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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 6:33 am


This is an invitation from a disgruntled Yankee fan. I am a season ticket holder and I want answers. I want to know why the Yanks did not make a last-minute offer for the best pitcher in baseball, a power lefty who would be phenomenal in Yankee Stadium and could very well give them the ace they need to put them over the top. You spent this offseason making a great move that gave Yankee fans hope by hiring Girardi. You gave ridiculous money to A-Rod. He is also the greatest show on the planet. Entertainment value, I understand that. You gave stupid money to Rivera and Posada. Great all-time Yankees, yes, but hardly worth clogging up the payroll for the next 3-4 years for. You then look at what is a disaster of a bullpen and fill it with an unknown in Albaladejo and a has-been who chokes under pressure in Hawkins while losing one of the only semi-reliable relievers you had last year in Vizcaino. Lastly, the greatest pitcher on the planet becomes available and the Mets get him while only giving up four nothings. Rumor has it, Bill Smith came back to you Cash for a last minute offer and you didn't bother making one. So, this is where I as a season ticket holder, ask you to respond and tell me "why". IF Smith still insisted on Hughes, fine I understand, that's ok. IF you suspect Santana has an injury, fine I understand, that's ok too. IF you refused to part with a package centered around Ian Kennedy OR used money as an excuse, I hope you are as far away from the new Yankee Stadium as possible next year. I got news for you CASHman, this team is built to win NOW. I certainly have my doubts about winning now with a rotation that has a 36-year old steroid user, a sinkerball whose sinkers seemed to stop sinking, a 38-year old Moose who's career is over, and 3 rookies who have never thrown over 150 innings. Sure, A-Rod will put on a show hitting all of those home runs. Joba will entertain pumping his fist after striking out hitters on 100 mph fastballs. This is a show. But fans want more than just a show. They want to win. Namely a World Series Championship. How about giving the fans and older players like Mo, Posada, Moose, Andy and Jeter a shot. Or maybe you three are more concerned about payroll. I want answers. And I'm sure some fans will agree. I'm sure some fans will tear me apart as a whiner. But I DARE you to respond.


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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:16 am

Mets have natural ability Carlton? You freaking arrogant and ignorant Mets Fan... How about Former Yankee Mike Stanton when He signed with Mets during 2003 season? According to Mitchell Report , He use it during 2003 season when He's time with Ny Mets. Stop Denying Carlton. How about Loduca and Guiilermo Mota ? You Jackass


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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:17 am

Mets have natural ability Carlton? You freaking arrogant and ignorant Mets Fan... How about Former Yankee Mike Stanton when He signed with Mets during 2003 season? According to Mitchell Report , He use it during 2003 season when He's time with Ny Mets. Stop Denying Carlton. How about Loduca and Guiilermo Mota ? You Jackass


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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:19 am

I love how writers think they know exactly what happened. Couldn't be ownership didn't want Santana in the American League and Smith was using the Yanks and Sox to get the Mets offer up. Couldn't Be that Santana forced a quick trade when Smith was planning to wait till the all star break if necessary. Maybe Santana said Mets or I am invoking my no trade.


Of course, there are caveats all around: The Mets have cleaned out their farm system, which means they had better get an immediate return on their investment from Santana. He had better be healthy, too; that's no small consideration for a pitcher who allowed 33 home runs in 2007 and lost 3-4 miles off his fastball in his last seven starts.

how did the mets clean out their farm? still have fernando (our best prospect). still have pelfrey. everyone is talking about how it's a steal and the twins screwed themselves... how does any of this imply the farm is cleaned out???

typical klapisch Rolling Eyes

People tend to forget that the best part of our 'farm system' is the left side of our infield for the next decade.

Smith screwed up for sure. The original Boston and Yankee offers were superior in terms of present tradable value of players offered. Minny always believed those offers would be on the table until they were ready to deal.

However when both looked at their teams they both realized Santana would cause more long term problems than he solved. As long as the other wasn't willing to make the plunge, both could hold back. By allowing time for this mutual realization to develop, Smith shit the bed. Smith also managed to antagonize everybody involved by his excessive demands, refusal to give a final yes or no, and negotiating through the papers. With Minaya, he prefers to bring the press in only if a deal has been made.

The Mets due to past cheapness by Wilpon were nowhere near the luxury tax, so Santana was cheaper for them. Being in the NL, they were also a better location to send Santana since the Twins wouldn't have to face him six times a year.

In the end, Santana played it perfectly and get his top prospect and most major league ready pitcher.

Now he needs to come up with the bucks for a good draft.


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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:22 am

The Small Market Excuse

I listened intently to Jason Schmidt this morning on the Mets deal. I wouldn't even call it a Mets-Twins deal because the Twins didn't even factor into this. I mean, they got so royally soaked it's amazing. Anyway, Schmidt was talking about the small-market-team whining that goes on: "oh we can't compete", "oh, we don't have the money that the big markets do", blah, blah, blah. Well, here's a prime example of stupidity and indecision. You have an ace that you need to unload. You let it be known that you'll entertain bids for him. But all the while you really aren't sure of whether you want to win or just field a product that will get butts in the seats. There's a stark difference between the two. You have two teams OUTSIDE YOUR DIVISION offering you solid bids. I think the combination of all this caused the twins a momentary brain fart. So, now I wonder what Twins and other small market fans are going to call this. Did the Mets "steal our favorite players"? Uh, no. Your moronic GM gave him away for a whole lot less than what he could have gotten from the Yankees or Red Sox. You can't blame anyone else for this but Bill Smith. Bill, you better get that resume cleaned up. To the Mets and Omar, I say, congratulations! Nicely done!


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A Johan Santana post-mortem

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:24 am

A Johan Santana post-mortem


Alright. Let’s put this baby to bed. Barring a complete collapse of the contract negotiations between the Twins and Mets, this is it for RAB and Johan Santana. It’s been some ride, eh?

