February 1, 2008 – So the Twins have traded Santana to the Mets and in return acquired 22 year old outfielder Carlos Gomez, and right handed pitchers Philip Humber, also 25, Kevin Mulvey who is 22 along with 18 year old Deolis Guerra. Although the final numbers have not yet come out, it sounds like the deal may be for 7 years and $150 million. Wow, Johan is the best pitcher in baseball but I see this as a huge risk for the Mets, seven years is a long time and that golden arm could get weary and sore before 7 years comes and goes.
If the Yankees offered Hughes and Cabrera and a bag of balls I would have much preferred that deal to this deal with the Mets. As for the Red Sox offer, I am not sure that Ellsbury has proven himself just yet so I have no problem passing on that deal. We will never know if the Yankees or the Red Sox actually offered the players that were rumored. As a Twins executive told me this week-end, it takes two teams to make a deal. I interpret that to mean that maybe the Yankees and Reds Sox deals weren’t the names that were so often bandied about because I can’t believe that the Twins would pass on a deal that included Hughes and Cabrera.
This deal with the Mets bothers me because there are no sure fire players that we can just plug in the line-up now. Force feed Gomez in CF to start? Maybe, maybe later in the season. The Twins can still be a fun team to watch this year but they can’t compete with the Tigers or the Indians. I think the Twins can play with the mighty Whities and the Royals but the Royals can be tough if their pitching shows up.
The Twins need to solidify their pitching and they could go a long ways down that road if Liriano can came back strong but that is a lot to hope for in 2008, and more likely to happen in 2009. Can Baker, Slowey or Bonser step up and fill the 2 through 4 spots? That leaves the final spot up for grabs between Blackburn, Perkins, and Humber. I would love to see Perkins in the rotation but with his history I am not sure he can stay healthy throwing that many innings. It is hard to be real confident in these guys and I am thinking we will get some good starts and a number of bad starts from this group as they learn.
So, if that is the case, why not do the same thing with the position players and try this line-up? Casilla leads off at 2B followed by Mauer catching, Young hitting third in left, Morneau bats cleanup and plays 1B, the right fielder Cuddyer bats fifth and the six hole is filled by DH Kubel, Lamb the 3B bats 8th and Everett hits 9th. Why not give Casilla and Gomez a shot and see if they can handle the job and learn how to play in the big leagues. With questionable pitching we can’t afford to give up any extra outs so we need strong defense up the middle and Gomez and Casilla should fill the bill. Plus, these guys should steal 90-100 bases between them. The Twins hitting this year will surprise some people. Mauer should bounce back big after an injury plagued season, the newly acquired Young can be a RBI machine, Morneau can improve, Kubel is just starting to get comfortable and I look for a big improvement with Jason. Lamb will add some power to the lineup and I think Everett will surprise a lot of people with his hitting.
My biggest concern with the Twins is their bullpen because I can see it getting over worked with the inconsistent starting pitching. I think Gardenhire and his coaches will earn their pay this year as they guide this young team through the season.
As for the other teams? This deal helps the Red Sox because they keep all their chips and don’t have to face Santana as a Yankee. They still need to move Crisp and I would not mind seeing him in Minnesota for a year or so while Gomez gains experience and learns the Twins ways in Rochester. The Yankees are hurt big time by this deal because now the Mets have the best pitcher in baseball across town and the Yankees still have to go into the season with either the old goat or the kindergarten pitching staff and neither option will end up being very appealing.