Bullet list, 'Best Pitcher in Baseball' edition.
- At his blog for ESPN Insider (free preview entry), Keith Law thinks the Mets were big winners in this deal, though he's quick to point out his warning signs:
Santana is not without his red flags; he stumbled to the finish in 2007 and in the past has had elbow chips, a problem that tends to recur. He's become more flyball-oriented recently, leading to a big spike in his home run rate this year; the acquisition could encourage the Citi Field architects to push the fences back a few feet. And the days of him shouldering 230-240 innings a year may be behind him, although facing the pitcher two or three times a game may help him recover some of the lost workload.I love Keith, but the bit about Santana becoming more flyball oriented just doesn't seem to be true. Here are his flyball rates for the last six seasons. I have also included his homeruns-per-flyball rate to give you a better idea of why his homeruns allowed jumped last season:
Year FB% HR/FB% 2002 46.7% 5.7% 2003 47.7% 8.5% 2004 43.2% 10.3% 2005 43.2% 8.4% 2006 39.6% 9.9% 2007 43.6% 13.1%
2006 looks like the outlier in his flyball rate, but 2007 -- his big homerun allowed year -- his flyball rate was right back where it was before '06 and almost identical to his career mark of 43.5%. You'll notice that his homeruns per flyball increased dramatically last year, so either opponents are hitting the ball harder (not likely, considering his linedrive rate actually decreased in 2007), or maybe all of those extra homeruns were just flukey. Per Hit Tracker, his average homerun distance actually decreased from 393.4 feet in 2006 to 391.1 feet last year. Weird.
- Bob Klapisch has all of the details on the Mets' acquisition of Santana yesterday. You can also check out the requisite Santana articles in The Post, The Daily News, and Newsday.
- Aaron Gleeman breaks things down as only Aaron can:
In poker terms, Smith slow-played a big hand and ended up dragging in less than the maximum pot. It's hard to swallow the possibility that the Twins missed out on acquiring Hughes and Melky Cabrera or Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, and Justin Masterson. Those were very good offers for Santana and without Martinez included the Mets' offer falls short of those standards. However, there's a difference between the Mets' offer not being the best one and the Mets' offer not being a decent one.
- At Twinkie Town, our buddy Jesse tries to put a shine on the prospects the Twins got (whom we know all so well). I talked with Jesse for a while last night, and he was far less apoplectic than most of the commenters at his site. Given the circumstances, GM Bill Smith was over a barrel -- partially his own doing -- and he made the best deal he could.
These four players aren't bad players. They simply aren't Philip Hughes, Melky Cabrera, Jacoby Ellsbury or Jon Lester. Both Carlos Gomez and Deolis Guerra have a chance to turn into special players, Phil Humber will more than likely break camp with the Twins in the spring, and Kevin Mulvey has some upside as well.I'll have a Q&A with Jesse up later on today, in all likelihood, so we can get some firsthand reaction from the other side of the tracks.
Even after we've separated our feelings of "what we should have received" from "what exactly did we get", it's going to be hard to be happy with what transpired yesterday. That's entirely natural, because we did just trade the best starting pitcher in baseball. Just remember that this deal was made with the future in mind, which coincides with A) not bringing back Torii Hunter, B) trading for one of the game's most promising young hitters and C) locking up Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer to long-term deals.
- We've got a reaction roundtable up at MetsGeek today, so be sure to check that out.
MLB.com has player reaction to the deal from Billy Wagner, David Wright, Aaron Heilman and Tom Glavine. Wags is stoked:
"If we get Johan Santana, we're back to being one of the five best teams in the game. I couldn't be happier. I know we'll all feel that way."For his part, Glavine tried not to get too worked up:
"This certainly evens the balance within the division. I don't think this makes [the Mets] the class of the division. I think it puts them in a position where there rotation is much better and that was their biggest need.
Within the division, I think you have three teams that can now not only win the division, but also the World Series. I think all three teams did a nice job of filling their biggest needs."
- Beyond the Boxscore, our SBNation blog on sabermetrics, counts down Johan's ten best starts of his career. Head over there and read about what the Mets are getting (Hint: it's a very good pitcher).
- In the New York Sun, Tim Marchman applauds the deal:
Some baseball operators know many small things, and some know one big thing. The general manager of the Mets, Omar Minaya, knows one big thing — if you can afford it, you always go for the best player on the market.
By trading for 28-year-old left-hander Johan Santana, generally considered the best pitcher in baseball, Minaya has outdone himself.