Revisiting the Johan Santana trade

From SABR member Aaron Gleeman at Baseball Prospectus on February 7, 2012:

Four years and one week ago, the Twins and Mets completed a blockbuster trade that sent Johan Santana to New York for prospects Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra, Kevin Mulvey, and Philip Humber. Santana, who’d won two Cy Young awards during the previous four seasons and deserved a third trophy that was misguidedly given to Bartolo Colon, signed a six-year, $137.5 million contract extension as part of the deal.

Santana was baseball’s best pitcher entering his age-29 season, and the Twins were consistent contenders with four division titles in the previous six seasons. However, for months it had been clear that they were unwilling or unable to keep their ace, who had one year and $13.25 million remaining on his contract, in Minnesota long term. Even letting him play out the season before recouping draft picks from his free agent departure never seemed to be an option.

Instead, the Twins spent all offseason shopping their ace, with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets emerging from the drawn-out negotiations as the three legitimate suitors. That those three teams wanted the best pitcher in baseball was no surprise, but each of them also had the well-stocked farm systems to put together strong offers and, perhaps most importantly, the financial means to give Santana the massive long-term deal he required.

Twins fans who watched Santana’s remarkable development from Rule 5 pick to Cy Young winner certainly weren’t thrilled about that reality, particularly since new general manager Bill Smith would be making the franchise-altering decision just months after replacing Terry Ryan. However, the ability to drool over all the top-ranked prospects being mentioned as possible trade targets made things a little easier to take.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: February 7, 2012. Last Updated: February 7, 2012.