Devil’s Advocate: Mets should be sellers and trade Johan Santana

I’m playing the Devil’s Advocate and exploring a line of thinking that doesn’t necessarily gel with what I want the Mets to do or think they’ll do.  Instead, let’s see if there is any sense in the Mets looking at 2012 as a rebuilding and retooling year.  Now… the Mets can and should still look at the cost of trading with the Padres for Carlos Quentin and Huston Street and also trading with Boston for Kelly Shoppach, but supposing that the Mets do… are we really more than a team JUST fighting to reach the playoffs?  I’m not sure the team should be in a buyer’s mentality unless they think they are thinking they can WIN in the playoffs.

So… perhaps the Mets should still be looking towards this season with an eye towards winning in 2013-2014.  While Johan Santana has been resurgent, it’s not exactly a given that he’s going to stay this way for long after the All-Star break, let alone into his final season.  Add to this the large chunk of change he’s owed and it’s not such a given that the Mets consider him part of their future.  Instead, the Mets could trade Santana to a team looking for pitching who might not be afraid of the price tag.

I’m pretty sure the Yankees still fall into this category.  In fact, Santana’s short-ish length to the contract makes him a cheaper option within their spectrum of money.  Johan would elevate the Yankees firmly above the Rays, Blue Jays, Orioles and Red Sox for 2012 and would give the Yankees a rotation to rival the Texas Rangers.

Who might the Yankees offer to tempt the Mets into making this deal that would basically invite Flushing to riot?  Well… I think that the Yankees would need to offer up Austin Romine and a mid-tier pitcher for the Alderson team to fathom this.  The Mets did draft a bunch of catchers and Cam Maron is coming on strong in Savannah, but the Mets don’t exactly have a plethora of catchers in the system who are close to making an impact.  The Yankees would still have Gary Sanchez.  Romine has been hurt most of the year but he’ll return later this month.  Add to Romine a mediocre MLB ready prospect like David Phelps and the Mets have enough to make eating crow palatable.

While the Mets are at it, we could also look to trade Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner and Andres Torres for prospects who might have higher ceilings than these players with more common skill sets.

Now… the Mets cab probably never do this and the Yankees might be equally opposed, but that isn’t to say that the idea of still being sellers while owning a winning record is a complete and total mistake.  It’s an extremely risky gamble… just as risky as trading prospects to try and win now.

What Say You?

  • Mets Should Buy Big
  • Mets Should Fill Needs Cheaply
  • Mets Should Stand Pat
  • Mets Should Be Playing For 2013 and Beyond… SELL!

 

16 comments for “Devil’s Advocate: Mets should be sellers and trade Johan Santana

  1. LGM
    July 11, 2012 at 11:52 am

    The guy threw the first and only no-hitter in the franchise’s history. I think its safe to say he’s AT LEAST finishing the season in Queens.

    • David Groveman
      July 11, 2012 at 12:31 pm

      You Sir, have made one of the best points.

      That perfect game probably guaranteed his final seasons on the contract are both spent in Flushing.

  2. Bob
    July 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    On one hand: trading Santana this year is the wise long term move. He is having a resurgent year in which his performance and health related doubts have been squashed. If he were a free agent after this year he would be talked about in the same breath as Cole Hamels (who is looking for 24+ million/yr).

    On the other hand: this resurgence should make Santana’s value in a trade at an all time high. Given the fact that he has one more year under control of a team that trades for him has even more value than that one year. I believe, according to the new collective bargaining agreement, he would also have future value to the team that aquires him in that they would be eligible for draft pick compensation if another team signs him after his contract expires.

    With this in mind: Santan’s trade value should bring back TOP FLIGHT prospects and a large haul at that. He would be the best Value pitcher on the market given Cole Hamels lack of draft compensation potential. The Mets should look for no less than multiple prime prospects, and if he can bring that back….. then unfortunately he MUST go.

    Your suggestion however: should not be even close to getting a deal done. Think MUCH MUCH BIGGER….. and realistically, the Yankees DO NOT have what it takes in their farm system. Remember the Yankee farm system has been over-hyped over and over again.

    • David Groveman
      July 11, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      I think you might be ignoring the relatively large injury risk attached to Santana… and the price tag. I’m not 100% on the new CBA but I believe that no team would want to offer Santana arbitration for fear of what that contract would be.

      At his age, the extra year isn’t even that much of a guaranteed benefit to the team acquiring him. He could fizzle or get hurt and then has this monster amount of money owed him in 2013. This is one of the reasons the Yankees are one of the only franchises who could legitimately look at taking him on. Never ignore the money. Baseball is a business.

      Personally, I’d be pretty happy with a prospect of Romine’s caliber coming to the Mets.

      What I’d be unhappy with is that the Mets would be giving up on the 2012 season.

      • Bob
        July 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm

        Santana should have proven by now that he is as healthy as any other major or minor league pitcher. He has not missed a start this entire year, his stats are those of a front of the rotation pitcher, and lets not forget the no hitter.

        His contract is 2012 24.0
        2013 25.5
        Option
        2014 club option 25.0 (or 5.5 mil buy out)

        These salaries are comparable to ALL of the pitchers that have signed over the past couple years that are from of the rotation pitchers.
        Think Halladay, Cliff Lee, C.C. Sabathia,

        As I mentioned in before, Cole Hamels is looking for 24+ mil/year at the end of this year.

        Granted, Cliff Lee is younger, but Halladay and Lee were both the same age as Santana is now when they were traded.

