Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Nonsensical Trade Points to Santana's Influence

USAToday.com is reporting that the Twins have traded Johan Santana to the New York Mets for a package of prospects. Invariably, the details of this bleed out much more slowly, and the deal won’t be finalized until Santana and the Mets reach a contact agreement, but with the Mets payroll, there is no reason to believe that won’t happen.

The trade will be a nonsensical ending to what has been a nonsensical situation. Initial reports are that the deadline was self-imposed by Santana, which is particularly disappointing, because the Twins absolutely would have preferred to wait a few more days. The trade or non-trade of Eric Bedard was going to provide a shift that might have well have moved some teams in a different direction, so why trade Santana before we know how that affects the market? After waiting a couple of months, why not next week?

This is not the first time I’ve been confused during this mess, er, I mean, process. My paradigm of this situation must be completely skewed, because there are truly dozens of questions that I can’t answer. If we go over them, maybe we can find an explanation that makes sense. We can start with….

Why aren’t the Orioles trading Bedard to the Mets instead of the Mariners? And why weren’t the Mariners more interested in Santana?
Short of including Jose Reyes, the Mets have always been a TERRIBLE trading partner for the Twins. Their minor league system is a duplicate of the Twins, filled with mid-level pitching prospects who are almost ready for the majors, and hitting prospects who are several years away. The Mets can offer almost nothing that the Twins don’t already have.

The package that the Twins got from the Mets illustrates this. Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber and Kevin Mulvey are duplicates of half of a dozen pitchers in the Twins organization. Deolis Guerra might be special, but hasn’t made it anywhere near the upper levels of the minors. And it isn’t clear that Carlos Gomez, who headlines the package, is a significantly better prospect than Jason Pridie. He’s certainly not someone that Twins can count on before 2009.

The maddening par is that they would have been a GREAT trading partner for the Orioles. The Orioles are in full rebuilding mode. They might very well prefer some high-ceiling prospects that are a couple years away. God knows they need some starting pitching help, even if it’s just to plug the middle of their rotation. The Mets are a great fit for the Orioles. Why the hell aren’t they trading Bedard to them instead of to the Mariners?

For Twins fans, that would have be the best case scenario, because the Mariners have plenty of money to spend, and have exactly the kinds of prospects the Twins need. And they would desperately need a top flight pitcher to be any kind of threat to the Angels. They could practically be in the driver’s seat in the division (not to mention the playoffs) for the price of a AAA center fielder (Adam Jones) and a middle reliever last year (Brandon Morrow). How can they not make that deal?

Why weren’t the Cubs, Dodgers, Rockies, Phillies or Rangers in this thing?
These are teams who have a history of paying high salaries. And all of these teams could use even a decent starter, let alone an annual Cy Young contender. And all have some intriguing talent to offer back. So why didn’t we getting a sniff of rumors about them? Why haven’t we heard about Felix Pie headlining a trade from the Cubs, or Hank Blalock from the Rangers, or even some sort of salary swap with Pat Burrel from the Phillies?

The common response was that Santana would prefer to be with an “east coast” team, but was he going to turn down $140 million (before he needs to throw another pitch) because he wants to live a little closer to Florida? Really? Are Chicago and Texas so much further from his home? And why wouldn’t the Twins be trying to get the Dodgers and Rockies into a bidding war, since the Yankees and Red Sox seemed to be lost in a daze. Which brings us to maybe the best question….

What the hell are the Yankees thinking? (And for that matter, the Red Sox?)
I can kind of understand the Red Sox not getting carried away. After all, they’re coming off a world championship, so they put a couple of reasonable offers on the table. Plus, they figure they’re better situated than the Yankees to offer the offensive talent that the Twins need.

But I can’t understand the Yankees. They were clearly the second best team in their division last year. The other wild card teams, the Tigers and the Mariners, are trying like hell to improve their clubs. And they’re rotation is filled with injury histories, whether it be veterans like Mike Mussina and Andy Petitte, or rookies like Phil Hughes.

