Friday, December 07, 2007

Wrapping Up a Long Week

This has been a crazy week for Twins fans. The Johan Santana rumors were flying non-stop for about 72 straight hours, and at several points it seemed that a deal was imminent. Yet, here we are; the Winter Meetings have come and gone, and Santana is still a Twin for the time being. I'm of the opinion that Bill Smith's patience in this situation is a good thing. The deals that have reportedly been proposed have been extremely underwhelming, and I have to imagine that some team is going to come to its senses and cough up some real value in order to bring in the best pitcher on the planet. That said, the Twins need to make a decision on Santana in the near future, because the rest of the their moves this offseason will be dictated by what happens with him.

Anyway, here are some notes to wrap up this hectic week:

* Our pal Aaron Gleeman, who kept a running string of Santana updates on his blog on Wednesday and Thursday, noted on Wednesday evening that La Velle E. Neal III had said "it appears unlikely a deal will be reached this week." This prompted Gleeman to state that "the past 72 hours appear to have been a whole lot of nothing. Well covered, widely read nothing, but still nothing."

Not sure I'd agree with that last part. The Santana Saga has been widely read, to be sure, but "well covered"? I'm not real satisfied by the way this whole situation has been covered by the national media. Does reporting every small, unsubstantiated rumor and watching it get picked up by several outlets and subsequently blown out of proportion really constitute good coverage? I wouldn't say so.

I am actually quite satisfied with the way Neal covered the Winter Meetings. As a Twins' beat writer, you might expect him to be the most active reporter in pumping out Santana rumors, but he kept fairly quiet and reserved. I saw many people accuse him of being overly slow or sparse in his coverage, but I'm glad he chose not to contribute to the hysteria by running every unsubstantiated rumor on his blog.

From this point forward, I've chosen to take basically everything I hear regarding Santana with a grain of salt, unless I'm hearing it from a source I truly trust (like Neal). That way, I don't have to get worked up about fabricated rumors of a horrendous three-way deal that would result in the Twins getting Dan Haren and essentially nothing else for Santana. Yuck.

* In yesterday's column I previewed the Rule 5 draft, writing blurbs about the two players I was most worried about seeing the Twins lose: Yohan Pino and Garrett Guzman. Thankfully, Pino is safe, but unfortunately Guzman was grabbed up by the Washington Nationals. If he sticks with the Nats, it's not a crippling loss, because Guzman really doesn't project as anything more than a fourth outfielder at best, but the Twins are not an organization that can afford to be letting quality hitting prospects go for free. Aside from Guzman, the Twins also lost outfielder Rashad Eldridge, and pitchers R.A. Dickey (whom they had just recently signed), Tim Lahey, J.P. Martinez, and Joshua Hill. Guzman, Lahey and Dickey were selected in the major-league portion of the draft, meaning they will need to spend the entire season on the drafting team's 25-man roster or be sent back to the Twins.

* The Dodgers agreed to terms with center fielder Andruw Jones yesterday on a contract worth about $36 million over two years. With the addition of Jones, the Dodgers seemingly have an overloaded outfield, which would perhaps make it more palatable for GM Ned Colletti to part with Matt Kemp, who has always been my favorite player associated with the Santana rumors. Of course, the Dodgers have reportedly been very quiet in the Santana sweepstakes, and there are major questions about whether they would be willing to pony up the cash to sign the star left-hander long-term. Still, my dreams of a Santana-for-Kemp and Clayton Kershaw swap will continue to dance faintly.

* New York Mets GM Omar Minaya told the Associated Press that he thinks he has the players to bring in Santana, even without trading star shortstop Jose Reyes. Most people are skeptical about the Mets' ability to put together a worthy package without Reyes, but I'm pretty high on outfield prospects Carlos Gomez and Fernando Martinez (especially Gomez). The big downside with the Mets is that they lack high-end pitching prospects that might help offset the loss of the Twins' ace.

32 comments:

Josh's Thoughts said...

I think that Gomez has a lot of potential, but to me right now, he's just a track star playing baseball.

What makes you so high on him? His age? Build?

I think he'd be a good pickup in a Santana trade, but I'm not sold on him as a centerpiece.

I really don't know if the Twins could work out a deal with the Mets, unless it either included Jose Reyes or unless the Twins like some of their prospects to a great extent. I wonder if there's another player that catches the Twins eye that hasn't really been mentioned before, possibly Ruben Gotay? Anderson Hernandez?

Good stuff, Nick.

Nick N. said...

