Damaged Goods/Viva Johan!!!
"The Twins are going to know him better than anybody," an evaluator in the AL said Tuesday night. "It's not that they think he's hurt, but maybe they're seeing signs (of decline) in him, and figure it's better to make the move now."
A clear option would've been for the Twins to hang onto Santana and try to win in '08. "But there was a reason why they made the decision to move him now," said the evaluator. "They're smart people over there. It makes you think … "
Santana injured? That deserves one of these. Regardless, let us take a look at Santana and his incredibly soon-to-be exploding arm.
There are various tools we can use to try and predict a pitcher's future performance.
1) DiPS is pretty good and may it correlate more with next year's ERA than the true ERA.
2) GB/FB ratio is also useful.
3) K/9, K/BB ratio, and HR/9 rate are pretty widely accepted as well.
First, his DiPS ERA was 3.65 in 2007. That compares favorably with many other top pitchers and is not far off his regular ERA. Also, we know he had a bad year so it was understandable that his DiPS ERA was up from 3.05 the previous year. Of course this is still a negative trend, but nothing out of the ordinary in my eyes and no other peripheral stat jumped out in correlation with the jump in ERA. Besides, it was still pretty damn good and if he had a DiPS ERA of 4.50, I might have one tiny bead of sweat as it would have suggested he performed far worse than his numbers would have seemed to indicated.
Second, his GB/FB ratio over the last six seasons was .70, .58, .93, .91, 1.06, and .92. Basically, he has been right were he has been since 2004. Yes, more balls went over the fence, but this basically tells me not much changed in 2007 it was more freakish than anything.
Lastly, his K/9 was 11.38, 9.61, 10.46, 9.25, 9.44, and 9.66 since 2002. His K/BB was 2.80, 3.60, 4.91, 5.29, 5.21, and 4.52 since 2002. His HR/9 has been .58, .97, .95, .85. .92, and 1.35 since 2002.
The only thing that jumps out at us is the HR/9 in 2007, but we knew it would be high. His career average is .99 and he eclipsed that by 36%. However, his K/9 and his and K/BB were above his career average.
Now we'll just take a quick peak at 2007 a bit closer. In the first half he had a 7.07 H/9, 9.30 K/9, 2.23 K/BB, 1.26 HR/9, and a 0.215 BAA. In the second half he had a 8.07 H/9 (Beckett had a 8.48 H/9 all year and Sabathia had a 8.89 H/9 all year), 10.10 K/9, 2.02 K/BB, 1.47 HR/9, and a .236 BAA.
In September when he had that last string of horrific starts, he had a 7.84 H/9, 10.16 K/9, 3.19 K/BB, 1.16 HR/9, and a .229 BAA. So while he did tail off at the end, his peripheral numbers should give everyone some confidence that his 'stuff' was still good.
If there is anything out of all of the above to suggest decline or worrisome problem over homer happy anomaly, I am all ears. The guy was still ridiculously valuable last year and his peripherals really were rather consistent throughout the year and his 2007 was pretty much in line with 2004, 2005, and 2006, which did net him two Cy Young Awards. If you could show me a huge jump in GB/FB ratio in tandem with the high homer rate, I would say you had something resembling an argument. However, it just seems ten extra balls found their way over the wall, but luckily, I think Johan is good enough to adjust. Also, It never hurts to get some good old fashioned scouting in conjunction with numbers.
“He threw the ball over the plate and didn’t make pitches,” the evaluator said. “They were out of the race; maybe he was just trying to throw it over. He didn’t walk many guys and he got beat with some early-count fastballs. If they’d been in the race at all, maybe he’d have been a little more selective. But he was healthy. He was still throwing hard, still pitching deep into games.”
Instead of some crazy injury theories, let me for a second cook up some crazy scheme. Some players do not like getting traded mid-year. Carlos Delgado is a prime example and conveniently plays on the New York Metropolitans. Before he left for free agency, the Blue Jays wanted to trade him to a contender. You know what? He declined and exercised his no trade clause.
The Twins were in the know alright. They knew that Johan said trade me now or watch me walk for two draft picks and you can forget about signing me no matter how much you throw at me. The Twins leverage here was at an all time low with only one serious team involved and Johan's desire to leave ASAP. Have we all forgotten this?
These were Johan Santana's words Tuesday after the non-waiver trade deadline passed without another trade: "I'm not surprised. That's exactly how they are. That's why we're never going to go beyond where we've gone."
The Twins acquired two minor league prospects for Castillo, saved $2 million in payroll and did nothing to bolster this year's chances.
"It's not just about hope," Santana said. "In a realistic world, you have to really make it happen and go for it.
"You always talk about future, future. ... But if you only worry about the future, then I guess a lot of us won't be part of it," Santana said.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner wasn't smiling.
"Why waste time when you're talking about something that's always going to be like that? It's never going to be beyond this point. It doesn't make any sense for me to be here, you know?"
Torii Hunter will be a free agent at season's end. Santana and Joe Nathan will be free agents after 2008. Asked what message Ryan's latest decisions had sent to that trio, Santana continued firing.