And the situation would have been damn near intolerable if the Red Sox got Santana, right? At the very least they would end up needing to face him in the playoffs. And let’s not forget facing him in the regular season as they try to stay ahead of the pumped up Tigers. Or the Mariners and their weak division. And they passed because they didn’t want add a pitching prospect (Ian Kennedy) whose ceiling tops out as a #2 starter to the deal? That’s like the Twins passing because they don’t want to add Kevin Slowey to a deal. It makes no sense.

SO WHAT WAS GOING ON??!!??
I know what I’ll hear from the fans of those respective teams – it’s all too much to give up for one year of Santana. Fiddlesticks. The Mets won’t get a year of Santana, they’ll be getting seven years of him, and they’re going include the prime years of the 28-year-old’s career. Eric Bedard would undoubtedly have been cheaper, but he also might be gone two years from now. Santana will be the defining star of that team into the middle of the next decade. And maybe of New York.

He’s too expensive? Wrong. Imagine his price tag if he had another top five Cy Young award finish this year. If you think an 8-year, $200 million contract is beyond imagination, you need to work on your imagination. And his salary for 2008 is just $13 million, or slightly more than the Mariners will be paying Carlos Silva.

Did those teams think they could just wait until next year? Maybe. But about eight teams were going to be waiting to throw money at Santana next year, and only one of them was going to get him. And now, of course, they won’t even get that chance. Instead they’ll all get to bat against him for the next seven years, of not during the regular season, then in October. How many will think they would rather have their couple of prospects than Santana in 2009?

Did teams think he was hurt? If he is, he certainly doesn’t seem to recognize it. SI.com is reporting that he turned down a $100 million extension from the Twins. That doesn’t exactly sound like a guy who is worried about his health.

Were teams just hoping that the Twins sign him? This isn’t a bad thought. Because the Red Sox and Yankees, the Mariners and Angels, and the Rockies and Dodgers, seem to be fine with the status quo. That’s also why the Twins threat to trade him to the Mets was so non-compelling. The only team that would really care about the Mets getting him is the Phils. In fact, if the Twins really wanted to Mets to offer up Fernando Martinez (and it wouldn’t have changed my disdain for this trade), they should have been floating rumors about a big deal with the Phillies.

It’s baffling. I had hoped that the “give us your best offer” was an attempt to get the Mariners to reconsider dealing with the Orioles and the insanity that is Peter Angelos. Or maybe to give the Orioles something to think about before they reject that trade. With Bedard off the market, the Mets would have practically no real options left, and the Angels might think about responding to the move by trading for Santana.

But that doesn’t answer most of the other questions, and sadly, one other thought does. I suspect that the Twins were more handcuffed by Santana than they were admitting, which is a scenario I feared a couple of months ago. Maybe Santana basically dictated that there were only three teams that he would accept a deal with. That those teams caught wind of that. And that it left the Twins with almost no leverage. And of course, it appears he ultimately forced a trade just before the Twins could really react to a positive shift in the market.

I’m looking forward to you theories. And even more to the answers we’ll get when this whole thing is over.

31 comments:

Boof said...

baaah,

So what does the 2008 Twins payroll look like? $53M?

Quizbowlian said...

John,

I am literally sick to my stomach right now. This is absolutely disgusting. As a Twins fan, please give me some optimism. Because I didn't think it could get any worse to be a sports fan in this town. And it just got incredibly worse.

doofus said...

I feel we would have been better off with the 2 draft picks and 1 more year of Santana then what we ended up with. Maybe we can urn around and trade for Bedard. We have lots of prospects....

wishhiker said...

As a Mariners fan the word that I'd heard was the M's were very interested in Santana, but that Santana would not waive his no-trade rights to go to Seattle. They probably would have made a very good offer to extend him if negotiations ever made it that far...Look what they just paid Silva...

Adam Lipkin said...

(Disclaimer: I'm a Mets fan, so I'm not exactly upset at the way things have gone, so far).