Anyway, with the Yankees’ missing out on landing Santana, disappointment has enveloped many Yankee bloggers. But we’re immune; the Yankees have Saved the Big 3! They’ve also saved $150 million. But we’ll get there. What is everyone else saying?

Mike Plugh at Canyon of Heroes thinks Bill Smith should be fired. Yankees Chick tends to agree, and Travis G. at New York Yankees Etc. feels that Smith overplayed his hand. Moshe Mandel at The Bronx Block believes that Smith got fleeced. These bloggers are upset because the Twins seemingly turned down or dallied to the point of no return with better offers on the table.

Meanwhile, in the comments to our Santana trade post, not at 106 and climbing, a lot of fans are upset because they feel that the Yankees could have outbid the Twins for Santana without giving up Phil Hughes, the Holy Grail of the trade demands. I don’t think so. Let’s look, one last time, at what happened since November. It’s not as clear cut as we all think.

1. The Twins wanted to trade Johan Santana, but…

We all know that the Twins wanted to trade Johan Santana. With one year left on his contract and no extension forthcoming — despite payouts to Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer — the Twins had to capitalize on Santana by getting back something. For some reason, they felt the need to trade him now before Spring Training or the trade deadline when teams would be more desperate and more willing to give up blue chip pieces to get Santana. Why the Twins acted so soon, we won’t know.

2a. The Red Sox weren’t all that interested
2b. The Yankees weren’t all that interested

David and Aziz at Pride of the Yankees speculate that the Yankees and Red Sox were just using each other to drive up the price. Neither of the AL East superpowers were too keen to give up their hard-earned farm-system spoils for Johan Santana, they speculate. I’ve heard from a few sources that this was more likely the truth than we all initially thought.

First, Boston. According to what I’ve heard, the Red Sox were never serious about trading Jon Lester, Clay Bucholz or Jacoby Ellsbury in a package for Santana. In fact, the offers on the table from the Sox were far below what the media were reporting each day. But unlike the Yankees and Hank Steinbrenner, the Red Sox kept a tight lip on the procedures.

Meanwhile, the Yankees laid their cards on the table but did so in a way to call the Twins’ bluff. The Good Doctor, writing on my post, explains this position:

Has it occured to anybody that neither the Yankees or the Red Sox really wanted Santana? I mean, at least at the price they would have to pay to get him. Did it occur that these two VERY savvy franchises ended up playing the Twins like a fiddle? Let’s face it, clearly the Red Sox and the Yankees both had the players to make the deal happen if they wanted to make it happen. Either team could have beaten the Mets offer without breaking a sweat if they really wanted to, but they didn’t.

The offers that they each reportedly made were disingenuous. First, Hank makes a tremendous offer (Hughes, Melky, etc.), but gives a ridiculous deadline by which the Twins have to accept it. He knew they wouldn’t/couldn’t accept the deadline. Meanwhile, it keeps the BoSox in the hunt, so they talk about Lester and Ellsbury, but that offer too is disingenuous. And in the end, they were reported to have taken the best parts of their reported offers off the table.

The Yankees only wanted to keep Santana out of Boston and the Red Sox wanted to make sure he didn’t go to the Bronx and the only way either one was actually going to pull the trigger on the deal was if the other was really, truly, honestly about to make a real deal for Santana. Neither team wanted him at the price they’d have to pay.

And why didn’t either of those teams want Santana? Because, as we’ve said and The Good Doctor put it, “Both would have given up big time MLB ready, INEXPENSIVE, young players to land Santana, then turn around and pay him $20 - 25 mil a year.” These two teams are not about to add another $25 million a year for seven years. It didn’t work with Kevin Brown or Mike Hampton, and it’s not working out for Barry Zito. Seven-year contracts for pitchers are not sound investments, and there’s no way that Santana’s performance over the course of the contract would have justified the lost pieces and money.

Meanwhile, it seems as though blustery Hank really did know what he was doing after all. Funny how that happens.

3. Bill Smith did not overplay his hand

Smith, an inexperienced GM but a veteran baseball guy with a strong background in talent evaluation, knew what he could get and when. If he ever really thought he could do better than what he got, he would have pulled the trigger sooner. The breaking point came today when Johan Santana basically asked for a resolution. I’m sure the Red Sox and Yankees both said to Smith that their offers would not improve in March or in July.

4. The Twins were not too keen on moving Santana to another AL team

As Casper points out in the comments to this post, it’s quite likely that the Twins did not want to see Santana in the AL. The Twins have a good a shot as any to rebuild into a playoff team before the end of Santana’s eventual contract extension. Why handicap your team by setting up another with your erstwhile ace? Whether or not this consideration led to a sound baseball move is open for debate.

5. Evaluating this non-move won’t happen overnight

For the Yankees to tell whether or not they “lost” out on this non-trade, we’ll have to wait, oh, about six or seven years. Right now, Johan Santana is probably the de facto front runner from NL Cy Young. He’s switching leagues and landing in another pitcher’s park. He’ll get to face the Nationals and Marlins more than a few times as well as the Number 9 slot in the NL batting orders. He’s got it made, and the Mets probably just punched their ticket to at least the NLCS.

Meanwhile, Johan Santana in 2008 will be better than Phil Hughes, barring injury or some sort of miracle. But that’s just year one. When Santana’s making $20 million at the age of 34, and Hughes is outpitching him for less money, we’ll see who’s come out ahead.

Yankee fans are fickle, and the temptation now is to say that the Yanks lost out big. But for once, we’ll have to do what the Yankees did and remain patient with the young kids. They’ll deliver.