What makes you so high on him? His age? Build?

Yes, both of those things. The scouting reports I've read on Gomez have been really positive, and he's been making a lot of great progress as a pro. I mean, people probably just thought of Jose Reyes as a track star playing baseball initially; I think Gomez has a chance to be a similar player but with more patience and power. He's obviously very raw at this point, but I like his upside a lot.

Tricia said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who hated that rumored deal between the Twins-Mets-A's. Yuck is right. The Twins would've gotten the short end of the stick on that one for sure.

Anonymous said...

The Mets seem like the most natural fit for Santana. Their farm is undervalued and the seem willing to move any piece except Wright, Reyes or Beltran.

Better move Johan before his value drops.

Nick N. said...

The Mets seem like the most natural fit for Santana. Their farm is undervalued and the seem willing to move any piece except Wright, Reyes or Beltran.

Indeed. The Mets need Santana more than any of the other teams bidding, so the Twins might be able to pry more out of them than the Yanks or Sox. I'd also really rather see Santana go to the NL. If he goes to Boston, is there any question that we've got a dynasty on our hands?

Anonymous said...

I'd hate to see the Twins lose to the Red Sox and Yankees in our own building. If he's going to be traded, please send him somewhere where we don't have to watch.

Jayg27 said...

I don't get your opposition to Gomez! I saw some of his minor league films and he covers CF extremely well. Very quick bat and super instincts on the bases.

I would only do this trade IF he's the centerpiece of it. Listen we're losing Santana no matter what, this guy seems like the best player out of any of the offers out there right now (Sox, Yanks). If the Mets add that nasty side-armer Smith, I'd do the trade for those two alone.

DEVILRAYALLTHEWAY said...

I think everyone forgets that its Santana who holds all the cards here. He can veto any deal. He may as well pick his destination and tell the Twins to get what they can from that team, or get absolutely nothing after the year, and he still goes to that team.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Gomez is a track star right now that could mature into something special. I think I saw somewhere that he was faster than jose Reyes too, and isn't that kid the fastest person in the MLB?

If we trade Johan to the Yankees or Red Sox I think i'll give up my twins cap for good...could you guys imagine watching him come into our house and mow us down on one of those evil teams???

I don't know much about that Smith guy, so I wouldn't get too excited about him, but maybe that other guy in their bullpen...Heilmann? How about Perez, wasn't he a phenom a year or two ago?

Nick N. said...

I don't get your opposition to Gomez! I saw some of his minor league films and he covers CF extremely well. Very quick bat and super instincts on the bases.

I hope that wasn't directed at me. I made sure to note that I'm especially high on Gomez. People would love having him here -- he's a lot of fun to watch.

I think everyone forgets that its Santana who holds all the cards here. He can veto any deal.

True, but I really don't think Santana would veto a deal to either of the New York teams, or to Boston.

I don't know much about that Smith guy, so I wouldn't get too excited about him, but maybe that other guy in their bullpen...Heilmann? How about Perez, wasn't he a phenom a year or two ago?

The Twins originally drafted Heilman back in the first round of the 2000 draft, but they were unable to sign him. I could see them wanting to bring him in. He's far from a prospect at this point though.

devilrayalltheway said...

I agree that he probably would accept a trade to either NY team or Boston, but if I were him, and I wanted out of Minnesota, I pick the 1 team I most wanted and tell the Twins it is this team or you get nothing for me.

Anonymous said...

We need to trade Santana because if he leaves as a free agent then the best we can hope for is a player or two that helps the team in 5 years, maybe.

This team is built to make a run within the next 2 years.

I don't know if it's better to trade him now or closer to August but either way he's too valuable to keep.

The trade with the Giants was the best in years. The Dodgers and Mets are the two teams that make the most sense. They will overpay because they think they have to do so.

The Red Sox and Yankees 'overhype' their players. Melky Cabrerra is a 4th outfielder and I tired of listening to Gammons rant about the 'Sox' farm depth.

John said...

I agree that he probably would accept a trade to either NY team or Boston, but if I were him, and I wanted out of Minnesota, I pick the 1 team I most wanted and tell the Twins it is this team or you get nothing for me.

Santana will have $140 million reasons to accept whoever the Twins want to trade him too. He can cash in on a deal, or he can risk next year for .... what exactly? An extra few million dollars and a chance to play for a different group of mercenaries?

