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My Two Cents on Reyes for Santana

Mike SteffanosSaturday, January 5, 2008
By Mike Steffanos

I'm still in the process of catching up on December's backlog of e-mail. Back at the end of November I wrote about all of the trade rumors circling about, and made the following statement about the speculation that the Mets would deal Jose Reyes for Johan Santana:

I know there are some who would make this deal, but players like Reyes don't come along often. I would argue that a 24-year-old shortstop with his ability would be an even rarer commodity than a front-line starter, particularly a SS that is signed to what is essentially a bargain contract compared to a pitcher who is likely to make Zito money look like chump change. This would be a DUMB trade.

That paragraph stirred up some interesting email responses from some who scolded me for placing a higher value on a shortstop than the best starting pitcher in the game. The point -- and I've seen it in the press, too -- is that it's easier to find a shortstop than an ace-quality left-handed starting pitcher.

While I do agree with this as a general rule, I think this misses the point that Jose Reyes isn't exactly a run-of-the-mill shortstop. Despite his age and his second-half struggles in 2007, Reyes is already one of the best position players in the game, and the potential is there for him to be the best player in baseball. Having this kind of player in a premium position like shortstop is quite rare -- and I would argue that it would be easier to find an ace pitcher than a shortstop like Reyes. As much as it seemed to frustrate a segment of my readers that I wouldn't see the light and sign on to a Reyes-Santana deal, I'm equally amazed at those who don't see my point on Reyes. That's a part of what makes baseball so much fun, I guess.

I have my reservations about giving up so much and then tying up so much money into a starting pitcher -- one of the most fragile life forms on this planet. But I can't pretend the Mets wouldn't be a much better team with an ace like Santana starting every fifth game. If the Mets manage to obtain Santana from the Twins they will most likely become the best team in the National League again, unless they have to give up Jose Reyes to get him. Not only that, but by all accounts it would cost the Mets Reyes and prospects to pry Santana loose. I'm sorry, but that's WAY too much for a deal that to my mind would be a loser even-up. Anyway, that's my opinion.

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Comments (7)

Hear, hear Michael.

Reyes for Santana straight up is way too much, not to mention with prospects? Perhaps I would consider trading Reyes, Delgado, Humber and Vargas for Santana, Morneau and Everett. Another option would be Reyes, Schneider, Humber and Vargas for Santana, Mauer and Everett. Either scenario works for me.

The problem the Twinkies have is that they really need to move Santana before Spring Training and would be fools to send him to a powerhouse AL team like the Highlanders, BoSox, Halos, Motowners or Tribe, even if the offer is slightly better than an NL club offers. Heilman, two frontline pitching prospects and one frontline OF prospect is way too much considering the salary Santana would bring along with him. And of course, the Mets would have to sign him to a long-term deal before anything could be finalized.

I have faith that Pedro, Maine and Perez are as good a front three as any NL team except for the D-Backs (Webb/Haren/Davis). Should they sign Colon, Lohse or Livan for the 4 spot, they still have El Duque, Pelfrey, Humber, Vargas and Mulvey to consider for a starter role or for a pretty nice AAA rotation with Bostick.

I am convinced Minaya feels the same way we do. He is willing to pay for Santana, but not foolishly. If I were the Twins GM, I would take Heilman, Mulvey and Gomez, and feel pretty good about it. Heilman is a proven commodity and the others are the Mets two best prospects and among the top 15 in baseball. Picking up Angel Pagan as a 5th or 6th outfielder makes me think something is up, and THAT SOMETHING is likely to be Carlos Gomez. Wise, Stokes, Register and the healing Sanchez and Padilla, make me think Heilman. And he can still go out and sign Dotel. Of course, I would rather lose Humber and Vargas than Mulvey, but for Santana, I can live with it.