As far as the Mets/O's go, there's no way that trade could happen because the O's have the most meddling, awful owner in baseball, and after the Maine/Benson trade, Angelos thinks the Mets pulled a fast one. So he's reluctant to deal with them.

I will say that it's easy to dismiss Gomez unless you've watched him play. He's got an amazing arm, great range, and is aggressive on the basepaths. I think his hitting will fall into place soon, and he'll be a damned fine outfield threat.

TT said...

Lets be clear. The Mets are going to pay Santana $120-140 million to make this deal work. That is probably why Seattle was not in the running.


I don't know if the Twins came out ahead here by waiting. They could have had Phil Hughes earlier. But the deals with the Yankees and the Red Sox would all have really been Santana for one top prospect and some potentially serviceable spare parts.

I looks like the Twins did better here in terms of number of players with core player potential. I think Gomez, Humber and Guerra all have some potential upside.

This reminds me of the complaints after the Knoblauch trade that they failed to get Rickey Ledee in the deal. Sometimes the guys who are closest to being ready aren't the ones you really want.

TT said...

One other comment - its time to deal Nathan.

BD said...

I'm sad that it's come to this - I wish the Twins could've kept Johan.

But this ain't the Reserve Clause Era - if Johan wanted to go, we weren't going to stop him. When everything is said & done, I suspect we'll learn that was the case.

Just one observation - people screaming that we should've let him walk after the season & take the 2 draft picks would've been screaming for Smith's head had it happened.

David Wintheiser said...

Since I'm a known contrarian, let me play both sides of the argument here:

Quizbowlian,

You want some optimism? Well, we may have lost the best pitcher in the league, but we gained not just two of the top three prospects from another teams minor-league organization, but three of the top four, according to both Baseball America and John Sickels's Baseball Prospect Book. That's not too shabby. Each of the four guys the Twins got fits in the top ten of their own minor league system. In addition, the arrival of Humber pretty much washes out the loss of Garza as far as the organization's pitching depth is concerned, so it's not impossible the Twins could still choose to flip a pitching prospect to a team that needs it for a spare hitting prospect.

On the other hand,

Adam,

I'm not sure how many of the guys here would be down on Gomez for his numbers, which as the Geek points out aren't that much better than Pridie's. The guys I've heard as Gomez's upside include Coco Crisp and Otis Nixon -- granted you're not going to get the next Mickey Mantle here, but for a franchise whose fans are accustomed to the likes of Kirby Puckett and Torii Hunter, someone with the upside of an Otis Nixon doesn't seem that impressive.

I'm more down on him because of his injury history; time will tell if he can stay healthy enough to hang in a big-league lineup. Oh, yeah, and his ML service clock is running, since he got called up last year when the Mets suffered the equivalent of the Bataan Death March in their outfield. Even if he does turn out to be good, he'll be in his second year of arbitration before he's likely had his biggest season, which with this club means we'll likely watch it in somebody else's uniform.

My personal feeling is that things are still pretty schizophrenic: the club, as mentioned, now has an almost ridiculously deep minor league organization, with hardly anyone in the top 10 being less than a grade B guy (by Sickels's reckoning, anyway). Yet they've also signed their vets to reasonably long deals -- especially Morneau.

Conventional wisdom says you either build to win now or build to win later. I wonder if Smith and the Twins really think they can do both?

spycake said...

David! Good to read you again.

I think your take on Gomez' service clock is a bit misleading -- if we send him back to AAA this year (very likely, given his ML numbers last year, and the presence of Monroe/Pridie), that will hold his clock down. Gomez and Humber have negligible service time thus far, and the other two have absolutely zero.

This is actually a point in the Twins favor, as the other trades would have necessitated getting back not only guys with more service time (Cabrera & Lester), but also ready to play in 2008 thus clocks running immediately (Hughes & Ellsbury). For a team without Santana, who probably won't compete for couple years anyway, that's very important.

neckrolls said...