        I believe the Halladay and Lee trades should be a blue print of what to look for.
        Both were traded for multiple prospects that were rated higher than Romine.

        • Bob
          July 11, 2012 at 1:44 pm

          correction: make that Cole Hamels is younger, NOT Cliff Lee

          • David Groveman
            July 11, 2012 at 1:52 pm

            Right, but both Lee and Halladay had slightly better track records for health. If someone would give me that kind of prospects for Santana I’m signing right now.

  3. 7train
    July 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    We would have to be overwhelmed. Romaine is the kind of catcher you develop yourself, not trade a big star for. Murphy, Turner and Torres are probably more valuable to us than anyone else.

    • David Groveman
      July 11, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      I still really like Romine. I think he will be quite good.

      • 7train
        July 11, 2012 at 5:46 pm

        I think Romine’s fine but Johan is a true difference maker. If we were going to trade him it would have to be for a potential star or forget about it.

        Romine does not have the potential to be a star, in fact his ceiling is as a useful competent part of a catching tandem. Think of it this way, would you trade Romine to GET Johan? Hell yeah, of course you would.

        Romine’s been out all year with an inflammed and herniated disk. Not a good thing for a first basemen let alone a catcher and the last thing we need is to turn Johan into Reece Havens.

        If we’re talking to a serious Brian Cashman then Sanchez plus is what Johan would deliver.

  4. Chris F
    July 11, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    • Mets need to make the right decisions that balance today’s needs, and the future

    I dont think the answer for a wildly inconsistent team (from playoff caliber outstanding to Bad News Bears in successive games) that’s hovering a chalk line over 500 is either sell the house or buy like this is the last chance to win for ages to come. Everyone on the club understands this is a business, and if Sandy gets approached for Johan in a serious way, for genuine prospects or MLB now players, then he should take it seriously. Johan, if traded will always have a warm spot in Mets fans hearts and cheer for him in Flushing no matter the uniform, but we are resilient enough to know this is a business. If we get someone good in a trade, bring up a shiny new face like Harvey or Wheeler, we will all forget the pain of trading Johan (who was that guy wearing # 7 last year?). Im not advocating for or against moving him. I dont think this the team Id say WE MUST BUY NOW to make a deep run for 2012. I think we dont want to part with key pieces for the near and far future, but we should be adaptable to realize that to field the best team possible, we need solutions to bats on the right side of the plate and the bull pen. The right additions will benefit the Mets now and later.

  5. Metsense
    July 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    I agree with Chris F “Mets need to make the right decisions that balance today’s needs, and the future”. Continuing Devil’s Advocate theory though, What could the Mets do with 12M plus what they already have budgeted at the trade deadline, 25.5M in 2013 and 25M in 2014? Reality check is that if the Yankees are going to spend that kind of money it will be on a younger, less of a risk pitcher. It is also very unlikely that Johan will ever have a WAR value equal to his remaining contract.

    • 7train
      July 11, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      For Johan’s 2014 vesting option to kick in he would have to finish 1st or 2nd in the Cy Young in 2013. Not likely but if he did I think the Yankees would be pretty satisfied bringing him back. More likely he doesn’t and either resigns at a more reasonable price or leaves but gives them a shot at two World Series for 42 M including buyout some of which we could pick up.

      Lot of cash no doubt but between CC, Petite, Pineda, Banuelos, and Betences injuries and under performance, Kuroda and Garcia’s age a year and a half of Santana beats Maine and Figueroa and it would be better to have him than face him if someone else gets involved. One thing the Yankees would have to do is make a decision on Hamels and Felix in the next couple of weeks rather than the off season and that probably would involve seeing what they would have to give Philly or Seattle and make Johan seem cheap in comparison.

  6. HOWARD FISHMAN
    July 12, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Stop with all this garbage about trading Johan and concentrate on realizing that this team’s performance far exceeded what any savvy baseball fan ever expected. The man pitched a no- hitter and we have a chance to make the playoffs,GIVE ME A BRAKE. He should be a Met for as long as he’s in baseball, if that’s possible. The Mets are where they are without making any outlandish deals and if they could have afforded Reyes, they probably be in better shape.Considering the victory they had over that overblown Trustee [Picard] in the Madoff case, they should have more money available to keep stars like Johan and maybe acquire some needed right handed hitting and relief pitching. The discussion of selling him considering his achievement and The Mets performance ,so far, is certainly an unwanted distraction.

  7. Damian
    July 22, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Look at the teams fighting for a spot. Despite the record, the mets are probably the least talented of all the teams in the NL east alone. Even with the extra wild card, the mets would have to beat out a number of considerably better teams, which is unlikely. Further, as Groveman pointed out, even if on the off chance they made the playoffs, advancing with the current roster is unlikely.

    Santana is aging and might never bring more value back than now. A trade makes sense. Toronto would be ideal, as they desperately need a front end pitcher. They have the prospects and the flexibility to make a trade happen and they are buyers. Could ask Toronto for prospects OF – Marisnick and SP – Syndergaard, and starting Catcher – Arencibia. They could easily part with Arencibia and OF prospects as they have those positions filled (or ready to be filled) with young talent.

    Could it happen? maybe. Will it happen? No. The mets have been one of the worst managed teams for the last 10 years. Sure I would love to think they could win now, but you have to think big picture. In two years, they would have a solid core of young players at most positions and could sign one or two good free agents (bullpen) to make this a team that can actually win, not just a wild card berth, but the whole thing. An always loyal, regularly frustrated Mets fan for life.

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