Garza Off the Market

The “buzz” had been suggesting for weeks that the Twins would trade hot pitching prospect Matt Garza to the Tampa Bay Rays for Delmon Young. Well finally, the deal is done, and it looks like a good one for both teams.

The Twins sent Garza, minor leaguer Eduardo Molan, and Jason Bartlett (wasn’t he just part of the Brad Lidge trade? oh no, that was Eric Bruntlett, never mind) to the Rays in exchange for the enigmatic Young, shortstop Brendan Harris, and outfield prospect Jason Pridie. Though Garza is highly rated, he was an excess arm in Minnesota, who was in need of good young bats. In Young they get a potential All-Star, in Harris a starting shortstop with pop, and in Pridie they might have their replacement for Torii Hunter — a centerfielder for the next 5-10 years.

How this effects the Mets? First of all, it puts an end to the Carlos Gomez (or Lastings Milledge) – for – Garza rumors. It also likely eliminates any more talk regarding Johan Santana, because the Twins’ most urgent need were young outfielders ready to step into big league jobs — and that is the one thing the Mets have to offer. Though there is some possibility that the Twins might consider flipping Pridie, I’m not seeing it. So two of the Mets’ most valuable chips in a deal for Santana — Gomez and Milledge — have become moot subjects in trade talks.

At the same time, the exit of Garza might mean the Twins would want to replace him with similarly talented and youthful pitching prospects. Suddenly Philip Humber, Mike Pelfrey, Kevin Mulvey, and Deolis Guerra become more interesting targets — though, a trade for Santana likely would have to include at least three or all of those hurlers. As great as Santana is, do the Mets want to completely empty their cupboard? My guess is no.

I could be wrong, but my guess is that this Garza-Young trade effectively ends any trade talk involving Johan’s transfer to the #7 train.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Walnutz15 November 29, 2007 at 8:13 am
    Agreed 600%, Joe. Basically — from here on out, there’s no chance you see Santana in a Met uniform.

    It was unlikely to begin with, but with what the Twins are acquiring in this deal — it more or less screams out to the rest of the league that the Twinkies can hold out for any top pitching prospect (or 2) — or even ask for pitchers in Major League rotations.

    Delmon Young is one of the best young outfielders in the game (and has proven Major League success).

    Pridie’s a 23 year old Centerfielder coming off a nice year at Triple-A, and was originally drafted by the Twins. Re-acquiring him says to me that they’ll likely give him a shot to win a job out there.

    Milledge, Gomez? No need….this would pretty much cross the Mets off the list of potential trade partners….and without these 2, there’s nothing in terms of prospects I’d even touch from the Mets.

    The Twins would be looking for prime pitching prospects — who are Major League-ready — in a deal for Santana. Pelfrey, Humber, Mulvey….not the names I’d be holding out for if I’m the Twins.

    If I have the choice, I’m dealing with the Yankees now — as they can more or less hold out for a guy like Hughes. They could ask for Kennedy and another position-playing prospect, too…

    That’s a very young and talented two-fifths of a Starting Rotation — that’s under control for years to come. And if the Yanks won’t budge on Hughes or Chamberlain — then the Twins could certainly ask for a guy like Chien-Ming Wang.

    I think it’s clear that the Mets are beat, here — and that the Twinkies would definitely prefer to deal with Yankees over anyone else, just in terms of return.

    Overall, in regard to the trade — I think it’s a pretty good one for both teams. It gives the Twinkies a guy who mashes, and can play any outfield position (or DH some days) — Delmon Young’s definitely the centerpiece here.

    And Tampa grabs themselves another nice arm. A Top 3 of Kazmir, Shields and Garza….with David Price, Jake McGee, Jeff Niemann and others at the minor league-level and knocking on the door?

    They’ve set themselves up nicely in that department — and have a number of young arms to hang onto, or package off in a deal somewhere else. Hopefully, they choose wisely and get themselves building to compete within the AL East.

  2. whatdatmean November 29, 2007 at 8:18 am
    Would you?
    The mets send Reyes, Gotay,+ humber
    To Minny for
    Santana [who re-signs to a 7 yr deal], + Brendan Harris
    Lineup-Castillo, harris/Lmilz, wright, beltran, alou, delgado, estrada/castro, Lmilz/harris
    SP-Santana, Pedro, Maine, OP, El Duque
    AAA-pelfrey, vargas, mulvey, bostick…, and we keep heilman for RP

    09- Gomez-lf, castillo-2b, wright-3b, beltran-cf, Lmilz-rf, harris-ss, castro/?-c, f-mart-1b
    SP-Santana, maine, OP, mulvey, pelfrey/vargas?

    The Mets are said to have a “cant miss” 19 y/o ss prospect playing A ball.

    Just throwing it out there, Would you?

    Nah, me either, but It does make it something to think about

  3. isuzudude November 29, 2007 at 8:29 am
    I agree with you both. Time to forget about Santana until he potentially becomes a free agent next offseason. For all the rumors that have been flying around about the Twins looking for a trade partner to unload Johan upon, it’s very possible they hold on to him right thru 2008 if no one is willing to meet their demands. At least in that scenario they wind up with a draft pick from the team that signs Santana next offseason. At this point, knowing the Twins are specifically asking for studly pitching prospects, it looks to me like the Yankees and Red Sox are the only teams realistically still in the mix.

