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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Say it ain't so Santana

Alright MVB readers, I am still alive and I apologize for the long delay. My 10 day long roadtrip with no internet coupled with the fact that I thought if I didn't post about the Johan Santana news maybe it wouldn't come true, leaves me with a very overdue post.

So as everyone knows by now, last Friday, the Twins officially traded ace Johan Santana to the New York Mets when he signed a 6-year extension for $137.5 million. After a Friday, February 1st, 5 pm deadline had passed for the Mets to sign Santana to a deal it took a two hour extenstion for the two sides to agree on a deal.

In return, the Twins received a package of 4 prospects from the Mets: CF Carlos Gomez (22), P Deolis Guerra (18), P Phil Humber (26), and P Kevin Mulvey (22).

I don't need to link you to all the articles reviewing the trade and experts giving their analysis, but many baseball people have deemed the players on the Twins side as undervalue for Santana. Yet, I sympathize with the situation that GM Bill Smith was in. He was caught in between a rock and a hard place, and when it came down to it the New York Mets were really the only team he had left to deal with.

Smith may have overplayed his hand causing the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox to drop out of the race, but in the end it was time for Santana to go. Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire expressed concern over the distraction of bringing Santana back to Spring Training in Fort Myers.

So Santana is gone and the Twins now usher in a new era. I have to admit it would have been nice to see the Yanks' stud pitcher Phil Hughes, the Sox's slick outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, or even top Met prospect Fernando Martinez come over in a deal, but a trade like this will always seem unfair until years down the road. Maybe Santana will dominate in the NL, win multiple Cy Young awards, take a very good team to World Series, and the four prospects will never pan out for the Twins. But also, maybe Santana will have a couple solid seasons and begin to deteriorate as Gomez replaces Torii Hunter, Mulvey and Humber become solid starters in the rotation, and the young Guerra develops into an ace. Who knows???

For a more in-depth description of the Twins new prospects, Minor League Baseball.com offers a good review.

The Santana deal came shortly after the Twins locked up their young stars Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer. This duo along with star Joe Mauer are now the leaders of this very young club. As Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune writes, the Twins are set to contend in their new ballpark in 2010.

A bulk of my blog posts in the past 3 months have been devoted to Santana and the impending trade. If you want a great review of how this deal came to be and all the rumors and teams in between here is the offseason Santana review.

All and all the deal is a tough one to swallow. It is hard to patient and see if these prospects will contribute someday, and it is even harder to see a great player and class act like Santana leave. I'm happy for Santana as he really came out on top. He's making record money, going to a league with a significantly less quality of hitters, moving to a pitcher's ballpark, and to a team with much more run support. At the same time, the Twins organization has a history of succeeding in large prospect heavy deals like this, ex. Chuck Knoblauch to Yankees for Eric Milton, Christian Guzman and the biggest steal ever A.J. Pierzynksi to the Giants for Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser, and that one kid named Francisco Liriano.

Someday we will know how this deals turns out, but until then I think the 2008 Twins will be young, inexperienced, raw, but very fun to watch.

MVB readers... I'd love to hear your take on the deal in the comments section?

Also, stay tuned for a position by position preview of the 2008 Twins as we prepare for Spring Training.

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