Sixteen days until pitchers and catchers…


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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:25 am

Jan 29, 2008
And there it is


So Carlos Gomez was pulled from Winter ball as part of a trade. Frankly, Minnesota got screwed here. Both the original Boston and Yankee offers were better. Instead, rookie GM Bill Smith overplayed his hand (a phrase that's quickly become cliched over the past week) and got a disappointing haul for Santana: Gomez, Humber, Mulvey and Guerra (the Mets 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 7th best prospects). In early December, Minny had their choice of Phil Hughes, Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury - all better than any of the Mets trade chips. A Yankee offer of Ian Kennedy, Alan Horne, Melky and AJax destroys that Met offer, so perhaps it really was about the money (for the Yanks). I can't believe the Twinkies caved and accepted an FMart-less offer. The deal still isn't 100% done, as the Mets have 72 hours to reach an extension with Santana, but that should merely be a formality. It seems Smith was going to either (1) try to fleece an AL team, or (2) get him out of the league for the best offer he could muster.

Thank goodness the Sawx didn't acquire him, because they would've been nearly unbeatable for the next three years with Santana leading the rotation. They probably could have acquired him for only Lester and Ellsbury - yes, two good prospects, but certainly not studs, and Santana would have locked up the division for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, the money seems to have been too much for them too. This is a win for both Boston and the Yanks. A true rarity.

Credit should be given to Brian Cashman for not overreacting to Boston's (and Hank's) interest. I'm relieved he didn't go to Boston and that we didn't lose Hughes, but also pissed the Mets got him for a considerably inferior offer.

The only real loser is Minnesota. If you want to feel real pity (by reading the disgusted opinions of Twins fans), visit here.

- Now that that's finally over, I can close the 'Santana to the Yanks' poll on the right. An overwhelming majority were against trading Phil Hughes for Santana (73%), 19% were in favor of it and 7% wanted to know who the 'mid-level' prospects were. Thanks for voting!


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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:26 am

Wednesday, January 30, 2008
So Long, Johan


The early days of this blog were filled with a "Free Johan Santana!" campaign that urged the Twins to move their young left-handed phenom into the starting rotation. After Santana spent the majority of four years in the bullpen and another half-season at Triple-A, the Twins finally gave him a permanent spot in the rotation to begin the 2004 season. He immediately became the best pitcher in baseball, winning the AL Cy Young by going 20-6 while leading the league with a 2.61 ERA and 265 strikeouts.

In four seasons as a full-time starter Santana went 70-32 with a 2.89 ERA and 983 strikeouts in 912.1 innings, winning two ERA titles and three strikeout crowns while capturing a pair of Cy Young awards and deserving a third. It was an amazing metamorphosis. At 21 years old Santana was a little-known Rule 5 pick who showed some promise, at 23 years old he was an ace-in-waiting who dominated from the bullpen or rotation, and at 25 years old he was the best pitcher in baseball.

Now 28 years old, Santana has established himself as both one of the most successful pitchers in Twins history and one of the greatest left-handers of all time. Three weeks into this blog's existence there was an entry that began with this proclamation: "I suspect that many of you aren't very familiar with Mr. Santana, but with the way he's pitched this season that may change very quickly." And now, a little more than five years later, today's entry is about how the Twins traded Mr. Santana to the Mets.

Santana and the Mets still need to work out a long-term contract extension before the trade becomes official, but assuming that happens the Twins will receive outfielder Carlos Gomez and right-handers Deolis Guerra, Kevin Mulvey, and Philip Humber. Baseball America's recent breakdown of the Mets' farm system ranked those four players as the team's No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, and No. 7 prospects, but the Twins unfortunately weren't able to get No. 1 prospect Fernando Martinez included in the deal.

Trading the best pitcher in baseball without getting the Mets' top prospect in return is disappointing and without Martinez the package falls short of the deals that were rumored to have been offered from the Yankees and Red Sox. A month ago the Twins were said to be deciding between packages headed by Phil Hughes, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jon Lester, and earlier this month they were reportedly pushing the Mets to include Martinez. Instead, they end up with none of those four players.

Either the oft-cited rumored offers involving Hughes, Ellsbury, and Lester were never actually on the table to begin with or general manager Bill Smith waited so long to pull the trigger that the Yankees and Red Sox eventually decided to take them off the table. All of which is what makes evaluating the package that the Twins ended up accepting somewhat tricky. On one hand, it seems fairly clear that the Twins would have been better off making Hughes or Ellsbury the centerpiece of a Santana trade.

Those two players possess the best combination of long-term upside and major-league readiness, so if at any point Smith passed on offers involving Hughes or Ellsbury then he made a big mistake and ultimately had to settle for something significantly less than the best possible package. On the other hand, when judged on its own and not compared to other offers that may or may not have been on the table, the Mets' package is a decent one.

It seems natural that a team should be able to have its pick of elite prospects when trading away baseball's premiere pitcher, but from the Twins' perspective all they were truly shopping was one season of Santana. While that's plenty valuable, getting four solid prospects for one season of any player seems reasonable. Of course, had the Twins kept Santana this season and simply let him walk as a free agent, they also would have gotten a pair of first-round draft picks as compensation.

Given that, what the Twins really gave up was one season of Santana and a pair of draft picks. That complicates things a bit, but four solid prospects still seems like a relatively palatable return given the added cost and uncertainty of draft picks. Still, my suspicion is that the Twins could have done better and perhaps cost themselves a chance to get the maximum return for Santana by attempting to squeeze extra value from teams.

In poker terms, Smith slow-played a big hand and ended up dragging in less than the maximum pot. It's hard to swallow the possibility that the Twins missed out on acquiring Hughes and Melky Cabrera or Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, and Justin Masterson. Those were very good offers for Santana and without Martinez included the Mets' offer falls short of those standards. However, there's a difference between the Mets' offer not being the best one and the Mets' offer not being a decent one.

Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2002, Gomez has been rushed through the Mets' system and made his major-league debut as a 21-year-old last season despite logging just 36 games at Triple-A. He predictably struggled and there was little reason to push him so aggressively given his mediocre track record, suggesting that Gomez's development would benefit greatly from some additional time in the minors. Here are his combined numbers between Double-A and Triple-A:

156 643 .282 .354 .421 9 51 42 120 58

Gomez is already a strong defensive center fielder and an excellent base-stealer with game-changing speed, but his bat leaves a lot to be desired. He's often talked about as a five-tool player, but with just nine homers and a .139 Isolated Power in 643 plate appearances his power has been modest so far. Beyond that, his 120-to-42 strikeout-to-walk ratio shows poor plate discipline and sub par strike-zone control, both of which are concerns for someone who the Twins no doubt view as a leadoff man.

The Twins may be tempted to make Gomez their Opening Day center fielder, but he looks likely to be overmatched in the majors at this point and the team would be better off delaying his arrival by signing someone like Kenny Lofton or Corey Patterson to a one-year deal. Gomez has the talent to be an impact player in time, but he's yet to convert his tools into great on-field performance and is far from a sure thing to ever become an above-average regular, whereas Ellsbury is basically already there.

Even more so than Gomez, Guerra is the high-risk, high-upside part of the package. Signed out of Venezuela for $700,000 in 2005, he's another example of the Mets needlessly rushing their prospects, spending last season at high Single-A as an 18-year-old. Guerra held his own there, posting a 4.01 ERA and 66-to-25 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 89.2 innings, which is plenty impressive for a teenager who was facing much more experienced competition.

Guerra throws hard and at 6-foot-5 there's plenty of room to project even more velocity, but he missed time with a shoulder injury last season and has a long way to go before reaching the majors both in terms of time frame and development. Had he been with the Twins, it's possible that Guerra would have spent last season at rookie-ball. He has the highest ceiling among the four players acquired for Santana, but also carries by far the most risk.

While Gomez and Guerra are all about projection and development, Mulvey and Humber are close to being MLB-ready and aren't especially far from reaching their relatively modest ceilings. Humber was a dominant pitcher in college, going 35-8 with a 2.80 ERA and 422 strikeouts in 353 innings at Rice University, and the Mets thought that they had a future ace when they took him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2004 draft.

Humber's heavy college workload caught up to him just 15 starts into his pro career and he underwent Tommy John elbow surgery in 2005. He returned to the mound in the middle of the next season, but left some of his velocity on the operating table and hasn't been the same pitcher since. Once regarded as a potential No. 1 starter, Humber now looks like middle-of-the-rotation material after posting a 4.27 ERA and 120-to-44 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 139 innings at Triple-A as a 24-year-old.

Mulvey was a second-round pick out of Villanova in 2006 and reached Triple-A near the end of last season after posting a 3.02 ERA and 124-to-48 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 173 pro innings. While Humber is a fly-ball pitcher who has had problems keeping the ball in the ballpark post-surgery, Mulvey does a much better job inducing ground balls and has served up a total of just five homers in 173 innings. He also projects as a mid-rotation starter and should be ready by the All-Star break.

In a perfect world Santana would christen the new ballpark with an Opening Day start in 2010 and wear a Twins cap on his Hall of Fame plaque, but for whatever reason his remaining in Minnesota never seemed to be a legitimate option once the trade rumors began swirling. Swapping him for packages led by Hughes or Ellsbury would have put the Twins in a better position for both short- and long-term success, so if either of those deals were passed on then Smith made a major mistake.

With that said, getting Gomez, Guerra, Mulvey, and Humber from the Mets likely beats keeping Santana for one more season and taking a pair of draft picks when he departs as a free agent. A toolsy center fielder who hasn't shown much offensively, a very raw 18-year-old pitcher, and a pair of MLB-ready middle-of-the-rotation starters is no one's idea of a great haul for Santana, but it's not a horrible one and Smith may have backed himself into a corner by not jumping on better offers immediately.

The end result of a bad situation handled poorly is a mediocre package of players that has no one excited, but even acquiring Hughes or Ellsbury wouldn't have made losing Santana easy to live with. Trading away one of the best players in franchise history while he's still at the top of his game is a horrible thing and doing so without getting the best possible return for him is extremely disappointing, but the Santana trade still has a chance to work out in the Twins' favor. It just could have been better.

. and moving Santanta to NL is better than keeping him in AL from Twins' point of view.
Rune from Norway | 01/30/08 - 5:51 am | #

Gravatar Thanks for the analysis Aaron. My beef isn't about what we got (or didn't get) in return for Johan Santana. People are obviously going to Kill Bill on this one, and I can understand why they might. But the value of this trade is very debatable at this point and will be played out over the next 5+ years. To me the most disappointing aspect of it all is that we could have locked Johan up last year if not the year before. If I recall correctly (and maybe you can help me on this) Johan was essentially telling the Twins they should take care of this LAST off season, and of course they didn't and the rest is now history. It's almost identical with the Torii Hunter situation. Both guys wanted to make deals a couple of years prior to free agency, and the Twins didn't see fit to make such deals. Then when they were forced to make an offer it was too little too late. In summary the biggest disappointment to me is the lack of fore site by the gentlemen in the front offices. This was all very preventable.

Side note- I think Santana's turning point was watching the Twins give Luis Castillo away (he was quite vocal about that "trade"). He knew Hunter was leaving too, and at that point it became obvious the Twins were re-tooling. The man wants to play for a serious contender and that is quite understandable. I don't know that we ever had a chance to keep him...
Mike L | 01/30/08 - 6:19 am | #

Gravatar Turns out I'm smarter and more qualified to run the team than BS. I screamed in several blogs that if they don't move on the Hughes deal they'd live to regret it. This day will live in infamy for the Twins organization.
Tunch Ilkin | 01/30/08 - 6:23 am | #

Gravatar In defense of Bill Smith all of those other potential deals are only as good as how they have been characterized in media reports- meaning we should not treat rumor as fact.