    As far as the Garza trade is concerned, it turns out I was right that the Twins wanted a better OF prospect in return than Carlos Gomez. I think the truth is, unless packaged with a few of our other prospects, Gomez by himself would likely only be able to net us a Mark Prior/Noah Lowry/Cliff Lee type pitcher. He’s just not a developed-enough OF at this stage of his career.

  4. joe November 29, 2007 at 10:17 am
    Good point, isuzu. The fact the Twins were able to snatch Delmon Young in return for Matt Garza means the value for Santana could be much higher than anyone expected.
  5. Micalpalyn November 29, 2007 at 1:57 pm
    I’d like to refrain from disagreeing.

    Delmon is a top talent no doubt, but Minn had to include Jason Bartlett to get him, a straight deal was not going to get it done. Now Minn has a whole at SS. Also Delmon is twice the headcase Lastings has been written to be. Time will. tell. Minn really does well in player development so it might be a good change of scenery. I think…my opinion, ….that Lastings compares favorably to Delmon, but again Omar is holding him (and Gomez) back for a bigger name.

    One of the areas i feel Tampa gains is that Delmon could have imploded if he stayed in Tampa. But at the same time Tampa has had 10 yrs worth of high draft picks and yet NONE of them currently features as an perennial All-star. Their best current star is ____ (he whose name is stricken from record) who they originally passed on in the draft. As such I dont think this is a good move for Garza.

    I never thought we’d play on Santana (see my comment yesterday) just because I dont think Omar will empty the farm for ONE player. I think We see a 5-6 player deal with one pitcher, one OFer and one other. And at least one other player comes back. I’d look for Beddard. I think Omar is camped out in their farm system. Remember he originally asked for Adam Loewen instead of John Maine.

    As far as Santana: I think they could trade Nathan, then offer Santana the world to stay. with Delmon, (if he behaves) I think they have a better player than Hunter in a few short years…..(when they open their new park). I agree with Isu on Gomez. BUT I think teams that WANT him (to fill a void) might pay more. I liked what I saw especially in the Yankee series last yr.

  6. joe November 29, 2007 at 2:16 pm
    Ed, the Twins also received Brendan Harris to play SS — so no hole.
  7. Micalpalyn November 29, 2007 at 4:12 pm
    ‘ but Twins GM Bill Smith told reporters last night that the club still may be looking for a centerfielder. That keeps hope alive for the Mets, who could send them Lastings Milledge or Carlos Gomez.

    The Twins did trade their shortstop in Bartlett, but it’s doubtful that was to clear space for Jose Reyes. They do have internal options as well.”


    I think Punto more likely goes to SS and Harris to 2nd.

  8. Micalpalyn November 29, 2007 at 6:44 pm
  9. isuzudude November 29, 2007 at 7:04 pm
    my response to that link, mic, is to offer pelfrey & gomez to the a’s for haren or the orioles for bedard and see how quickly they get shot down. maybe journalists and fans like what they see out of gomez and pelfrey, but GMs and scouts don’t. especially when there are other prospects available from other teams that have better track records and higher upsides. i think in order to get an ace, the mets need to give up one of perez/maine, one of milledge/gomez, and one of humber/pelfrey/mulvey. call me crazy…but if you’re an oakland or baltimore fan you would want to see nothing less than that.
  10. joe November 29, 2007 at 7:30 pm
    “Pelfrey hasn’t even turned 24 yet, and he’s still mid-90s with plus sink.”

    Sometimes I wonder if Keith Law was really a scout at one time, and/or if he simply hasn’t been watching the same games as the rest of us.

    As of September, Pelfrey was only touching “mid-90s” with his 4-seamer on 3-0 counts, and it had rise if anything.

    When he pitches with sink — and by “plus” he means above average, not Brandon Webb sink (which would be “plus-plus” — his velocity dips down to 90-92.

    Maybe I’m too hard on Law, or Pelfrey, or both. But in my eyes, the Mets overexposed Pelfrey’s vulnerabilities by rushing him up to the bigs, which has now reduced his value. Had he been given the time to develop in the minors, and add at least a changeup, while also getting minor leaguers out consistently, there would be enough mystery for other teams to salivate over. As it stands now, he’s a guy with one Major League pitch (sinker) and two inconsistent, below-average pitches (slider and changeup).

    Of course, he has time to develop his other pitches — but as of right this moment, he “is what he is”, with questionable potential based on the ability to expand his repertoire.