I am so tired of this hypothetical speculation followed by conjecture...followed by supposition,,then more projection and finally hallucination....IMHO, if I actually have a humble opinion, this trade would actually set us back, not forward...I dont need much convincing that Santana is a formidable pitcher, the records stands, I'm just saying that I would much rather tuff it out for a season, or even two, with an acquisition of a pitcher that doesnt cost us just about every worthwhile prospect in the cupboard...Mulvey, Guerra, Fernandez, Gomez, Humber Pelfrey..."just back up the truck" Minnesota.."Take what ever you want"....is this the way champions are built??...not in my eyes, its shortsightesd to the extreme and downright dangerous to the future...granted, I've seen the current crop of trades and the immediate trend towards quantity for quality, and I disagree with it for our team, for my dollar I'd pass and develop inside, but we've become immoderately spoiled by moderate success, and the fans are shouting for blood..."we want it all and we want it now!"...think about it, if Santana were to break down, and who hasn't seen that before, and the zillion prospects we give up become actual useful players then we are screwed again...dare I say it...remember Kazmir?...had we not gone up that slippery slope we would be enjoying a dominant lefty strikeout ace...yeh, I know the story how it became the impetus for free agency..yada yada yada...and did we learn that lesson?...humans are an impatient species and we should somehow transcend this emotional reactivity and attempt to not "spill our candy in the lobby" ...I could go on, but I wont...I've said too much already

I think Minaya's game of waiting on the side lines is going to pay off and the twins will settel for less then they were asking for as we get closer to spring training. more like Jan.15th or so, the blockbuster will be Gomez, Hielman, Mulvey, plus another low level minor player, No Reyes, but even that list will hurt to let go. I think F/mart is our future 1st basemen, I seen him in Binghamton and he has that something special about him. A very good eye at the plate and a cannon of an arm from the outfield His swing is powerful and hits 400foot linedrives.They are starting to groom him for 1st base. I would not want to add him in any trade.If Gomez has to go F/mart fits into the outfield nicely, in 2009.

Mike - Right on as usual. At the end of this season, the deal the Mets didn't make in '08 is going to look even smarter than the deal they didn't make in '07. I don't wish ill will on Johan Santana - especially if he's pitching against the Yankees or the Sawks - but this "deal that wasn't" will reveal that Omar does know a little bit about players' value and potential. He's not infallible. Just real good, and unwilling to make a deal for the sake of making a deal.

PS - "Mets Sign A Pagan"? What will the religious right say about that?

Absolutely dead on Mike. With Reyes, the Mets are the best team in the NL. Without him (see the 2nd half of last year when they were functionally without him) they are a .500 team. If you add Santana every 5th day to a Reyes-less Mets, they're an 88-90 win team at best.

I'd love Santana on this team, but it seems illogical to even begin to think it will cost Reyes. Players like Santana have been traded before. Pedro to Boston, Randy Johnson to Houston, Curt Schilling to Arizona (and then Boston). Not one of those trades included a single established all star, much less a 24 year old phenom. All of those trades were made for prospects, the best of whom ended up being Freddy Garcia and Carl Pavano.

The bottom line is that when a team is compelled to trade one of the best pitchers in the game, the return is never anything that will actually make them better. The Twins aren't stupid. They realize this is the likely outcome of any deal they make. They can ask for Reyes all they want, but I don't believe for 1 second they are "stalled on Reyes." If that were the case, all rumors connecting the Mets to the Twins would have stopped 8 weeks ago.

Omar Minaya has been much maligned of late, and perhaps rightfully so for what amounted to a bad year as a GM. But what made his year bad was miscalculations with B level players like Heath Bell, Matt Lindstrom, Brian Bannister and Ben Johnson. It's not like the man had a spear shoot through part of his brain.

It would take an injury of that magnitude for Minaya to trade Reyes for anyone.

Nostra dennis, "Mets sign a pagan." I'll be laughing in church all day thinking about that.That was great! Now all they have to do is repent and change thier ways.

DaMetsman - I'd be surprised if the Yankmes or Red Sox didn't offer something more than Heilman, Mulvey and Gomez for Santana. Personally, I don't think that would be enough to make the Twins fans feel like they got enough back, so if I was the Twins GM I wouldn't do it. I'm still not completely convinced that the Twins wouldn't just go for it with Santana for one final season and then take the 2 draft picks if they didn't get a real great offer for him. I'll tell you, handing out huge long-term contracts to starting pitchers never seems to work. The Twins might be ultimately doing the Mets a favor by not trading him to us.
N8 - You're preaching to the choir here. I have my reservations about this approach, too.
Al - I hadn't heard anything about Fernando playing 1B, but that's an interesting thought.
Nostra - I guess if the Islanders can get away with having Satan play for their team, a Pagan doesn't seem so bad in comparison.
Salman - In fairness, I don't think there is any real chance of Reyes being traded for Santana. It would have been done already. I'm still surprised that there are so many people that use the "easier to find a SS" argument with Reyes, however.

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