your inherently “glass half empty” thinking is really perplexing. As a Mets fan who seems to prefer “younger players” how you can complain about a current Mets roster that has 4, count them….FOUR SUPERSTARS that are all under the age of 30 (Reyes, Wright, Beltran, and Santana) and two other SPs both under 30 years of age (Perez & Maine) that are also knocking on superstardom, is really mind blowing.

    I don’t know how old you’re, or how long you have been a Mets fan, but Omar is the first Mets GM in a very long time who finally gets it. We have been suffering through decade after decade of past Met GM’s grossly overpaying the likes of Bobby Bonilla, Mo Vaughn, Robbie Alomar, Vince Coleman, Tom Glavine, etc, etc that for the most part were all well over 30 years of age and all pretty much on the downsides of their careers.

    For someone who complains constantly about the likes of Alou, Castillo, El Duque, etc
    name one other current MLB team for me who has 6 better players on its roster who are all currently under 30 years of age (Santana, Wright, Reyes, Beltran, Maine, and Perez). There isn’t another team out there of younger players, except maybe the Marlins or Devil Rays, who aren’t nearly as good as the six I named on the Mets, and how do you think they will finish this season?

    The Mets future is the brightest it has been in several decades now.

  35. Comment posted by littlefallsmets on January 31, 2008 at 1:27 am (#601192)

    The problem with getting Mench is… I like it mildly, in theory? He’s a respectable-if-not-great bat, certainly a better choice than Church.

    But it’s a 25-Man Roster. Where do you fit him?

    Five bench positions. Castro has to be there as the only back-up catcher, Easley as the only back-up firstbase, Gotay has to be there to back-up the left-side of the infield because even though Easley can play second and might hack it at third in a pinch dude ain’t a shortstop.

    Two more slots. Anderson’s a given. Endy’s a given when healthy.

    Do you not carry a back-up first baseman? Do you not carry a back-up shortstop? Do you carry a short pen just to have Mench?

    Unless you get a magically larger roster, it’s kinda a no-go.

  36. Comment posted by realthought on January 31, 2008 at 8:20 am (#601195)

    There are to many arm-chair GM”S out here with no practical professional sports experience. What it takes to to win is a team! Too many of you look across the Whitestone and think the goal is to fill the roster with all-stars at every position like that other bunch of NY misfits.

    I think that Church and Snyder are role players. People complained about Nady but he was an excellent fit in the line-up (Not an all-star but role player). Our defense is much improved with these two and the addition of a healthy Castillo. We have the Big guns already. (Wright, Beltran, and Reyes). Our pitching staff with the addition of Santana gives us parity with the best teams in the league. A bona-fide ace (Santana), a two that can win games (Pedro). A three and four that are on the rise (Maine & Perez), and a mixture in the five hole that is better than any team (El Duque, Pelfrey, Sosa)

    We are a better team today than yesterday and we have a chance to win! What more do you want. A guaranteed ticket to the World Series. No my friends that will not happen! It is all about the ride. It is not the best team that wins, but the team that comes together and gels. Buckle up people, it is almost time to ride for another season!

    I applaud Omar for making every season competitive. I wonder how they feel in Kansas or Washington right now? Not like us, excited or enthusiastic about the prospects of their teams season!

    I am excited I hope all the REAL MET FANS ARE TOO!

    LET”S GO METS!!!!!!

  37. Comment posted by Chris from CT on February 1, 2008 at 6:43 pm (#603525)