'Tis a good day. When I first saw the link, I had to check the URL to make sure it was on the up and up. Then I had to go in through the USAToday.com homepage to double check because I am sure everyone remembers the fake Beltran link that went around before the Mets actually signed him. There are evil, evil, evil people out there that like to pray upon our vulnerability as Met fans.
The pundits said it would never happen. In fact, they are still speaking about the inferior package the Mets offered as they report this glorious news. I never wavered and fought the good fight in the name of sanity and objectivity and it turns out I was right...sort of. The Yankees and Red Sox basically pulled out, but I still thought this deal was just right all along.
The deal could still fall apart, but that seems extremely doubtful at this point. Johan gets to come to the DH-less National League to add onto his Hall of Fame legacy and joins the other best pitcher of our time. Let that one sink in. We have the two most dominant pitchers in the last decade. Good times. Weird things did happen yesterday with the Twins upping their offer to five years and $100 million according to Mike and the Mad Dog.
If Johan wanted to be there, he probably would have taken it. However, when faced with the option of staying in a highly competitive AL Central with a small market club or head to the Mets and instantly become the favorites in the NL East, he chose door #2 and forced their hand. Now I still think it is a three team race in the NL East, but Johan, Maine, Pedro, Ollie, Wagner, Reyes, Wright, Beltran, and Alou are a formidable group that makes the Mets the favorite.
Let us not forget to throw into the pot that Mike Pelfrey and Fernando Martinez are still around. I will surely miss Carlos, Deolis, Kevin, and Phil, but I think that was a palatable package to give up. Though many ill informed fans would think that is not nearly enough, the fact is the Twins were not selling four years of Johan Santana.
While that is a hard concept for people to grasp, it really should not be. Also, please ignore any previous offer. Not only were those offers for Johan's one year under market value and exclusive rights to get bent over a table by Johan, but more was being thrown into the pot to keep him from the enemy. Take the enemy factor out and you get a clearer picture of the true market.
"A lot of teams just weren't willing to give up their best prospects, then have to try to sign this guy," one American League executive said. "Imagine if the Twins had been trying to move Santana and he was already under contract for three years at $15 million. They could have asked for the moon and gotten it."
Omar just plucked himself off of the hot seat and solidified Willie's presence in our lives for the foreseeable future which in itself cannot even get me down. Even Emad was won over by the trade. "Well, that's a pretty 'right' package. I'm satisfied." And there we have it. The Mets just landed the guy with the most wins since 2003 (82), the lowest ERA since 2003 (2.92), and the most strikeouts since 2003 (1,152). Fun fact, Johan in his off year had a higher WARP1 than Becket and was only .02 lower than Sabathia. Sweet Jebus.
For the Twins, I firmly believe they will get one All-Star caliber player between Gomez and Guerra. If they get one of those guys to that level, another to be dependable reliever, and another solid starter, things will be all good. They will be able to call this one a good trade. Of course, we will not be able to make a final determination for a few years, but keep your chin up Twins fans. Things look favorable.
Not wordy enough? Let's keep going then. While speaking about the deal, I would be remiss to not bring up how Theo brilliantly played this one. The Yankees put out the initial offer of Hughes, Cabrera, Marquez, and whomever. The Red Sox and the Yankees are in a daily competition and Theo wanted to keep Johan out of Cashman's hands. So, what does he do? He puts together a package that was clearly better to up the stakes. When I say clearly better, I do not mean clearly better in my opinion. I mean it was matter of a fact better.
Of course, Bill Smith sat on the sidelines and both the Yankees and Red Sox backed off and he was left with the Mets offer which might have been the only offer from the way things sounded. Although, that might not be the worst thing for Smith because it made his decision a lot easier. The Mets package is undoubtedly risky, but man is it interesting. The sky is the limit for Guerra and Gomez and I will be forever indebted to them for enabling the Mets to land Johan Santana while keeping Fernando.
That would be grand total of $4,305,000.
From the Red Sox, the Twins could have had left-hander Jon Lester or outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, plus a near-ready infielder, Jed Lowrie, and right-hander Justin Masterson. From the Yankees, they could have had right-hander Phil Hughes — perhaps the single best player they were offered — plus center fielder Melky Cabrera, and more.
Instead, they will land Gomez, who might not hit well enough to become the next Carlos Beltran; Mulvey and Humber, whom most scouts project as back-of-the-rotation starters; and Guerra, who, for all his promise, has yet to pitch above Class A. The deal will become official once Santana passes his physical and agrees to a contract extension.
So, why does he mention all of the doomsday scenarios when speaking of the Met prospects while not mentioning the clear flaws with anyone else? Weird. You would think he had an agenda or something.