Hughes and Cabrera might have never been on the table at the same time. And from a Yankees perspective they might have been very reluctant to even include Hughes in the package. It is hard as hell to see the anchor of the rotation leave, especially as he has been the best pitcher in baseball for the past 5 season. But this is the reality of the Twins situation. They are a mid-market team with a stingy owner and an organization that has a knack for developing pitching very well.

The weaknesses for the Twins in their losing season last year were star players not playing to their potential and other players not playing to the bare minimum required of major league talent. Bill Smith locked up 2 position players that have performed in the past to long term deals and let the star pitcher go. Both of these options weren't nearly as radical as the Young-Garza deal Smith pulled off last year. This team will have possibly 6 new starting position players this season. It will be interesting to see how things develop.
wengler | 01/30/08 - 6:41 am | #

Gravatar The other thing that isn't known is Santana and his agent's "position". They may have been being patient with the Twins wanting to hold out for maximum value, got tired of the waiting and put out an ultimatum of 'decide by Wednesday or I'm invoking my no-trade clause'

If the guys included in both the Yankee and Sox offers (if they existed)blow up this year BS is going to have a tough tenure.

So, where's Nathan off to? And will we get more than a utility infielder for him?
jb (the original) | 01/30/08 - 7:17 am | #

Gravatar I am happy to see him traded to the NL, it would be tough to see him in a Yanks or BoSox cap for the next 6-7 years. That said, I wonder if Santana's trade value hasn't been a bit overstated in the trade rumors circulating. Of the teams rumored to be interested, only the Mets seemed particularly in need of a top-flight starter and more than willing to pay the ransom for it. Also, as stated, the deal only gets you one year of Santana and an exclusive window to try to sign him.

The key to this deal is Gomez. The Twins still have a nice crop of young starters in the system, and this deal only compliments that depth. However, unless anyone thinks Pridie or Span is the answer in CF, Gomez must show that he is not a three tool OF'er who is missing the most essential tool- the ability to hit. He does have amazing speed and can go get it in the field. We'll see.
Glynn | 01/30/08 - 7:26 am | #

Gravatar With the opportunity the Twins had to sign Santana earlier, and to show him we were serious about being a competitive team earlier (which I think Smith's other recent moves may have done), I don't consider this Bill Smith's first big mistake. I consider it Terry Ryan's last one.

Makes one wonder if the Pohlad's pushed Ryan aside after last year's trade deadline because it was clear by then that not only would they lose both Hunter and Santana, but that they would get well below market value in return.
justme | 01/30/08 - 7:37 am | #

Gravatar My thought after this whole thing played out was that this is for the most part Terry Ryan's fault, and Bill Smith is the guy that is going to have to take the hit. Ryan knew he had "screwed the pooch" when he didn't trade Hunter last season, and when he didn't start to even consider extension for Santana -


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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:32 am

If weren't for Hank talking with his loudmouth thru Media, The Yankees could have Johan right now.. My advice to Hank, Please Shut up and let Brian do talking. I'm sick of Hank and He's spoiled brat. " The Yankees had best offer on the table" according to Hank. Thanks Hank for ruining my day as Yankee Fan.


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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:37 am

Santana To The Mets


I just posted on something else, but pulled it when this news came up. it seems that the Twins were not just posturing when they said they were taking the final offers for Johan. The NY Post is reporting that the Mets have agreed to trade four prospects for Johan Santana, and have a 72 hour window to negotiate a contract extension. The Mets give up Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra, Kevin Mulvey and Phil Humber. Buster Olney was reporting as recently as this morning that the Yankees seemed to no longer be involved. I will briefly discuss my first impression on what this means for all the teams involved in the saga.

Mets: The clear winners in this deal, in my opinion. They held their ground and did not relinquish Fernando Martinez, their number one prospect who seems to have legitimate star potential. Gomez is a nice prospect, but many scouts have doubts about him developing any power. His ceiling may be that of Juan Pierre. Humber is a falling star, with his prospect status diminishing by the day. Guerra and Mulvey, particularly Guerra, are the wildcards in this deal, pitchers of high repute who will take a few years to develop, if ever. Mulvey is closer to the majors with more limited potential, while Guerra is the highest ceiling prospect in the deal. Most importantly, the Mets had one glaring need and filled it. They have now reestablished themselves as the legitimate superpower in the weak National League. A very bold move by a bold GM.

Twins: Bill Smith got fleeced, in my opinion. I think he seriously overplayed his hand, and was left with a package lesser than the offers he had previously received. It is unfortunate that Carl Pohlad cannot open his purse strings. However, Smith knew that coming in and failed to get the best possible deal. I would have taken a deal with Hughes, Melky, Marquez, and Hilligoss, or a deal with Lester, Crisp, Lowrie, and Masterson, over the package he got. The rookie GM got taken in front of the entire baseball world, and I cannot imagine Twins fans will be happy. Of course, Mulvey and Guerra can make me wrong, but Smith may no longer be around to see that, and I find it to be unlikely regardless.

Yankees and Red Sox: I think both teams got what they wanted here- Johan in the NL. The Yankees stick with Brian Cashman’s plan, which is gratifying to see, and Boston does not sell the farm for what was ultimately a luxury. All in all, I imagine that neither team is mourning the loss of Santana this afternoon.

Johan Santana: He goes to a weaker division, to a team filled with Latinos, with an owner that will pay him. What is not to like?

So, what do you think? Relieved? Disappointed? Chime in.

