Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Twins trade Santana to the Mets

The Twins have traded two-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher Johan Santana to the New York Mets for prospects Carlos Gomez, Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey, and Deolis Guerra. There is much to say about this deal, but I will try to stay concise.

At the beginning of 2007 the Twins had a chance to extend Santana’s contract and did not. Hoping to contend for a World Series, they instead tanked leaving Santana frustrated, and I believe looking to move on no matter what.

Like Torii Hunter, Santana said all the right things, but when he turned down a 5 year $93 million dollar contact from the Twins, it was time to part ways. Unfortunately, Twins GM Bill Smith had an offer from the Yankees of super pitching prospect Phil Hughes and big league outfielder Melky Cabrera plus other prospects. Smith did not take the deal, holding out for more. The Yankees withdrew the offer of Hughes, and Smith was left with this.

Once before the Twins were forced into trading a CY Young winning left-handed pitcher to the Mets. In 1989 Frank Viola was traded to the Mets for a spot starter name Rick Aguilera, top pitching prospect David West, and three other minor league pitchers named Kevin Tapani, Tim Drummond, and Jack Savage.

The Viola trade was widely considered a bad trade by Twins fans and the national media. West never panned out, but Aguilera was converted into a closer and became the Twins best reliever ever. Tapani became a fine #2 starter and along with Aguilera helped the Twins win the 1991 World Series.

Time will tell if this was a bad trade or not, but rushing to a judgment now would not be a good idea.