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Continuing the Santana Gambit: New York Mets

Yesterday we bantered about the merits of the Yankees and what they had to offer.  What about that other New York team?

One team that won't be appearing on this list is the Tampa Bay Rays.  I wanted to mention that up front tonight.  In a straight two-team deal they could never afford Johan, and there's no way the Twins would be picking up any of his salary.  In a multi-team deal I would find it hard to believe that the Rays could end up with Santana, and another team would be willing to eat some of the money while not receiving his services.  Sorry, Tampa, I just don't see it happening.

New York Mets

Why aren't you including Jose Reyes as a target?  For two reasons.  First, he's inconsistent, all of which stems from lack of focus.  At the plate, on the bases, in the field, Reyes has too many lapses in judgement.  Earlier this fall I was chatting with Eric, who heads up Amazin' Avenue, and he had this to say about Reyes:

"It would also be nice to see some more consistency and fewer stolen base attempts from Reyes... He has a world of talent but I need to see him produce over an entire season."

His comments back up what I've seen in Reyes, and Eric gets to watch Mets baseball consistently.  (His September was definitely worse than ours.)  I've been frustrated watching him on occasion; I can only imagine the madness he could create six days a week.   But I know, it's hard to be down on a guy who will only be 25 next June, whose career line is .284/.330/.426, and who's stolen bases at an 80% clip, but...hang with me.

My second reason is that the Twins have enough holes to fill without upgrading a position that doesn't need an upgrade.  Jason Bartlett, whose career OBP is eleven points better than that of Reyes, isn't a detriment to the team.  Bartlett just turned 28 at the end of October, is going to be affordable for the rest of his career, plays good defense, has good speed and has enough moxi at the plate that he more than holds his own.  There are too many big gaps to worry about, we don't need to concern ourselves with a shortstop.

Jose Reyes is flashy, but he's not solid enough where making him the centerpiece of a trade for Johan Santana makes sense.  That's why I'm not targeting Reyes.  Now, onto the main course.

OF Lastings Milledge (R/R), Born 04/05/1985

Split     AB  2B  HR  SB  BB  SO   Avg   Obp   Slg
Minors  1173  86  34  79 109 251  .305  .385  .479
Majors   350  16  11   4  25  81  .257  .326  .414

Drafted 12th overall in 2003, Milledge was always high on expectations within New York.  But baseball as a whole began to take notice after, as a 20-year old, he hit .337/.392/.487 in AA.  Milledge is the ethereal "5-Tool" player, but what I like is this:  He can play defense (experience at all three outfield positions), and he can hit.  There is some concern about his attitude, but can you blame him?  Lastings Milledge doesn't laugh in the face of Death--Death cries for mercy at the feet of Lastings Milledge.

3B David Wright (R/R), Born 12/20/1982

Split   AB  2B  HR  SB  BB   SO   Avg   Obp   Slg
2004   263  17  14   6  14   40  .293  .332  .525
2005   575  42  27  17  72  113  .306  .388  .523
2006   582  40  26  20  66  113  .311  .381  .531
2007   604  42  30  34  94  115  .325  .416  .546

If you want an answer at third base, here it is.  He's not cheap but he's worth every penny.  Wright is starting point #1 with the Mets if A) you're not too concerned about the number of players you get in return, and B) you're willing to pay the literal cost of David Wright for the forseeable future.  This is also a "win now" swap, unlike the five players I would ask the Yankees for.

OF Fernando Martinez (L/R), Born 10/10/1988

Split     AB  2B  HR  SB  BB  SO   Avg   Obp   Slg
'06-A    195  14   5   7  15  38  .328  .383  .497
'06-A+   119   4   5   1   6  24  .193  .254  .387
'07-AA   236  11   4   3  20  51  .271  .336  .377

Martinez has a long ways to go, and a lot of developing to do, but he's a great player to include if you're getting a "sure thing" in addition.  His projections are high-end, and while that's a dangerous mantra to fall under the spell of, he's worth the risk in the right deal.  Baseball America ranks him as the Mets prospect with the best tools for hitting for average and for hitting with power.

RHP Mike Pelfrey, Born 04/14/1984

Splits     IP   ERA   WHIP    K/9   BB/9
Minors  176.1  3.12   1.26   8.53   3.17
Majors   94.0  5.55   1.71   5.55   4.88

Pelfrey and Humber are great friends, and both are projected to be big parts of the Mets rotation for years to come.  After reading articles on both players (click here for a good Baseball Prospectus take), I prefer Pelfrey.  He offers a mid-90's fastball that can get up to 97, an improving slider and a changeup.  Goldstein (author of the BP article) also believes Pelfrey can develop more movement, something that could develop into a good cut or sinking fastball.

OF Carlos Gomez (R/R), Born 12/04/1985

Split     AB  2B  HR  SB  BB  SO   Avg   Obp   Slg
Minors  1291  62  18 141  82 250  .278  .339  .399
Majors   125   3   2  12   8  27  .232  .288  .304

Gomez is a defensive prospect, and is one of my top center field prospects that we'll be discussing over the next few days.  Strong arm, good range and great speed make him a better natural center fielder than Milledge, although he doesn't appear to have Milledge's offensive upside.  He needs work on his strike zone judgement and, hopefully, can develop some power.  Carlos Gomez could be a very exciting player.

Mets Wrap

The New York Mets are short on major-league ready talent in their farm system.  Only the young Martinez didn't see time in The Show last fall; the cavalry has already been called, there is no more help for the Mets.  This could make them extremely reluctant to part with a number of these players, which could make them difficult partners in a swap the magnitude of Santana's.

Package #1:  David Wright and Fernando Martinez.  Package #2:  Milledge, Gomez, Pelfrey and Martinez.  Swapping out Pelfrey for Humber is fine; cutting Martinez out of package #2 makes it much more realistic and a little less appealing from the Twins angle.  I realize I'm expecting a lot, but I should hope that Minnesota would be asking other teams to make difficult decisions as well.  David Wright is as untouchable as you can get...but it's also Johan freaking Santana.  What combination would you do this for?

This whole rummaging through pages of statistics and minor league systems is exhaustive and time consuming work.  It also leads to some longer posts.  And because, sadly, this isn't my day job...I must sleep.  We'll get to the Dodgers tomorrow.