Interesting points about Bedard. Letting his trade play out would have definitely impacted the Santana market positively. However, the Twins now have a ridiculous surplus of pitching prospects (plus 3 AAA CFs), so why not try for Bedard if Angelos blows up the Seattle deal?

They'd better trade for somebody, and shouldn't be afraid to add payroll or sign some more long-term contracts. There is simply no excuse for the Twins to be outspent by the Royals.

David Wintheiser said...

spycake,

Thanks for the compliment.

Good point regarding the clock for Gomez, but here's how I see it -- even if Craig Monroe wins the centerfield job out of spring training, one of the pair of Pridie and Gomez is likely going to stay on the 25-man roster as the fifth outfielder; there's been no indication that the Twins consider Denard Span ready for the big leagues, even as a reserve, and Garrett Jones, if he makes the roster, is more of a reserve corner outfielder than centerfielder. Since Pridie and Gomez are so close, I think the determining factor over which one will stick won't be a service time issue, but rather which one does better in spring training. It might work out, but then again, it might not -- that's why I'm worried.

Of course, if Monroe doesn't win the starting job, then it'll be either Pridie or Gomez starting in center, and all bets are off.

(BTW, this'll teach me from checking the internets during a sick day...)

Bloody P said...

HULK...ANGRY!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Great post. I agree with all of it, especially that Santana was in total control and that's what really made things play out the way they did. Souhan says,

"Fact: Santana wanted out. I've been told by people who know him that he longs to pitch in New York, for more money, a large Latin American community and a team he feels is determined to win a World Series in the near future."

That plus his contract requirements pretty much tied Bill Smith's hands. What's done is done.

But what's next? I hope Bill Smith isn't done with the roster. Of course he can do nothing until the trade is official, which won't be until Santana formally waives his no-trade clause. But after that? All of a sudden we have a glut of centerfielders in the system: Gomez, Pridie, Benson, Revere and others, all with promise. San Diego needs outfielders; is there any chance of prying away Headley? Any other possibilities?

uh oh said...

Couldn't agree with you more about the confusion of this whole thing. IF you told me earlier this summer that the NYY would have a shot a Johan Santana and would balk at the inclusion of a AAA pitcher I would have cursed you up and down for stupidity. Could it be that we are seeing a paradigm shift in the way baseball operations are being handled throughout baseball. Are teams really more interested in having an abundance of cheap talent at the expense of adding perhaps one of the only impact players available. If so, than the twins are going to have to identify a new wrinkle in the market to exploit. As a team that has made a killing off of robbing other teams farm systems the Twins are in trouble if those teams are no longer willing to give up prospects for proven talent.

Anonymous said...

I'll be honest that I don't know where to look or how to properly evaluate it, but does anyone know how this will effect the 40 man roster?

If indeed this is the white flag for 2008 then what should we be looking to get from Nathan since we didn't really fill any holes any better than we already had?

Now that we have this duplicity in AAA/AAAA talent what could we look to flip it into?

I wish I had the answers to this. One thing is for certain that Bill Smith has now washed his hands of the Terry Ryan era.

When Krivsky took over the Reds he seemed to almost rebell against the conservatism that he had served under making trades and management decisions seemingly from day one. Last week he even scooped Jeremy Affeldt away from the Twins prying eyes. I'll be interested to see if Bill has the freedom to act as he sees fit as well as what he does with that freedom.

Confused, yet optimistic?
Shannon

JimCrikket said...

For all you late night conspiracy theorists... let me try this one on for size.

What if the hold up on Bedard to the M's had nothing to do with Angelos? What if it had more to do with a GM from a team OTHER than the M's calling Andy MacPhail and saying, "Hey Andy... we're about to finalize a deal that's going to bring four new prospects in to our organization. Any chance you might consider waiting a few days while we wrap this up? Then we should talk."

Bill Smith didn't get the top of the rotation guy he wanted in a deal for Santana... directly. But when Santana signs his deal, Smith will be sitting on a significantly higher pile of prospects than he was a day ago.

