December 10, 2007

Is Johan Just a Winter Mirage for the Mets?

A few days ago, over at Metsblog, Matthew Cerrone speculated that the Mets might be in the lead for Twins' star pitcher, Johan Santana, at a time when it still looked like the Red Sox were in the lead to acquire the lefty's services. Cerrone's reasoning included:


from what i can gather, Johan Santana prefers to be on the Mets, where he can a) be in New York City, and b) get out of the hitter-dominant American League…


There has been much speculation as to the Mets' ability to put together an enticing enough package to lure Santana over from Minnesota, as new GM Bill Smith will be judged on this move, probably greater than on any other one he makes in his (long or short) tenure as Twins' GM. Cerrone speculated on this as well:


as such, the Mets and Twins have essentially agreed upon what players can and cannot be involved in the trade, and so it’s now up to santana and his agents to frame out a contract extension…

Obviously, any trade would have to include either Fernando Martinez or Carlos Gomez at the top, along with pitcher Mike Pelfrey and, probably, reliever/starter Aaron Heilman. There would be, I'm sure, at least one or possibly two other players included, based upon what the Twins offers have been up until now, all of whom they have turned down. Heilman would be the most intriquing for them, as it would allow them to trade their all-star closer, Joe Nathan, for additional young players. However, if the trade meant also including pitcher Kevin Mulvey AND both Gomez and Martinez, would you do it???? I am not so sure, as it has taken Omar over 2 years to simply get the top-end talent that we already have. Although Santana is the best pitcher in baseball right now, signing him will take between $20 and $25 million dollars per year. I know it's the Wilpon's money, but as a Mets' fan, it's also ours! If the Wilpon's spend that kind of money on Santana, they might not be as willing to trade for a highly paid player later in the season, if we really needed one, as our payroll will then approach the $140 million range. We would have a minor league system practically devoid of top and mid-level talent, and would have to rely on free agency way more than we would like, which would also mean accelerating the payroll exponentially, once again, in order to fill any needs we'd have between 2008 and the all-important 2009, when Citi Field opens.

All of this being said, what conclusion can we come to?

First, if we are able to acquire Santana, which I still believe is a very big long-shot, but somehow doable, we need to have a few top prospects still with the club (Mulvey, Humber, Guerra, Pena, Niese, and Martinez OR Gomez, at the least). I am sure Cerrone's sources are accurate, as they usually are, but this is a game where the rules are apt to change daily, and what is true today probably won't be tomorrow. Again, we are looking at a new GM, Bill Smith, who is following in the footsteps of one of the most revered GMs in the game, Terry Ryan. He is liable to change which way he leans towards at least 20 more times before the trade is completed, IF it is completed. He could simply grow tired of this trade-game and decide to keep Santana and let him walk away as a free agent, figuring he'd get to ride his arm one more season, and acquire two top level draft picks if he were to walk away. He might also be able to convince Santana to accept a trade mid-season, which Santana had already said he wouldn't do, if it were to a contender where Santana could be the link to put them over the top. There are still lots of options open, which is why this trade might not be resolved until Spring Training...or, then again, it might be finalized this Friday- who knows????

Second, if we did acquire Santana and signed him to a 5-7 year contract (my guess, for insurance purposes, would be a 5-year deal with 2 option years), the Wilpons' would have to be willing to make available additional funds for Omar in order to procure some additional help either during the season or in the off-season, as we won't have the young horses ready to step in at that juncture.

Third, Omar HAS to have a fantastic draft this year, centered on pitching, pitching and MORE pitching, a la what Brian Cashman pulled off over the past 3 drafts, in order to both re-stock our system but also to create additional trading chips should some other top tier talent become available to the team for trade. This would be especially true if he were to trade 4 or 5 of his top tier most-talented players in a Santana trade.

Finally, I still hold out the slimmest of hopes that Santana will be our starting pitcher on Opening Day, 2008 - but I am ever an optimist where the Mets' are concerned and am still holding onto hope that either Carney Landsford or Willie Mays Aikens will be traded to us, and that hasn't happened yet these past 25+ years, either...

The only thing we can do, at this point, is to keep checking back here at the site, or over at ESPN or Fox Sports or Sports Illustrated every so often...however, I get the feeling that, IF Santana was traded to Queens, I wouldn't need to hear about it online or on WFAN- I'd probably hear the shouts of joy all the way in Los Angeles!!!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

very well put David and Jonathan. Its what ive been preaching all along about us then turning into the Yankees and having to buyplayers while we buy ime for the farm system to get back to normal.

Anonymous said...

i cant help but thinkabout if he was traded to you

Anonymous said...

youd probably get a call from one of the shea nation writers as fast as sound travels

Nick Byrns said...

Did you guys ever catch who was stealing your articles???

Anonymous said...

hail to the voice of reason. Well put guys

Anonymous said...

i still wanthim...fantasy or not...

David Rubin & Jonathan Elfenbein said...

We actually DID catch the person, and the matter is resolved! We have seen amazing support, both from our great regular readers, like yourselves, and from most of the other major Mets'-based blogs, which was great to see!!! Whether you read Mets' news here or elsewhere, we are always one Mets' family and it's really gratifying to see our fanbase come together like no other team's can!

Now let's pray for Santana- at a REASONABLE price!!!!

Best,
David

Anonymous said...

back on santana...i say we just move on

Anonymous said...

i fell like a plumber with all of these pipe dreams thisoff season

Anonymous said...

although he would be a great asset o have, i just dont think its a realistic move for the mets to make and therefore shouldnt do. by the way we still have 2 young 15 game winners on the mets already

David Rubin & Jonathan Elfenbein said...

When teams like the Red Sox and Yankees are involved, unfortunately, the reality is, we will be second-best until we win a world series and have a number of seasons in a row of being a top contender. Until that time, and until a stronger farm system is built, it almost seems silly to trade practically every young player we have and have to pay so much for a single player when we could possibly get 12-15 wins from a combo of Pelfrey, Humber, Mulvey and possibly Heilman while paying less than 4 mil total for that combo and waiting until June to see how we are playing at that time. I'd hate to give up so much talent, then have injuries hit like they did last year and not have suitablt talent to bring up from the minors. That is what saved the Yankees last season, and what might do likewise for us were we to fall into a similar situation.