Posted at 10:58 PM on February 1, 2008
by Chris Dall
Well, it's now just about official. The Mets came to agreement earlier this evening on a contract extension with Johan Santana, and pending a physical tomorrow, the trade with the Twins will be completed. The extension is reportedly six years for $137.5 million, and it will kick in after Johan's current deal expires, bringing his total compensation over the next seven years to just over $150 million. Nice work if you can get it.
Even though I'm a Met fan at heart, I'm not going to pretend this deal is better than it looks for the Twins. I'm as amazed as anyone that the prospect Pu Pu platter offered by the Mets got it done, especially when it didn't include the Mets best prospect. As I stated earlier on this blog, I think Bill Smith should have taken the Phil Hughes-Melky Cabrera offer that was reportedly on the table back in December. (Although, if you read Bob Collins's most recent News Cut post, it appears that offer wasn't available for very long, if it was available at all). But once the Yankees started to back away, there really was no team left other than the Mets. The Red Sox clearly were only in it to keep Santana away from the Yankees. They appear to be the other winner in this deal.
Did Smith panic? Maybe so, but after losing Hunter to free agency, he clearly felt pressure to get something for Santana, and wasn't willing to take the chance that some team would get desperate in spring training and make a better offer. I wouldn't have wanted to be in his position either.
All that being said, I wouldn't completely write this deal off for the Twins. Given their track record in trades, you have to give Twins management some benefit of the doubt. They must have seen something they liked. Having watched Carlos Gomez in several games last year, I do think he could turn out to be a special player, and he will instantly improve the outfield defense and make the team more athletic (though athleticism doesn't always mean much in baseball). And while Humber and Mulvey are probably middle-of-the-rotation pitchers at best, the key to the deal could be Deolis Guerra, who has some scouts raving. No, he probably won't be seen around these parts for a few years, but he's something to look forward to.
As David wrote, this is a sad day for Twins fans, another dark note in a winter of discontent. It's hard not to think of how good this team would look right now if it found a way to keep both Hunter and Santana (Silva I'm not so sad about). But given the frugal ways of the Pohlad's and the lousy economics of baseball, most of us knew that was never going to happen. I don't know if I can totally blame the Pohlad family for not wanting to give in to the insane salary demands of the baseball's upper echelon players, but at some point the fans are going to get tired of watching this team tread water.
But there is some good news. Kyle Lohse is still available.