I can't even believe it.
I half expect that the Mets and Johan Santana will not be able to reach a contract extension....or Santana will fail his physical. There's no way this could be happening.
But I think it is.
I partly said the trade wasn't going to happen at all because I didn't want him not to go to the Mets. But a small, small part of me felt really good about the chances of Santana coming to the Mets. I can't put my finger on why - perhaps because after all the Yankees and Red Sox talk during the Winter Meetings, and especially the Red Sox talk after the meetings....the Mets name came up again. And it didn't seem likely that those were just rumors. And I bet the Twins were enticed by the fact that they wouldn't have to see Santana a few times a year if he stayed in the American League - if they traded him to the Mets, they would face him once every three years.
Bottom Line: I'm thrilled. And so is Steve in Queens:
"As one of your loyal readers, I demand that you comment on the Johan Santana deal. Although the football talk has been interesting, this truly signifies a turning point where all focus should be placed on the Mets. I can't believe that the Mets just got the best pitcher in the game for 4 guys who may or may not amount to much. Based on the Mets track record of farm system pitchers (Izzy / Wilson / Pulsipher), this may very well be the best deal in Mets history. I would love to hear your thoughts on that."
I think you're exactly right, Steve. And that's part of the reason I'm still waiting for the bad news, or the catch. Because the Mets don't usually make deals this good. I liked watching Carlos Gomez play - he has great speed, he's a good defender, but he's a stellar trading chip, and the Mets turned him into Johan Santana. Kevin Mulvey had some good minor league numbers, but Mets minor league pitchers are a crapshoot (also the case with Philip Humber). I've never even heard of Deolis Guerra, but if giving him up is what it takes to bring in Santana, I'm all for it.
How good does Santana make the Mets? He's a legit number one, something they didn't have all of last year (if he's here last year, there's no such collapse, I'll tell you that). Pedro Martinez* becomes your number two pitcher! John Maine and Oliver Perez could be very different pitchers as number three and four starters, their natural roles, instead of being bumped up in the rotation (John Maine was the Mets' number one starter last year - being depended on to be the stopper more often than anyone....and succeeding quite often. Imagine how he'll do this year. Let me point this out - with the season on the line last year [and even in the 2006 playoffs], Maine came up huge...more huge than Tom Glavine, who couldn't make it out of the first inning.)
Look at the rotation from last year to now:
Needless to say, 2008 is better.
This is very exciting. I was having a hard time justifying how I would pick the Mets to win the NL East this year...the Braves look a lot better, the Phillies are the defending division champions....but this is amazing. It's just amazing - for the Mets to keep the core of their team intact, and ADD to it (not giving up Jose Reyes, for example) - it just seems too good to be true. I read somewhere the Mets mortgaged their future on Santana. I don't think so. Four guys who no one knows how good they'll be for a proven superstar, who actually was not overworked in Minnesota (he adhered to fairly mundane pitch counts) is a great deal - not a giving up your future-type deal. The Mets have plenty of years from their core right now at the key positions to develop new prospects.
The last piece is for Santana to pass a physical, then the Mets to work out a contract extension. They need to give Santana what he wants. Rumor has it he wants 5 years, which the Mets don't do....do it. Give him what he wants.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: We'll take away one of my "fan" Super Bowl previews to accomodate today's happy news. Tomorrow we'll have Justin from NYC, Thursday will be Dave in Brighton, then Friday I'll make my pick. Unless the Mets acquire someone else special.