Monday, January 14, 2008

It Shouldn't Even Be A Question

(Way too lazy/tired to photoshop Santana's face in there...but you get the drift)

John Peterson at Blastings! Thrilledge posted this recently:
There will be great celebration by sportswriters and fans when the Mets acquire Johan Santana, but not at Blastings! Thrilledge. It will mean the Mets have lost...

It's true that Johan Santana is a fantastic pitcher, and would make the Mets the clear favorite in the NL East, instead of just the likely Champion. But to trade no less than four prospects, your best four excluding Fernando Martinez, and pretty much your only four besides, is just too much...

The offer as it stands, apparently, is Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey, Philip Humber and Deolis Guerra. This is already too much, but the Twins want F-Mart as well. And why not? The Mets have already shown how little they value their young players, how desperate they are to win now, at any cost...

Sure, the Mets add one of the best pitchers in baseball. But they will have to give him a large contract, and after next year will have to hand out even more money to replace Pedro and El Duque in the rotation, their young pitchers having been traded to Minnesota.

Next offseason the Mets will also have to retain the services of an outfielder, with Alou gone, Gomez traded and Fernando Martinez still developing.

All of these free agent signings will strip the Mets of their top-round draft picks, further depriving an already destitute farm system of talent.

When will this shit end?
Metstradamus was a bit more optimistic...but still wondered if Johan Santana was going to be the Mets fans version of Herschel Walker.

Alright. It's time to look at this from an objective viewpoint. This is Johan Goddamn Santana people. 3 of the past 4 years he has posted a sub-1.00 WHIP. His career ERA+ is 140. To put that into perspective the 2007 Met with the highest ERA+ (excluding Pedro's 3 weeks) was Ollie Perez at 120.

Santana gave up a lot more HRs than usual and saw his ERA rise over 3 last season and still posted a 130 ERA+ In other words, a down year from Johan Santana is still ten-percent better than the best pitcher we had last season.

Does this mean Santana is entering the downside of his career? I doubt it. He posted a better 2006 than 2005 and after coming off a super-human 2004 anything he does is bound to be criticized for not matching up. He's two years removed from winning the AL triple crown for pitchers and we're worried about Carlos Gomez?

And the worries about trading too many prospects are reasonable given the Mets history of horrendous trades (I won't yet concede the Milledge deal was a bust but you can). But this is different. This isn't Robbie Alomar and this isn't Victor Zambrano. This is arguably the greatest LHP of this generation who already has 2 Cy Young Awards under his belt and averages 220 K's per 162 IP and he's only going to 29 on opening day 2008.

So if the Twins want Humber and his underwhelming self they can have him. If they want Gomez and his freakish speed they can have him. If they want Guerra and his supposedly tremendous upside they can have him. And Omar'll even throw in Kevin Mulvey at no extra charge.

An opportunity to acquire a pitcher of Santana's caliber comes along once in a generation. Could Guerra turn into an ace in Minneapolis with Mulvey and Humber following in the rotation and Gomez swiping 100 bases a year and winning gold gloves in CF? They sure could. But I wouldn't bet on it...and I sure as hell wouldn't let that gamble stand in the way of acquiring a bona fide ace who will fill a void that this team desperately needs to fill.


John Peterson said...

Point noted. If a trade happening doesn't preempt me, I'll post some quantitative analysis re: wins gained, dollar value, all that good stuff for next year, and the following years at B!T. In the meantime, I suggest you read the article I just linked.

It might be that it's a good idea to trade for one year of Santana and then sign him at the rate we would have paid next year anyway, especially if it pushes the Mets over the top. It's not clear that it is, or that it will.

At this point, it's more about my frustration with how the Mets treat young players than anything else. The economics of baseball are changing, youngsters are worth more than ever, and the Mets are missing the boat.

MP said...

Look for a post evaluating the prospects and entire trade at some point this weekend.