In an incredible turn of events, Johan Santana has found his way to New York, but not to play for the Yankees.
The Mets just made the move. While the Yankees, Red Sox, and other teams with better talent gave up a chance to land the best pitcher on the planet, the Mets stuck to their guns and got their man.
The package consists of four prospects: outfielder/lead-off candidate Carlos Gomez, and potential starting pitchers Kevin Mulvey, Phil Humber, and Deolis Guerra. Amazingly, the Twins somehow came away with the worst of the many offers they received, managing to get more of a grab-bag of mediocrity and distant potential than anything close to near-Majors sure-things.
Packages from the Red Sox consisting of Jon Lester, Jed Lowrie, Justin Masterson, and Coco Crisp or Jacoby Ellsbury, Justin Masterson, and Jed Lowrie failed to take the cake. The Yankees’ solid offer of Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, and another prospect (either Jeff Marquez, Austin Jackson, or a million different options) didn’t cut it. And now the Twins are stuck with this: two back-of-the-rotation starters in Mulvey and Humber, a guy who might be a good lead-off hitter with little power in Gomez, and an 18-year-old kid with a great arm and not much more in Guerra. Does that sound like enough for the closest thing we’ve got to the Red Sox version of Santana’s new teammate, future Hall-of-Famer Pedro Martinez?
The fact that the Twins were unable to acquire the Mets’ top prospect, Fernando Martinez, also astounds me. The Mets were desperate for an ace of any sort–let alone the best pitcher in the game–yet somehow managed to beat Twins GM Bill Smith and the front offices in the Bronx and Kenmore Sqaure in a game of chicken. When Smith finally panicked, swerving out of anonymity and into the headlines, he took the best offer he could get at an arbitrary date–January 29–more than six months away from this season’s trade deadline.
Laughable and sad, it looks like Smith’s George Bush-like “strategery” may have cost the Twins a chance at competing for a World Series title as early as two years from now had they chosen one of the previous quality offers on the table.
Instead, Omar Minaya and the rest of his Queens front office miraculously find themselves cackling with glee as they prepare an expensive new document with “Johan Santana” and “New York Mets” written right where it counts the most.