Since no one else will do it, I will.
John Lester: I like Lester a lot. He has guts and that was evident when he faced the Mets back in 2006. However, he does have a 4.68 big league ERA, a WHIP of 1.57, and a career ERA+ of 101. The most discouraging part? His minor league numbers are not all that much prettier. He has a 3.78 bb/9 and a 1.31 WHIP. His control issues seem to be more than just a phase and will probably hamper him for taking that next step. It is hard to be really successful as a starter with that much of a control problem.
Jacoby Ellsbury: He might not be able to hit enough to knock CoCo Crisp out of the starting lineup. His minor league ISOD is .076 and is ISOP is .112. Want more gloom and doom? At 24 he is not likely to appreciably stronger without the juice.
Comparatively, Gomez has a .061 ISOD and a .121 ISOP for his minor league career. Throw on top of that some serious raw power, the fact he is younger, and a winning smile and that is all very interesting....
Jed Lowrie: This is a tough one for me. I actually like Lowrie a lot and think he is going to be a solid player. He put up a .095 ISOD and a .157 ISOP in his minor league career. Not bad for a middle infielder. Wait? He might not stick up the middle? Oh...then check that. He has a shot to be marginally producing corner infielder with a sub par glove.
Justin Masterson: He might end up a reliever or back end rotation guy as well. Actually Mulvey is a better prospect and Humber is not far off if not even better. Maybe he can give us a call when he gets his ERA under 4.00 outside of one stint in the NYPL.
Melky Cabrera: In the bigs he has a .065 ISOD and a .113 ISOP. In the minors he put up a .053 ISOD and a .128 ISOP. He is also the 2nd worst center fielder according The Fielding Bible. Oh, did I mention he really does not steal that many bases either and at 5'11" he is not exactly projectable in terms of adding some pop?
Just an aside, can someone clue me into why no one in the media is pointing out he is an average (I'm being generous here) player with limited upside? Is it because he is young? Am I missing some secret tools that scream upside? It seems like the best thing about him is that we KNOW he is average in the bigs where as Gomez has not had a chance to average, great, good, or bad. I am missing the allure here when people allude to the idea the Twins 'missed out' on Melky. The best thing about him is that Hughes came with him.
Phil Hughes: Actually, I like Hughes a lot. I refuse to sink to their level and speak bad about him. The dude is squeaky clean. Of course, he is still more likely to not win 100 games than he is likely to win 100 games. Young pitching is more or less a crap shoot which is why you want a lot of it around. Which does bring me to this point. Hughes was the only player of worth in the rumored Yankee deal so Smith's eggs would have been in one basket. Hughes does not turn out to be a stud, and the Twins lose. It is that simple.
As for Gomez again, this is from people that scout the game of baseball:
Fastest Baserunner Carlos Gomez
Best Athlete Carlos Gomez
Best Defensive Outfielder Carlos Gomez
Best Outfield Arm Carlos Gomez
While it is fair to say his numbers are favorable if not better when factor in fielding and stolen when compared to Ellsbury and Cabrera's minor league numbers, it is also fair to say he has sizeable upside. It should be noted that Ellsbury is rather good athlete as well and has the ability to hit for a high batting, but he simply does not have the power projection or arm that Gomez has which is where they really diverge as prospects.
Sticks and stone...I know...I know. But it bothers me that people negatively skew things towards the Mets for no justifiable reason. They make it seem like everyone in the Red Sox and Yankee deals are preordained to be stars while the Mets are just scrubs with no future and are all downside. You would think someone would at least admit these guys are talented human beings at the very least. I guess it does not matter since Omar got his man.
This was late Monday night, about 12 hours before the Mets would pounce upon their most dramatic trade in recent history. Twins' general manager Bill Smith, in a panic to move Johan Santana, called the Yankees and admitted surrender: Phil Hughes was no longer a prerequisite, he said. Instead, the Twins asked for Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera and a top prospect. Would the Yankees still be interested, Smith wondered?
The Yankees considered the idea, but only briefly and not seriously.
Kennedy stood in the Yankees way? Perplexing. A guy with average stuff who 'knows how to pitch' was all it was going to take? Smith is really not looking like a good GM here. He should be thankful for his own good that the Yankees balked at that deal because the Met package was eons better than Kennedy/Cabrera.
"This certainly evens the balance within the division," said Glavine, who signed a free agent contract with Atlanta in November. I don't think this makes [the Mets] the class of the division. I think it puts them in a position where their rotation is much better and that was their biggest need.
"Within the division, I think you have three teams that can now not only win the division, but also the World Series. I think all three teams did a nice job of filling their biggest needs."
Thanks for the insight Tom.