And what happens if he has a great year but ends up as only the fifth best pitcher in the majors? He may not even get that. The risk/reward ratio here is pretty clear. If he gets a ceiling type deal without having to throw another pitch (let alone another 3000), he'll take it, even if it's with the Rangers. He'd be crazy not too.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your assesment about the media coverage.

James

Identical Twin said...

The Mets are the way to go.

Gomez IS gonna be the OF version of Reyes.!! Though I'd probably like to see him start the year in AAA, just to work him in slowly.

Maybe ask for Church too, so he can start until Gomez is ready?

And don't underestimate Mike Pelfrey. That kid has a mean fastball that consinstently hits 95-97 with very good movement.

He's gonna be a star.

Both Gomez and Pelfrey will be stars.

Make the deal now Smith!!!

Before someone tells the Mets that their guys are MUCH better than people are giving them credit for.

Gomez/Pelfrey/Church/Humber/Martinez!!

Let's get this done already. I promise we'll be bragging about a steal in 2 years.

I love you Johan, and you'll still be my favorite pitcher....in the NL.!!

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Nick N. said...

And don't underestimate Mike Pelfrey. That kid has a mean fastball that consinstently hits 95-97 with very good movement.

Unfortunately, that's about all he's got. I don't think much of Pelfrey.

Matt P said...

in other news, Brandon Inge said he won't be returning to the tigers to be their back up third baseman. could this be good news for the twins? i hope so.

Anonymous said...

I still think Pelfrey has what it takes to be a big pitcher on the ML level. He is a groundball pitcher too...so as long as the defense around him is sound, I think he will be successful.

Gomez is going to be a stud...just wait. I saw him play a few games vs. the Yankees last season and he was nagging them big time on the basepaths. We could use him.

Place Heilman and Joe Smith in the deal as insurance if we try to trade Nathan, and I think we have a match.

Itsmetsforme said...

you guys will love Gomez and Pelfrey. We'll even toss in Heilman, who you may not love as much. Lets get it on!!

Anonymous said...

Mets fan here...

I'm glad to see you're all interested in our prospects! I just wanted to give you guys a little scoop on the guys we're offering so you know a little more about them.

The prospect in the Mets system that the Twins probably want the most is Fernando Martinez, a 19 year old phenom whose torn it up at every level he's been at and is a top 5 OF prospect in the majors. If I had to chose between trading him and Gomez, I'd have to say Gomez, and I think 95% of Met fans would agree. As many of you have said, Gomez can FLY, but as of now he really isn't much of a hitter. He was really overpowered when he came up last year, but as he gains experience he should be a solid hitter. I think he can be another Carl Crawford at his best, but at this point he's just Nuke Logan. As for Pelfrey, he struggled last year, but the kids got nasty stuff and pitched very well towards the end of the year. I personally think he's going to be very good. Kevin Mulvey is another guy that a lot of teams want but the Mets seem reluctant to trade, he's a kid that the Mets got in the 2nd round two years ago and pitched very well in AA. Personally, I like Pelfrey more than him, but it seems Mets management sees it the other way around. Deolis Guerra is another guy to keep an eye on--if you get him, be happy, because he's only 18 and many already consider him the Mets best pitching prospect. As for Joe Smith, he came up and was unhittable in the first half last year, then fell apart in the 2nd half. However, this could be due to the fact that he made the team out of half a season in A ball and had never pitched a full year before. As of now, he's just Chad Bradford, so for the person who said he'd do Gomez + Smith, trust me, the Mets couldn't be more thrilled. As for Heilman, he's been a very good set-up man for us for 3 years now. He goes through stretches where he's dominant, but he does at times give up the big hit. He'd be a very nice addition to your pen though I don't think you'll get Ollie Perez, who had 15 wins and a 3.5 ERA last year...this is the same guy that was 4th in the league in strikeouts with a 2.98 ERA just a few years ago and seems like he's back to being that pitcher again. I can see Church as a fit for you guys too, as he's under contract cheaply for 4 years and can play right if you want to put Cuddyer at DH. Many think that the Mets may have traded Milledge to get Church as trade bait. Ruben Gotay is a young second baseman who tore it up when he came up but eventually came back to earth, but I think he'd give you a good LH bench player who can maybe beat out Castilla...he's clutch and hits righties very well. Not a good defensive player though.

I hope this helps. It seems your FO loves Gomez (apparently they offered Garza for him but were turned down, which I don't understand), so I can see a deal being centered around him.