Update: There is one point I neglected to make earlier in regard to the Yankees part in this saga. I fully expect a Steinbrenneresque ultimatum to come down over the next few days, basically stating that “We took Brian’s advice, now he has to deliver.” Cashman’s job may very well depend on the outcome of this trade, assuming he wants to return in the first place. Imagine the following scenario. It is late June, and Hughes is headed for the D.L. with a 4.86 ERA, Kennedy has proven to have bottom of the rotation potential, and Melky is hitting .262 without any increase in power. Meanwhile, the Mets are coasting along, led by ace Johan Santana, who is 11-2 with a 2.34 ERA. All of the papers will suddenly revisit the Santana-Yankees situation, wondering why Brian was so reluctant to give up unproven talent for a known star. Do you think Hank will keep his mouth shut and quietly stick to the plan? I highly doubt it. I am glad that the Yankees did not trade their youth, and look forward to the 2008 season with the Big Three on the mound. I just hope the whole situation does not cost us Brian Cashman.

Update: Looking at BA and John Sickels’ prospect lists, the Mets gave up their 2,3,4, and 7th rated prospects. For the Yankees, this would have meant Tabata, Kennedy, Horne, and Betances. I for one have doubts that the Twins were going take a similar offer from an A.L. team. To keep him in the same league, the Twins probably wanted a talent such as Hughes or Ellsbury. When that proved unlikely, they grabbed the best remaining package. I doubt Cash could have made the trade with the offer I listed above. Do you think that it is a better package than the one Smith took? Should Cashman have been more proactive if that type of offer was a possibility?


The farm is saved. Praise the lord.
# Pete c. says:

January 29th, 2008 at 5:32 pm

I think if he pitches like he did in the A.L. he’s a mortal lock for multiple Cy Young awards. I’m just glad Boston didn’t get him. And I’m glad we didn’t give up those prospects. And their still gonna need 1 or 2 to get a topflight 1st baseman.
# Joe says:

January 29th, 2008 at 5:33 pm

Fantastic news, unless your name is Bill Smith. I very rarely criticize GM’s because its a hard job and there is a lot of stuff we may not know, but Smith did a terrible job here. Phil Hughes alone is better than all the players he traded for, and I’d even say Ellsbury is too. He took quantity over quality.
# Gonzlo Cabeza (Madrid) says:

January 29th, 2008 at 5:46 pm

I had a secret hope Santana stays in Twins and arrive to the Yankees in the nexte postseason, but, you know, that was difficult
# trevor says:

January 29th, 2008 at 6:03 pm

Hopefully Sabathia prices himself out of cleveland.
# Eric Haskell says:

January 29th, 2008 at 6:05 pm

Hallelujah! The Mets wouldn’t have been my first choice, but they are a heck of a lot better than either the Yankees or the Red Sox.
# TheCro says:

January 29th, 2008 at 6:11 pm

Relieved. The Mets get what they sorely needed. Santana is not on the Red Sox. We stick with Cashman’s “Home Grown Talent” Plan. All is good.

Only 16 Days until Pitchers & Catchers!
# JP says:

January 29th, 2008 at 6:19 pm


Let the Mets fan be excited for a few days.

Let Santana win 5 Cy Youngs and 0 World Series over the next 7 years.

Let the Yankees build a lean, mean, youth-oriented, home grown team.

Let the Red Sox not get him either.

I don’t see a down side.
# Jim Johnson says:

January 29th, 2008 at 6:33 pm

God, this couldn’t have worked out any more perfectly.

The Yankee prospects are safe.

The Red Sox don’t get the best pitcher in the game.

Santana is out of our league.

The OTHER New York team (who I don’t mind pulling for as my backup NL team) gets a major piece that they needed.

This couldn’t have happened any better than it did, in my eyes.
# ricardo says:

January 29th, 2008 at 7:13 pm

wow its going to be scary how good Santana will be pitching in the NL
# BJ says:

January 29th, 2008 at 7:22 pm

I was very happy, to the extent that I was surprised when my roomate (also a yank fan) was so pissed about it. I guess its b/c hes a Mets hater… Santana was never going to be a FA and Smith would not take a lesser (non Hughes) deal from us, so the Mets are as good as any NL team and infinitely better than the Sox or losing Hughes.
# Brent Nycz says:

January 29th, 2008 at 7:25 pm

YAY Last Santana post on TBB for a long time!

# Samples says:

January 29th, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Don’t forget, we’ll still have to face him during interleague play. Those games still count…
# JP says:

January 29th, 2008 at 8:08 pm

Interleague play?

So, maybe…MAYBE the Yanks see him twice a year. That’s slightly better than if he ended up with any of the teams in the AL East, innit?
# Jim Johnson says:

January 29th, 2008 at 8:57 pm

We’ll face him twice at the most in Interleague Play and we’ll NEVER have to face him in a 5-game post-season series. Works for me.
# Mark Da Rosa says:

January 29th, 2008 at 9:10 pm

My opinion is that I am glad that we did not give up any of our prospects and that Johan Santana has gone to the National League. My only problem is that the Mets had gotten him at a bargain deal, where the Twins wanted us to cough up Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes in the same deal. The Mets stole Johan Santana given up no bodies, with the exception of Carlos Gomez. I feel that in the long run we needed to change tradition and create homegrown talent, with the Big 3 leading us to championships and pennants. All Yankee and Boston fans are all relieved that this ordeal is over with, but feel like they could have gotten johan for nothing when you look at what the Mets gave up. As a Yankee fan good riddance to these rumors and Johan Santana.

