Phillies Nation


Mets Trade For Santana

Well, crap.

USA Today is reporting a four-for-one swap, as the Mets will send Phillip Humber, Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey and Deoils Guerra to the Mets for the All-World left-hander.

More on this to come, but a few knee-jerk quick thoughts:

1. The Mets stole this one. They didn’t have to give up their No. 1 prospect.
2. The Mets are suddenly the favorite to win both the East and the NL.
3. We’re in trouble.

UPDATE (9:00 p.m.): The deal isn’t quite official yet, as the Mets have a little less than two days to reach a long-term (six or seven years) agreement with Santana. Considering the work the Mets have put into the deal, I’d have to think the agreement will be finalized and Santana will don No. 57 for the New York orange and blue.

Here are Santana’s numbers, in case you’ve been under limestone:

2007: 219 IP / 15-13 / 3.33 ERA / 235 K / 52 BB
2006: 233.7 IP / 19-6 / 2.77 ERA / 245 K / 47 BB / Cy Young
2005: 231.7 IP / 16-7 / 2.87 ERA / 238 K / 45 BB
2004: 228 IP / 20-6 / 2.61 ERA / 265 K / 54 BB / Cy Young
Career: 1308.7 IP / 93-44 / 3.22 ERA / 1381 K / 364 BB

Santana’s a few solid years away from a Hall of Fame enshrinement. His entire career in the Majors has been spent in Minnesota, where he’s been the most dominant pitcher of the last five years.

What Phillies fans need to know off the bat:

1. Johan Santana has pitched in the American League. Now he comes over here. Crap.
His career numbers against the NL: 182.7 IP / 16-4 / 2.27 ERA / 191 K / 46 BB
Of course, he’ll be facing many young and poor offenses, and often (Washington, Florida, Pittsburgh, Houston, Saint Louis). Other teams are filled with players who haven’t seen him much (Phillies, Atlanta, San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago, Milwaukee). Simply put, at least in 2008, Santana could demolish the National League for 25 wins.

2. Santana is a lefty. He punishes lefties.
His career numbers against lefties: 1192 PA / .223 AVG / .283 OBP / .371 SLG / 289 K / 84 BB
Before anyone makes the joke that the line resembles Pedro Feliz’ career line, I have to admit, righties actually hit worse against him. Seriously. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Geoff Jenkins will struggle, no doubt. And, well, Feliz, Pat Burrell and Carlos Ruiz will likely struggle too. Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino will just have to guess which side will be best.

3. Santana is durable.
Since 2005, Santana has only once pitched less than five innings in an outing, and that was his last start in 2007, when the Twins were way out of the playoff race. He’ll go six and seven without any problems, and at the very least, he’ll keep his team well in the game as the late innings approach. If the Mets offense gets the clutch monkey off their back, it could be smooth sailing for Santana.

4. There is a chance.
Santana’s not a fly ball pitcher or ground ball pitcher; in fact, he tends to give up more flies than grounders for his career. At least in Citizens Bank Park, there’s a chance of jumping on him with the longball. Of course, that’s if the Phils can lay off him. What Santana is … is a strikeout pitcher. And the Phillies have a slew of free swingers.

This has the possibility of ending up like the A-Rod deal for the Yankees. Just speculation, really. There’s been precedent with adding the best player in his league, then coming up short for years on end afterward. Is it a chemistry thing? Is it a karma thing? Is it a performance thing? I don’t know. Chances are Santana will gel right into that clubhouse and he and Pedro Martinez will make an unstoppable, 35-win duo in 2008. But then again, there is a chance that could all come to naught.

How do I feel about the deal, really?

Johan Santana will make the Mets better. As long as he’s healthy — absolutely. He could improve the team by 10 wins. If this Mets rotation stays healthy, or finds the pieces along the way (if injury were to strike other pitchers), they should win the East. As strong as the Phillies offense is, I can’t see the pitching overcoming what now looks to be a very even Mets club.

Now, if the Phillies can turn around and respond to this deal with pitching (Erik Bedard seems unlikely, but there’s something out there, right?), I could definitely say the Mets and Phillies are dead even. But at this moment, if Santana were to sign after a long-term deal is finalized, the Mets are the team to beat in the National League East.

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