Yeah, it happened. No, it’s not entirely final; the Mets and Johan Santana must agree to a contract extension within 72 hours, and Santana has to pass a physical before everything is written in stone. But odds are the Mets wouldn’t agree to trade 4 of their top 7 prospects if they didn’t think they could finalize a deal. And Santana is a great athlete, not to mention it’s quite rare for players to fail physicals that void trades, so I’d say there’s a 95% chance that it gets finalized.
And you read right…in return the Twins got 4 prospects, i.e. unproven players. And basically no holes were filled. Carlos Gomez, arguably the best prospect in the deal, is a 22-year old CF who was admittedly rushed by the Mets organization but could compete for the starting job in Spring Training. He batted just .232 in 58 games with the Mets last year. His more than 3:1 K/BB ratio is definitely unsettling, but generally as a player progresses he learns the strike zone a little better so that number should improve.
The other three, Deolis Guerra, Phil Humber, and Kevin Mulvey…well, yeah. Guerra is 18 years old and had a bad start to his minor league career last year, but ended up catching fire at the end. Most knowledgeable Mets fans think Guerra could be a star, much better than Gomez in fact. Humber posted a 4.27 ERA in 125 innings last year in AAA, but that’s as a 24-year old. He certainly isn’t supposed to be dominant, maybe a 4th starter, or 3rd at best. Mulvey is a guy I personally like. Last year, at 22, he went 11-10 with a 3.32 ERA in 26 starts at AA. He had 110 strikeouts and 43 walks in 151 2/3 IP. He was promoted to AAA for 1 start, in which he lasted 6 innings and allowed just 2 hits. He’ll definitely start the year at AAA, but if he does well he could earn a September call up.
In short, this wasn’t the best deal that was offered. A Yankees package involving Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera would’ve filled CF, not to mention Hughes could’ve been a dominant #1 or #2 starter. Same goes with the Red Sox; Jacoby Ellsbury could’ve played in center and Jon Lester could’ve been a solid #2. However, latest reports say that Santana basically told the team to do something before Spring Training. GM Bill Smith certainly shouldn’t allow himself to be bossed around by a player, but it sort of appears that’s what happened. You can’t fault him though. They offered Johan a 5-year, $100 million deal as their final offer and it was declined. It’d be more idiotic to give a pitcher a 7-year deal for that kind of money, than it is to trade him for prospects.
In hindsight, I think I would’ve rather we keep Johan for this year, try and work out an extension, but if nothing happens we get 2 draft picks next year. Only so that fans could see him and Francisco Liriano go back-to-back again.
Frankly, I’m a little disappointed and sad that Johan didn’t want to play here. It seems like the Pohlad family is a little more open to keeping core players, and may be a little more dedicated to putting a winning team out on the field. If the deal goes through, I don’t expect the team to get 80 wins. At this point, with a healthy and similar to ’06 Liriano, we still have 80% that would be fighting for a 3rd or 4th starter spot on any other team. Don’t get me wrong, Scott Baker showed what he can do last year in that 8 1/3 innings of no-hit ball last year, and Boof Bonser lost some weight and might be able to last 7 innings now, but they’re still young and will probably falter along the way. I think Kevin Slowey will have a solid career, but how will he perform in his (probable) first full year in the bigs?
Only time will tell.