# Brent Nycz says:

January 29th, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Mark, nothing more to respond to, except that I agree.
# Yossarian says:

January 29th, 2008 at 9:53 pm

My theory is that this is Hank’s fault. He’s so blustery and won’t shut up. Smith thought that he could take advantage of him and get the Yanks to cough up Hughes and Kennedy. This situation was particularly exacerbated when Hank signed A-Rod despite Cash’s ultimatum. Cash has been trying to foster a sense of frugality, projecting the image that the Yanks won’t overpay. This allowed him to get deals done for Abreu, etc. w/out giving up the farm. Hank has completely ruined this image. Now, teams are going to be convinced that they can play Hank and rape the Yanks in every deal. When they knew that Cash had the final say, other GMs were much more willing to deal fairly. The deal they got from the Mets was a joke - comparable to Horne, Marquez, Jackson, and Betances

Smith really bungled this. It’s obvious that he never wanted Ellsbury, Lester, Lowrie, Crisp, etc. He just wanted the Yanks to up the ante, but he badly misplayed his hand when he refused the Hughes offer, claiming he liked the Ellsbury package better. Only gullible loons like Buster Olney and his colleagues could believe that. He treated the Yanks like they were idiots and got what he deserved.
# MSP Yankee says:

January 29th, 2008 at 10:01 pm

As a Yankee fan who lives in Minneapolis I feel bad for the Twins. They got fleeced. Smith would have been a LOT better off with the Yankees early offer.

But Boston did not get him and he is in another league. Good news.

Three years from now, baring injury, Hughs and Chamberlain will be proven front line pitchers and one of the two will be a star. Maybe not Santana, but a stud and a top of the line pitcher.

This worked out as well as it could. The only better scenario is that the Twins let the Yankeees fleece them not the Mets.
# River Ave. Blues » A Johan Santana post-mortem says:

January 30th, 2008 at 12:12 am

[…] Yankees Etc. feels that Smith overplayed his hand. Moshe Mandel at The Bronx Block believes that Smith got fleeced. These bloggers are upset because the Twins seemingly turned down or dallied to the point of no […]
# gianthinker says:

January 30th, 2008 at 12:13 am

Congrats to the Mets! They got a steal. Thats a bad deal by the Twins even though Gomez is nasty.

I’m just glad Hughes is sticking around. I said it all along, if we can make the deal for an IPK package fine but if it takes Hughes or Joba no way. This was good for us no matter what NY team he went to. See yah in the WS Met$!
# AviAndEsti says:

January 30th, 2008 at 12:30 am

Mo, I feel like we lost the world series.Im sure we will shmooze in depth on the subject. Im happy Hughes Is still with us. But now he better produce. If he doesnt live up to the hype I dont think we can compete with the sox or even the tigers for the matter. Especially considering the state of our bullpen. Best regards to the wife,

# Moshe Mandel says:

January 30th, 2008 at 2:16 am

It is snowing here in Israel. Being from NY, it is no big deal for me, but the city is shutting down over a few inches of slush. Pretty crazy. And Avi, what makes them worse than last year? They are at least as good, and any production from the Big 3 makes them significantly better. Meanwhile, the Tigers do not scare me, as they did not adress their pitching deficiencies.
# gianthinker says:

January 30th, 2008 at 2:56 am

I think CashMan should have made an other of something like Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera and Jeff Marquez as a last offer but I’m cool with Santana going to the Mets. They needed him the most anyway. Not to mention that I really like the idea of us going after CC Sabathia next year. But I definitely think he should have offered something like that. An IPK package would have been okay with me. I just didnt want to give up Joba or Hughes. I’d sacrifice Kennedy for Santana. But it doesnt matter anymore.
# E-ROC says:

January 30th, 2008 at 3:37 am

The Big Three is saved, barring any complications with the physical and contract negotiations.
# Moshe Mandel says:

January 30th, 2008 at 7:03 am

Bob Klapisch is reporting that the Twins called last night asking for Kennedy, Melky, and another top prospect (Jackson? Tabata?) and the Yankees declined. Read the article to see how badly Bill Smith played his cards. Unbelievable.
# Tim Sherman says:

January 30th, 2008 at 7:53 am

I keep hearing that Santana’s performance will determine Cashman’s future. I couldn’t disagree more. This was a smart move, both baseball wise and business wise. To give up that much talent for the privelege of signing Santana to a ridiculous contract would have been stupid regardless of how the players involved may perform this year. It made sense not to do this deal and should have no bearing whatsoever on Cashman’s future.
# Rob in CT says:

January 30th, 2008 at 8:37 am

All of that may be true, Tim (I personally agree), but Cashman is employed by Steinbrenners. Reason doesn’t always carry the deal. It has for now, but he could easily be fired (or simply not resigned) if the big three struggle while Santana is great for the Mets.
# Jim C. says:

January 30th, 2008 at 8:43 am

The Steinbrenners reasoned that 4 or 5 players for 1 expensive pitcher is not the right thing to do. So, we have the new Yanks, who will be young, good, flexible, and not an aging team or organization like they were just a few short years ago with Brown and Big Unit. The Yanks will have depth, and excellent young talent all around. This new Cashman approach is the right way to do it, and when its time to pay them (see Cano) Yanks will do it, unlike Oakland when they had so much good young talent.
# Twin says:

January 30th, 2008 at 8:52 am

Who cares about league?

A GM should be looking to add as much talent as he can. its not like they are in the same division or even competing with them for a few yrs. If thats his his rationale for doing this he should be fired.


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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:39 am

Joke's on us: Santana traded (for real)
Posted by Dave & Aziz Nekoukar January 29, 2008 4:40PM


We haven't stopped laughing, because the one day we finally write "there's no chance he's being traded today, of all days," USA Today is reporting that the Mets have a deal in place to acquire Johan Santana.

Ken Rosenthal says the deal is getting close, but USA Today -- not to mention our favorite "enemy" blog -- is reporting that it's a done deal.

Well, like we said today, we've cared for our requisite four seconds, and now we can celebrate: 1) keeping Joba; 2) keeping Hughes; 3) keeping IPK; and 4) not having to sign a pitcher who could be on his AL decline to a seven-year deal.