"I've been here for eight years, and I've seen a lot of those kind of things," he said. "I've seen a lot of those guys [like Castillo] come in and leave. [The decision makers] don't care. They always talk about caring about it; I don't think they care.
"Because if you're always talking about having young players that's the philosophy the team has, and I respect all that but it's been proven that it's not enough to go all the way to the World Series."
Explosive. My response to those who think the Twins knew about some injury or that Johan is in decline? Wrong. This is simply a guy who seemingly wanted to be on the Mets and in the National League and the everything worked out in his favor.
In the abstract, it's hard to accept dealing your marquee player and top trading asset without getting your partner's top young player in return, and that's what the Twins did. They did get back significant economic value in four young players, each of whom has under one year of big-league service and two of whom aren't even on the Mets' 40-man roster yet, so the Twins will have each of them under control for six full years of service. That return in exchange for just one year of Santana's services is reasonable. But premium players should fetch premium prices, because there's value to a club in having so much production coming from a single roster spot. And in this case, Minnesota GM Bill Smith did not get a premium prospect in return.
Of course you would like to get premium players back who are ready to be stars now like Hughes or Jones, but maybe they should have dealt him before the 2007 season. They did not and were in this position. This is a topsy turvy time we live in where youth is gaining value. Of course we can argue whether or not youth is gaining too much value, but they are indeed gaining value.
If people give up youth, they want youth and value back. Not one year and immense risk. If the Twins wanted the Mets to give up Fernando too, then the Mets would have needed another few years under market value to mitigate their risk.
As if that piece was not enough, he drops this one on us.
To put the point differently, we can compare what the Mets would look like with and without Santana, using Dan Szymborski's excellent ZiPS projections, which are available at baseballthinkfactory.org. According to Szymborski's numbers, Pedro Martinez, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Hernandez, and Pelfrey project to pitch 796 innings this year, with a 4.10 earned run average. Swap Pelfrey out for Santana, and the rotation looks good for a 3.69 ERA in 880 innings.
It is nice to have someone NOT try and pee on our picnic.
The glow won't fade for weeks.
- In 2007, he struck out 62 lefties while allowing 39 hits. In fact, he struck out more righties than he allowed hits as well in his off year.
- The majority of big leaguers are righties. Over the last three years, Santana has held righties to a .213/.251/.358 line. Don't worry, I soiled my underwear as well.
- Johan Santana is not Barry Zito.
- Johan was selected by the Florida Marlins from Houston in the 1999 Rule 5 draft and then traded to the Minnesota Twins for minor leaguer Jared Camp. Camp never threw a pitch in the big leagues....Ooooops.
Strawdoc Jan 30, 2008 8:20:07 PM Report Offensive Post
It is so funny -- the Daily News runs this whimsical story, complete with provocative headline, to stir up yanks fans. And sure enough, the usual nitwits like libertytwerp are pounding their keyboards in indignant frustration (compounded, in libertytoy's case, by his apparently unsuccessful effort earlier today to find a 13-year-old girl). What upsets them is that with this deal, the Mets are clearly the best in the city (remember, we can't look at the yanks' PEDs-tainted stats. to assess their roster). Not to mention best in the National League.
Pelfrey never a factor: It turns out there was no chance that Mike Pelfrey would be included in the package for Santana. The Twins were interested in Pelfrey as a pitcher, but not as an expense. The agreement that Pelfrey's agent, Scott Boras, negotiated with the Mets when they selected Pelfrey in the first round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft established the pitcher's salaries for four seasons.
Pelfrey is to earn at least $1 million this year, whether he's in the big leagues or not. And the Twins, always cost-conscious, don't want to pay anyone that kind of salary for Minor League work.
I cannot say I am unhappy about that at all.
New York Mets
1. Fernando Martinez, cf
2. Brant Rustich, rhp
3. Nathan Vineyard, lhp
4. Jon Niese, lhp
5. Mike Carp, 1b
As for the Twins, they do not look so bad.
1. Carlos Gomez, cf
2. Deolis Guerra, rhp
3. Tyler Robertson, lhp
4. Wilson Ramos, c
5. Philip Humber, rhp
Of course I think Mulvey is better than Humber, but it seems they did well if they added their #1 and #2 prospects in the deal. Sickels on the other hand is not as high on Gomez.
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-
Jim Callis is also very low on Carlos Gomez citing that Carlos Beltran is his ceiling, but he does not see that happening. The fact is, Gomez is just one of those guys who you love or hate. He has all the talent in the world, but obviously the odds are stacked against him.
However, he did make strides in the minors increasing his walk rate and slugging over the years. In '07, he for the most part lost a year of development time. Instead of playing everyday at AAA, he was in the bigs way before he should have been and then broke his hand. I think the kid will develop into something very good, but he still needs development time and last year was not a good year for him in many facets.
If this was 1902 and we were looking solely at batting average, maybe Schneider is a downgrade. But this is 2007 and Schneider is at worst a sideways move offensively with a pretty good chance to be an upgrade. Compound that with LoDuca's injury and this one is a no brainer.
"Santana's so good, though, he'll do so much for them," the GM said. "There's not much chance of buyer's regret."