Bedard would look good in a Twins uniform. Just sayin...

Anonymous said...

What do you think the odds are that Bill Smith ever approves another contract with a full no-trade clause?

markominne said...

John, all interesting points. Another thought that you don't raise keeps nagging at me: were the Red Sox and Yankee offers ever real, or just designed to entice the other into doing something drastic for Santana? It occurs to me that, if BS did actually ask for last, best offers, Ellsbury-Masterson-Lowrie+1 may have turned into Lester + Crisp, or disappeared entirely.

I also can't help but feel that, if Johan didn't want to be here, then, best pitcher in the game or not, we're both better off with him moving on.

And lest we spend the next month desparing over this, bear in mind that when we acquired Santana, he was a Rule V pick. If we manage to find a gold nugget in the midst of these prospects, it certainly wouldn't be the first time.

Anonymous said...

I understand the shock of losing the best pitcher in baseball might cause you to say some crazy things, but calm down over there. as a met fan i'm sad to see these prospects go, but understand the move had to be made. i'm glads some of the comments here have put things in perspective. kudos. don't believe the yankee fans of the world and don't listen to the media. to better understand this move check out today's post at a fellow intelligent mets fan's blog You guys seem to have a good grasp of why this trade went down. Kudos. As a Met I'll be sad to see these players go, but understand it had to be done to acquire the best pitcher in the game. Don't let the Yankee fans of the world or the media influence your opinions of this move. Read all of today's post on this intelligent baseball fans blog http://themetropolitans.blogspot.com/

Mr Hockey said...

It was almost the Midas touch. He was too expensive to sign and to expensive for others to sign and an incredible talent. Your final answer seems to be the best one--he only wanted to be traded to the Mighty Yankees, Red Sox Nation or the Metropolitans and they knew it. It is like playing cards with someone who is holding your cards.

TT said...

We are assuming this is a done deal. But there is always the possibility that Santana's demands will be too rich even for the Mets.

Would the Twins have traded Santana straight up for Benard - I think they might have. Benard does not have a no-trade agreement.

Benard has two more years before he is eligible to be a free agent. Come July if the Twins are out of it, Benard would be a great pickup by any contender with no strings attached and another year before his new team loses him.

In short, one year of Santana probably is worth less than two years of Benard. This is not a deal the Twins would have made before last season. That doesn't make it a bad deal now.

The guys I've heard as Gomez's upside include Coco Crisp and Otis Nixon

No one ever called either one of those guys a five-tool player. Gomez is a lot more a young Torii Hunter. He projects to develop power and is already a plus defender. At 21, Gomez is probably already as good as Nixon. That is his rock bottom downside.

David Wintheiser said...

Could it be that we are seeing a paradigm shift in the way baseball operations are being handled throughout baseball. Are teams really more interested in having an abundance of cheap talent at the expense of adding perhaps one of the only impact players available.

I think it's more that teams are recognizing more and more that 'impact players' come from somewhere, and they're more likely to come from the top of your minor league organization, if you're doing your job in scouting and player development. Not to mention that developing your own impact players tends to be less expensive than going out and buying off-the-shelf stars.

I do agree with you, though -- when even the Yankees are developing star-level talent from their minor leagues rather than pouncing on every high-priced free agent that comes along, there's definitely a change in the status quo.

No one ever called either one of those guys a five-tool player. Gomez is a lot more a young Torii Hunter. He projects to develop power and is already a plus defender. At 21, Gomez is probably already as good as Nixon. That is his rock bottom downside.

Now that's what I call optimism!

I don't normally agree with Aaron Gleeman on much of anything, but I'll agree with him here -- Gomez doesn't really have the kind of power that a 'five-tool player' should be showing at this point in his development. As an example, by the time Michael Cuddyer had finished his age-21 season, he'd hit 34 minor league homers with an isolated power of .159; he then hit 30 homers with an isolated power of .259 in his age-22 season. Gomez, through his age-21 seasons, has hit 18 minor league homers with an isolated power of .121. Balance those out based on the players' playing at different levels of the minor leagues however you want, but unless Gomez shows a marked upturn in his power very soon, I don't see how he's even got Cuddyer's upside, much less Hunter's.