Frankly, it makes far more sense for Johan to go to the NL now, where he'll likely dominate the league with sub-3.00 ERAs for a few seasons. He'll pitch to far worse 8th and 9th hitters in every lineup, and players and teams who've never seen tape of the guy now have to play catch up.

Huge advantage to the Mets, a great deal for them in giving up just a couple of prospects, and we're happy to not have to worry about another enormous contract, and another season of what-ifs. Now, we can focus on the kids, live and die with them for a season, and grow with a new generation of youngsters.

Frankly, we couldn't be happier.

(Even if we were completely, horribly, egregiously wrong with our prediction today.)

UPDATE: One other note, as we blogger brothers just chatted by phone, wondering whether the Twins have egg on their face(s) for refusing a Yankee deal that included Phil Hughes, and now settling for far less. We came to the conclusion -- which was thrown around all over this here Internets -- that Brian Cashman never really put Hughes on the table. The Yankees were just hangin' around, with some low-level management guy leaking Hughes's name to the media to potentially drive up the price for the Red Sox, and some low-level management guy in the Boston organization floating Buchholz and Lester's names just to drive up the price for the Yankees. In reality, both teams probably spoke with the Twins, but never really wanted to give up what the Twins wanted. The Twins, recognizing that the Yanks and Sox were never, ever going to include the names the media leaked, then got desperate to get the most value for Johan, and chose the Mets's weak-ish offer...

ometimes its good to be wrong. like here.

Good for the Mets.
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Posted by kjnewk on 01/29/08 at 5:27PM

And to add to this he is not going to the Red Sox.
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Posted by yankeesdaily on 01/29/08 at 5:29PM

This is one topic we don't have to hear about anymore. Let the Met fans gloat all they want, they did get a great deal but the Yankees will now keep their young pitchers.
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Posted by yankeesdaily on 01/29/08 at 5:30PM

This is one topic we don't have to hear about anymore. Let the Met fans gloat all they want, they did get a great deal but the Yankees will now keep their young pitchers.
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Posted by yankeesdaily on 01/29/08 at 5:30PM

This is one topic we don't have to hear about anymore. Let the Met fans gloat all they want, they did get a great deal but the Yankees will now keep their young pitchers.
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Posted by yankeesdaily on 01/29/08 at 5:32PM

On your update. Bravo. It makes a lot of sense. I had a feeling that the Yankees and Red Sox were playing games with one another but never intended to do anything about it.
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Posted by yankeesdaily on 01/29/08 at 5:33PM

Sorry for all of those duplicate posts too! My mistake
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Posted by ChrisW on 01/29/08 at 5:56PM

It is a little disappointing to see Santana go anywhere for so little and the fact it's a team I despise, compounds my disappointment. That said, as has been mentioned many times, this extension is a big gamble. For Minaya ( overrated by the media because he plays them like a fiddle), he better be great and stay healthy. If this does gut their system, they may still have problems, no matter how great Johan pitches because some players like Wagner and Delgado will be free agents after next year.
Now it's up to Hughes and Kenedy to prove Cashman right.
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Posted by SteveB1956 on 01/29/08 at 6:04PM

If Hughes and Kennedy develop the way the scouts say, the true winner here will be the Yankees. And for the first time in memory, the Yankees made it crystal clear to the rest of baseball that it is no longer their policy to trade their future to acquire & overpay for established stars. This is a good day.

And nice move by the Metsies. They really did need Santana. Santana will do well in the NL, he'll make Omar look good. This is one of the rare times I've been rooting for them. Excuse me while I go wash my hands now.

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Posted by Squid111 on 01/29/08 at 7:22PM

Great day for the Mets!!!

Wouldn't another subway series be nice. One step closer.
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Posted by SCOTT97701 on 01/29/08 at 9:14PM

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Posted by Mike1953 on 01/30/08 at 2:41AM

I'm not unhappy that he was traded t the Mets. I'm also not unhappy that he wasn't a Yankee. I wouldn't have been unhappy had he became a Yankee.

I am estatic though that we will all get a chance to see all these young pitchers develop. It's exciting to me to watch these kids as Yankees and not in some other uniform. There may be some growing pains in 08 on into 09, but with time this is going to be one terrific staff with tremendous depth. AND its not just Hughes, Kennedy, and Chamberlain, but its the kids behind the kids that make it more exciting to think about. Horne, Ramirez, Veras, Sanchez, J Brent, Marquez, just to name a few

It will also be fun to watch Cash finish what he started (he will be back) and watch the young position players develop as well.

I really think all the pieces are there. It will just take a year or two to grow and reap the rewards. Exciting times are abundant in the Yankee posse.

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Posted by Mike1953 on 01/30/08 at 2:45AM

Maybe Yankee Young'uns is better? Yankee Yuppies? Yankee Young Guns? Yankee Fraternity?

I'm not very good at this nickname thing........
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Posted by Mike1953 on 01/30/08 at 2:49AM

I also meant Ecstatic instead of estatic whatever that means.......Hey its 3am......I'm tired.....and bored.........My brain has mostly shut down.
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Posted by iopsc on 01/30/08 at 8:22AM

This is the best possible outcome for the Yankees.

They don't give up the farm (litterally).
Boston doesn't get him either.
He is out of the AL.
Mn management has been shown to be inept.

I think the "Big 3" are going to earn Cashman a contract extension.

Now if they can somehow get rid of Giambi.......


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Posted by sabrayank on 01/30/08 at 8:40AM

As a life long Yankee fan, I am delighted that the Yankees are operating like a baseball team and not like a fantasy player.

While Santana might be great now, and still have some gass left in the tank, is he worth what the Twins were asking? In my mind, no way.

Best of luck to the Mets. Enjoy it while it lasts. 7 years is a long time.
Cash showed a lot of guts. Great job.
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