Johan Santana – On The Way?

It’s do or die time for Omar Minaya.

No matter how many times Minaya, or Willie Randolph, or any other Mets official says that the team is “comfortable” with their pitching staff, we know better — they’re NOT comfortable. Oh, we fans — many of us, anyway — are satisfied with the current state of the rotation, so long as the Sheasters pick up one decent veteran arm (Jon Lieber?) as a backup plan. Leading with Pedro, John Maine, and Oliver Perez, then crossing our fingers on El Duque and one of the youngsters, seems like a fair plan. Not ideal, but less questionable than a year ago, for sure.

But the pressure is on Omar to make THE move — the biggest move of his tenure since the Pedro – Beltran one-two punch.

The Twins have been playing chicken with the Yankees and Red Sox all winter, with the Mets a jealous bystander. Now, however, it’s time for someone to blink — and both the BoSox and Bronxters have withdrawn their offers, making the Mets the unlikely leaders. The Yankees have “officially” removed themselves from the sweepstakes, according to owner and figurehead Hank Steinbrenner — but then again, Hank is the same guy who vowed that there would be absolutely no negotiations with a certain third baseman who enjoys the company of Canadian dancers. Still, publicly, the Yankees are out, which means the Red Sox will not budge on their separate offers (one headed by Jacoby Ellsbury and the other featuring Jon Lester). That leaves the Mets and their measly 4-prospect package of Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra, Phil Humber, and Kevin Mulvey — not a one ready for MLB duty. Supposedly, the Twins are demanding one more juicy prospect — Fernando Martinez to be exact — and Omar hasn’t blinked … yet.

We’ve already covered the negative aspect of dumping the last of the Mohicans from the Mets’ farm system, so we won’t beat that horse again. We’ll hold our collective breath in hopes that F-Mart is not added to the package, a move that would ultimately set back the minor league system about four years. If F-Mart is added, and the Twins pull the trigger, there will be no turning back — the Mets will be playing for RIGHT NOW for the next five years.

Yes, the Mets are always playing for the present, but at this moment they also have just enough bits and pieces to be optimistic about building from within as they enter their new ballpark in 2009. Chances are good that at least one if not two or three of the aforementioned prospects can make an impact at Citi Field in the near future. Is missing the blossoming of home-grown talent in two or three years worth having Johan Santana now?


It all comes down to this: do the Mets want to stay the course and hope to grow into a longstanding contender, or throw down the gauntlet and show all of MLB they are serious about capturing elite status here and now.

Having ignored, flubbed, or barely missed on all other possibilities this winter, Omar Minaya is pressured to make a move. He has the proper size ego to pull off a deal of this magnitude — in truth, it kills him not to make a big splash. For Minaya, this is almost too easy: the urgency demands that an ace be brought to Shea, the youngsters are mostly unknown to the majority of casual Mets fans, and even if they do pan out, they’ll do it way up in Minnesota — so who in New York would even notice?

In exactly one month’s time, pitchers and catchers will be playing catch. The possibility that Johan Santana will be in Port St. Lucie at that time seems to be growing more realistic every day.

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. Micalpalyn January 15, 2008 at 11:30 am
  2. Micalpalyn January 15, 2008 at 11:44 am
    Mets Prefer Bedard Over Santana?

    This is becoming an Fmart sweepstakes.

    i think you (and I ) underestimate Omar. I think he has 6-7 players on the table with 3 targets. santana, Beddard and Blanton. If Santana does not work out there is Beddard.

    Omar made a comment that the twins can decide betwwen a prospect laden package and a ML ready package..Maybe the Mets offer both, but if the Twins want F-mart they get LESS players.

    Me: again I think Santana is out of my price range but the price is falling. The Mets have publicly said they will not balk at the 140 mill extension, THAT statement put them in the game. NOTE to readers The competition already have huge payroll concerns.

    But Beddard would be a palatable second choice: The O’s got 6 from the Astros, they might take 3 from the Mets IF they center a package around F-Mart.

  3. joe January 15, 2008 at 1:11 pm
    I have no interest in Bedard, especially at the price the O’s are demanding. I’m convinced he’s a ticking time bomb with TJ surgery in his near future. Understand I have little evidence of this claim — it’s a hunch based on my amateur analysis of his mechanics and frequent breakdowns.

    Blanton would be a fine addition, and I like him, but again, the price is too steep. If the Mets are going to give away four top prospects and possibly Aaron Heilman, they may as well make the push for Santana.

    I wouldn’t have a problem sending away F-Mart in a deal for Santana so long as Gomez stays put. In addition, I’d be OK with F-Mart going to Oakland for Blanton, but only if the Mets hold on to at least two of Pelfrey, Humber, and Mulvey, AND keep Heilman, AND keep Gomez — but that’s probably not realistic.

  4. Micalpalyn January 15, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    1. Santana: Any pitcher a TJ waiting to happen. personally I have wondered if the 2007 showing for Santana did not prelude to ‘shoulder soreness”. As I have said santana’s price is too steep. but it has begun falling. The twins media are saying just take what is on the table and move on. I think F-mart and 2-3 other pieces is fair.

    2. Beddard: The O’s want Adam Jones. but Fmart is the big fish everyone wants. I like Fmart dont get me wrong, but I remember salivating on a young Alex Escobar not soo long ago. Or Jay Payton, alex Ochoa, Ryan Thompson….

    3. As such the bottom line is get the highest quality back, with least prospects. We have: MLready /ML close- Gomez, Church, Ahern, Pelfrey, Humber , Mulvey, Muniz

    Prospects- Deolis, F-Mart, Rustich (?)

    4. I WOULD take Beddard. But IF F-mart goes maybe I send Humber/Heilman, and another prospect.

    5. I NO deal does Humber AND Pelfrey go or Gomez AND F-Mart. EVERY prospect watch is like a pipe dream…there are no sure things. BUT if we give up 5 players I am SURE one if no two players go on to noteable careers. there are all types of projections, sabermetrics out there..but it seems TO ME, Gomez is projected somewhere in the Beltran realm and F-Mart equates to Juan Gonzo/Sammy Sosa. so I’d keep at least one. I have also said Pelfrey could well turn a corner in his 3rd season.

    6. I like Blanton, but is he that much better than Lohse? Lohse right now (clock ticking) might get no better than a 2-3 yr deal.

  5. isuzudude January 17, 2008 at 4:37 pm
    Some comic relief: Johan Santana’s wikipedia page already has him as a Met. Check it out:

    Although it appears someone got a little too liberal with the zero button on their keyboard.