As a Met fan, I think a fair deal would be something like Gomez, Mulvey, Church, and Heilman for Santana. It'd be a good return for you guys, better than any package I think you'd get from the Sox. Many scouts think Gomez is better than Ellsbury, and you'd be getting our best pitching prospect by performance last year, a very good set-up man, and a solid everyday OF.

Happy trading!

JEC said...

Good summary. As a Mets fan myself, I think an offer structured like this would be fair for both teams:

Carlos Gomez OR Fernando Martinez (not both)

plus

Aaron Heilman OR Deolis Guerra (proven reliever/possible starter or our #1 pitching prospect)

plus

Joe Smith
Mike Pelfrey
Kevin Mulvey
Phil Humber

6 for 1. It's a lot for the Mets to give up, the system would be bare, but I think it's a reasonable offer for best pitcher in baseball. The Mets biggest advantage is their willingness to gut the farm system.

Anonymous said...

Jec,

As a Twins fan, I think you are giving up too much.

Ha...I'm saying this because I remember the Herschel Walker trade. That might be the only way the Mets get Johan, but they might regret it down the line.

Nick N. said...

Thanks Mets fans for the analysis, it's great to get some inside perspective on the players we're discussing here.

Kevin said...

To uhh further some of the analysis of met prospects, I'll throw my 2 cents in...

Gomez: Well covered by those who have posted, but I am not as high on him as other Met fans. He is tall and has a lanky frame. He does have some bat speed, but his swing is awfully due to his size. He often made up for his lack of hitting experience by bunting himself on base and creating runs by stealing more bases. Defensively, it doesnt get much better. He covers a TON of ground and has a ++ arm.

His defense is there, his running is there, his intensity, hunger, and concentration is all there at such a young age. Whether or not his bat ever develops will be the key to him being A rich mans Coco crisp or Alex Rios.

Heilman- When he first came up, he was a starter. He had isolated success at one point throwing a CG shutout. Plus fastball (94-96, I've seen him hit 97 at times). and a ++ changeup. His change is flat out NASTY, and I've seen him throw 3 changeups and 3 swing and misses against MLB hitters.

Fmart- 19 in AA with an OPS of 700.. enough said.

Mulvey- One of those pitchers who does everything well but nothing great.

Pelfrey- Straight up flame thrower. 95-97. Last year when he first came up he was throwing 98 consistently on his 4 seemer.

He has a + sink at 92-95 and thats pretty much it. He must develop his secondaries, not chienming wang.. (yet).

Humber- plus curve and thats about it. Still finding his rythm after TJ surgery. Pre-surgery he was at 95 with a + curve. Now he is around 90-92 with a weak 3third pitch.




As a met fan, Id be willing to do a 4for 1 and perhaps a 5for 1.

Gomez Pelfrey Gotay Heilman
Gomez Mulvey Humber Gotay Heilman

If you want Oliver Perez,

OP Gomez Gotay


Of our youngsters, the only untouchables are reyes, wright, beltran, fmart and maine. Everyone else you can have for the right package.

Kevin said...

I also want to add that most Met fans feel that that Boston package basically... sucks.

Unless you believe Masterson and whoever else is being offered can develop into real players, you're basically getting a defensive player and Jon Lester.

Lester has control issues, but they arent "wild" control issues- it seems like he is always a bit off and trys too hard to AIM the ball.

In fenway, I dont bother looking at his ERA, its going to be inflated as a lefty.

Unless you think Lester develops into a 2 or a 3 I don't understand why the BOS package is even enticing.

Personally, I am down on Phil Hughes. Hes a fastball curve guy through and through since coming back from the injury, and I don't regard pitchers who have a + curve and nothing else too well. I know that he threw a changeup in the minor leagues, but he was probably having issues with consistency and his groin coming back. He has pinpoint accuracy and good stuff. I'm surprised twins didnt accept their offer.. I wouldve taken it the 2nd Yanks allowed Hughes to be traded.

Nick N. said...

If you want Oliver Perez,

OP Gomez Gotay


I'd like that package. If the Twins can get Perez back to his 2004 form, he's the closest thing to Santana that they're going to find.

Unless you think Lester develops into a 2 or a 3 I don't understand why the BOS package is even enticing.

Yeah, unless Boston includes Lester AND Ellsbury, their offer doesn't interest me.

Personally, I am down on Phil Hughes. Hes a fastball curve guy through and through since coming back from the injury, and I don't regard pitchers who have a + curve and nothing else too well.

I dunno, Hughes throws hard and has very good control to go along with that excellent curve. I could see him being a Josh Beckett type pitcher.

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