  11. whatdatmean November 30, 2007 at 8:45 am
    i totally agree with isuzu…and i would do that trade in a second. We dont have an ace on the team, maybe maine, but that remains to be seen. any trade for Bedard, Haren, possibly even Santana[doubtful] would start with maine/perez + Lmilz/Gomez + pelfrey/humber/other.
    I think this is the deal that minaya was referring to when he said he didnt want to trade prospects, rather MLB talent.
    If this is the case, i would rather keep maine than perez, gomez over lmilz, and pelfrey over humber. If we are getting santana or bedard, i dont care what package we trade out of that. However, if we get Haren, it would be stupid to trade Maine bc they are essentially the same guy at this time. I think Haren can be had for Perez + Lmilz + vargas… forget the reports, beane was fascinated w/lmilz since he was drafted, and lmilz showed he was a better CF than RF. Vargas is a beane type of guy, young, lefty. had a down year last year bc he pitched through an injury, losing 5-7 mph off pitches, and should be much better now healthy. He has seen success with the Marlins and is a good prospect who could be the 5th SP for the A’s.
    Saving humber does allow us to look at a trade trade for c cordero bc the Nats seem to like him, he also makes nice insurance for the rotation.
    Also, we would need to get a 5th starter. I would take a shot at Silva, also trying to land C Lee, and place him in AAA to see what he has left[still young] or Colon. Hell, i would take contreras on the cheap for a 5th starter.

    dark horse “ace” acquisition… AJ burnett. If the price gets too high for haren or bedard, this may be a good option as he
    can be had cheaper as a salary dump and injury risk. May only cost 2 prospects [not names Lmilz or Gomez!.

  12. isuzudude November 30, 2007 at 10:49 am
    whatdatmean: thank you for agreeing, and I agree with most of what you write. I don’t think Oakland will bite on Perez/Milledge/Vargas, mostly because Ollie is arbitration eligible this offseason ( and will see a nice raise from his $2.3-mil salary from 2007) and will be a free agent next offseason, while Maine isn’t arbitration eligible until next offseason and won’t be a free agent until 2012! Maybe Beane does like Milledge and Vargas, but at this point that’s all hearsay and speculation, and certainly they aren’t enticing enough to allow him to give up Haren. I do like your plans of getting Silva and then an under-the-radar type of guy for the 5th rotation spot. However, I’m not high on Burnett, as I’ve explained before. He’s extremely injury prone, and would likely still cost the Mets a high prospect. I’d hate to see us deal Gomez to Toronto for him, just for him to get injured and then opt out of his contract (which he will be able to do after 2008), and see him sign with a different club while Gomez blossoms into an all-star. If Omar is to land Burnett, I’d prefer waiting until next offseason when he can be had as a free agent.

    Allow me this time to think outloud. The more I see the Mets as non-players for Johan, Bedard, or Haren, the more I start looking at Pittsburgh for a possible trade (which whatdatmean has brought up on several occasions). If you look at the Pirates, they have a lot of players the Mets could realistically be interested in: Snell, Gorzelanny, Morris (yuck), Torres, Marte, Paulino, Bay. No, they’re not overwhelming names that are locks to be all-stars in the future, but if the Mets are getting nowhere in their negotiations to get the “Big Three” we keep hearing rumors about, and the prices for guys like Ramon Hernandez, Bengie Molina, and Joe Blanton remain too high, then Omar may look to steal a few more players from Pittsburgh ( a la Ollie Perez). If Gomez is the true heir-apparent to RF, then why not trade Milledge for Bay, who will have his contract expire after 2009? Bay isn’t making a ton of money ($13.25-mil over next 2 years), but in their hasty ways maybe Pitt wants to part with Bay now after a .247/141-K campaign in ’07. That way he takes over in RF until Gomez is ready. Perhaps Pitt is also down enough on Snell to make him available for, let’s say, Mulvey, after Snell had a 4.83 ERA over the 2nd half of last season. Snell isn’t due for arbitration until next offseason, but I see him more available than Gorzelanny, who won’t be due for a raise until 2010. Marte & Torres are both entering the final year of their relatively expensive contracts (Torres $3.2-mil, Marte $2-mil), and could be made available as well and would provide the Mets with bullpen improvements. I know the Pirates aren’t going to just hand these guys over, but is it possible they’re desperate enough to get younger and cheaper by dealing Bay/Snell/Torres for Milledge/Pelfrey or Humber/Mulvey/some other prospect? Remember, it’s not always the most obvious rumor Omar winds up making reality, but more so the deals that come out of nowhere and leave us saying, “wow, Omar, sorry we ever doubted you!”

  13. Micalpalyn November 30, 2007 at 10:55 am

    I think there IS an offer out for Beddard and The O’s are essentially going to fire sale.

    But I have written similarly on the pitt staff. But Thety are gun shy having seen Ollie turn around.

    I doubt Blanton or Harden make an upgrade over Maine or Ollie.

  14. joe November 30, 2007 at 12:45 pm
    I like the thoughts on Pittsburgh. At the same time, I think Gorzelanny is close to untouchable, and the Pirates can’t trade Bay without getting an established big leaguer in return. Even after Bay’s season, he’s still more or less the face of the Pirates, and fans would not accept his exit without getting an MLB veteran in return.

    I do see Ian Snell as a viable target, and also think that the O’s will be dealing. I still feel that the Mets will pry away Ramon Hernandez, and possibly get another arm from Baltimore in the deal.