And no, I wouldn't say Otis Nixon is Gomez's "rock bottom downside"; what happens if Gomez has a poor spring training, and concern over his being rushed by the Mets convinces the Twins to send him to New Britain, where he implodes in frustration? Unlikely? Probably, but I'd argue not any less likely than Gomez pounding out 25 homers at AAA this year.

I'd consider Gomez's "rock bottom downside" to be Chad Allen...without the steroids.

DAM-DC Twins Fan said...

Let me be contrary here. This could turn out to be the latest in a long line of Twins thievery in trades. Remember Knoblach, Viola, AJ, etc.

We wont know the results of this trade for 3 years. For the Mets to win, Johan has to win 50 games in 3 years in Shea...yet Johan was on a downturn last year. That is no sure thing. For the Twins to win, Gomez or one of the pitchers has to turn out to be a gem--if Terry Ryan was still GM--I would say that is guaranteed.

Johan will be 35 at the end of the contract--that is old to be getting 25 million per.

Yes it is a shame that Johan would only go to east coast (supposedly) so certain prospects were closed to us, but I actually like this trade.

DAM

TT said...

Gomez doesn't really have the kind of power that a 'five-tool player' should be showing at this point in his development.

He doesn't? He is certainly showing as much or more power than Torii Hunter did at that age.

I don't normally agree with Aaron Gleeman

A wise policy, that you ought to have stuck to if the rest of your analysis is his.

isolated power

Is not a measure of power, despite its name.

Michael Cuddyer had finished his age-21 season

Cuddyer hit 6 home runs in a full season at AA at age 21. He had 30 doubles and 8 triples. Hunter, at age 21, hit 8 home runs at AA. Gomez at age 20 in a full season at AA had 60 fewer at bats than Cuddyer and hit 8 home runs, 6 triples and 24 doubles.

Balance those out based on the players' playing at different levels of the minor leagues

In Gomez case, you would have to include his major league performance, since he spent most of last season, at age 21, in the big leagues. Cuddyer was spending his second full season at AA at age 22 when he hit 30 HR.

I'd argue not any less likely than Gomez pounding out 25 homers at AAA this year.

I would agree, its highly unlikely Gomez will even be at AAA. He is far more likely to be playing center field for the Twins. The fact is Torii Hunter hit a total of 10 homer runs at age 22, split between AA and AAA, and idiots like Gleeman were calling him a "slap-hitter" as a result.

Gomez already has Nixon's range and a better arm. And he has the same speed on the basepaths. Its tough to see him not being at least as good a major league player. Of course nothing is guaranteed.

spycake said...

David --

I'm not sure why you choose Cuddyer for your Gomez comparison, considering Michael was an infielder at the time, started his career older than either Gomez or Hunter (pro debut at age 19), and was never considered a "5 tools" type prospect.

I think the lesson here is that "5-tool" type guys are more volatile than other prospects, so any "comparisons" are mostly worthless when they range from Otix Nixon (!) to Alex Escobar to Torii Hunter. However, I think the fact that Gomez has got this far at this age is encouraging -- simply transferring his .282/.354/.421 line from the upper minors into the majors in a couple years, with steals and defense, would make him a useful regular. Admittedly the jump to the majors is the biggest jump of all, but it's not as if Gomez has to develop power or he's a complete bust.

spycake said...

jimcrikket --

Maybe I'm just trying to be positive, but I think your conspiracy theory might have legs.

Bedard is Canadian, which is highly marketable in this area (see Morneau contract), and he might feel at home playing with Justin in the "State of Hockey."

Plus, if Bedard could be extended for closer to Zambrano money (5 years, 91 million), the Twins might see that as a better/safer investment than Johan at 5/125 or 6/150 or whatever the Mets eventually give him.

