The eyes of the Twins, that is. I would love to see Johan Santana grow old as a Met, and be the ace of our Citi Field pitching corps. It's becoming more evident each day that the Twins may have overplayed their hand in insisting on five Mets in exchange for Santana. Like a football star who declares early, and watches dozens of other players get drafted ahead of where he thought he deserved to be picked, the Minnesota front office must be muttering to themselves, "Crapcrapcrapcrapcrap... they're not buying this... crapcrapcrap". The Yankees and Red Sox, surprisingly, are both helping our team, by not acting as they usually do and waving their checkbooks frantically at Twins GM Bill Smith.
Trading three pitching prospects and F-Mart or Gomez is probably overpaying a little, but I'm solidly behind Omar Minaya making that deal. Trading both outfielders is simply unacceptable, and I applaud Omar for his refusal to blink. If the Mets were willing to do a 5-for-1 deal, it would have happened already.
Re-signing Endy Chavez earlier this week did nothing to change my stance on this trade. Endy is the best fourth outfielder in baseball, but gutting the farm clubs of outfielders forces him into the starting lineup and diminishes the sparkplug-like up-side he gives the Mets when he comes off the bench. Remember, Mookstra was better than the sum of its parts.
No question, Santana has the tools to dominate the National League for most of the next decade. His 15-13 record with the Twinkies belies what a monster season he had in 2007. Eight times last year, he tossed six or more innings, gave up two or three earned runs, and did not win. Take away the four losses he was tagged with in those games, add in eight wins, and you have a 23-9 record and a third Cy Young award.
I'm with David Wright, who said this week that the Mets could use Santana at the top of their rotation, but they don't need him. The Twins need what the Mets are willing to offer more than the Mets need what they'd get back. There's nothing more satisfying than dealing from this psychological advantage.
I bought a new car several years ago, and for one of the few times in my life, I went in to buy it knowing that I didn't need a new car right away. I could have waited a few months if I'd chosen to. The salesman could tell right away that I was more than willing to walk out the door without a new set of keys. One free 5 CD-changer, deluxe detailing job, and generous trade-in later, I was the proud owner of the best value I ever got. Because I knew, and they knew I knew, I could get along without it.
If the Twins bump along this season without dealing Santana, he'll likely be dealt as a six-week rental at the deadline. No team would give them on July 31st the type of value the Mets are willing to offer them today. A trade done now would benefit all parties, since they'd each know what their working parts will be going into spring training. All the players involved would have a chance to meet, greet, and integrate with their new teammates, rather than make their acquaintance on some road trip in August. But doing this deal today would benefit the Twins most of all; that is, if you believe in the adage "buy low, sell high".
If Omar really wants to play the strong-arm GM, he might just call up his counterpart in Minnesota and whisper that his four jewels will be available - for the next 72 hours only. Omar hasn't blinked yet. I have a gut feeling he'd win this particular staring match.
Heck, as luck would have it, Johan wouldn't even need to pay anyone off for his pinstriped number 57. I consider that a good omen.