Furthermore, it was already widely speculated the Twins like Jason Pridie and he's near ML-ready -- why would the Twins need a toolsy CF who's farther away in Carlos Gomez? And although adding pitching prospects is always good, the Twins hardly need the Mets young arms in their system.

I honestly wouldn't be surprised if Angelos and Orioles really liked some of the Mets prospects (i.e. Gomez), but didn't want to deal with Omar Minaya and company, and the Orioles also liked some of the young arms in the Twins organization.

I don't know much about Bedard or his forecasts, but this move would go a long way towards restoring some optimism for the Twins, both in 2008 and beyond.

David Wintheiser said...

spycake --

I picked Cuddyer as my comparison because Cuddyer was a hitting prospect in the minor leagues; he wasn't a 'five tool' guy, but he did have two of those tools -- hitting for average and hitting for power. Comparing Cuddyer's minor league numbers to those of Gomez's thus far simply shows how far Gomez has yet to go to really qualify as a 'five tool' player. You don't have to take my word for it -- the numbers are out there (www.thebaseballcube.com, www.baseball-reference.com, etc.); go see for yourself and ask yourself which player is the hitting prospect.

Rather than get into a pissing contest with TT, I'll just point out a few guys who made the majors as great speed, great D outfielders who never really figured out how to hit: Gary Pettis, Tom Goodwin, Roger Cedeno. Hell, by all accounts Lenny Green was an amazing defensive centerfielder for the Twins in the early 60s.

It's not impossible that Gomez could end up as the Twins starting centerfielder on Opening Day, but two things convince me to bet against the possibility:

1. As far as I can tell, everybody who watched Gomez play for the Mets last year commented on how the kid was in over his head at the major league level -- this wasn't a Chuck Knoblauch situation where the kid jumps up from AA and makes everyone sit up and take notice.

So why was he even in the majors last year? Did you notice the sheer volume of injuries the Mets suffered last year? If MLB had a 'ten day contract' like the NBA does, the Mets might have taken a rider on Rickey Henderson, they were that hard-up for bodies in the outfield.

2. Ron Gardenhire is going to decide who his starter is, and the most consistent thing Gardy has done in his Twins tenure is force young players to earn their time on the roster and in the lineup, especially when he's had a veteran to go to instead. Gomez will likely have to have one of the best springs in baseball history to convince Gardenhire not to bring Craig Monroe north from Fort Myers as his starter.

Just sayin'.

TT said...

picked Cuddyer as my comparison because Cuddyer was a hitting prospect in the minor leagues

You chose Cuddyer because its tough to find a valid comparison that supports your conclusion. There just aren't that many guys playing at AA at 20, much less in the major leagues at age 21.

I'll just point out a few guys who made the majors as great speed, great D outfielders who never really figured out how to hit

And then there is Willie Mays, who did. And that's exactly why Gomez is valuable. He is an outfielder with great speed and D who projects to hit for power. And those guys are hard to find.

this wasn't a Chuck Knoblauch situation

No, it wasn't. At Gomez age last year, Knoblauch was playing at AA.

everybody who watched Gomez play for the Mets last year commented on how the kid was in over his head at the major league level

Everybody also commented on his potential. The Mets wouldn't be trading him if he was already hitting like Willie Mays.

TT said...

ou don't have to take my word for it -- the numbers are out there (www.thebaseballcube.com, www.baseball-reference.com, etc.); go see for yourself

A piece of general advice. Whenever anyone says "you can look it up", you better look it up.

spycake said...

David --

Contrarian to the core, eh? I don't think anyone here said Gomez' power was already here, so your Cuddyer comparison is just as worthless as the Otis Nixon one.

The fact is, Gomez' numbers thus far are within an established range for prospects, especially given his age and "type" (i.e. not Cuddyer). So what becomes important is his likelihood of future success, and the only things that can tell us much about that are firsthand accounts of his skills and development, and time.