Just in time for the holiday season, Mets 101's Seven in Seven series returns as our gift to you. Each week, the Mets 101 staff will begin a countdown of topics related to the New York Mets (i.e. best third baseman, worst defeat, etc.). We will begin our countdowns with the number seven and work all the way to number one. This week's Seven in Seven list is a blockbuster, as we will break down the biggest off-the-field moves that stole the headlines throughout Metropolitan history. We continue the countdown with our second biggest move of all time in the winter of 2008, when the Mets pulled the unthinkable and stole Johan Santana right underneath from the baseball world's feet.
Suffering the worst collapse in team history in 2007 (yes I cringed at the thought of that year too), the Mets knew they had to do something to sure up their roster, especially Pedro Martinez on the down trend. The Minnesota Twins knew heading into the season with Johan Santana with one year left on his contract, now was the time to get the max for him. Packed with a youth pool of talent, were able to beat out the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox for the then 29-year-old ace and two time Cy Young award winner. The biggest part of the deal however, may not have been so much the pieces involved to acquire Santana, but the extension needed to keep him.
Headed to the Mets:
LHP Johan Santana, at the age of 29-years-old the Mets got exactly what they were looking for. A two time Cy Young Award winning pitcher in his prime and arguably the best pitcher in baseball before injuring his arm a couple of years later.
Headed to the Astros:
OF Carlos Gomez: A young outfielder with hustle, quick speed, and a little bit of a pop with his bat, easily provided a threat on the bases. With Torii Hunter taking a center stage exit, Gomez provided the Twins with a player who though nowhere near the player Hunter is, could fit right in center field.
SP Deolis Guerra: Guerra was a super young talent from the Mets organization. Reaching high Class A Florida State League as a 17-year-old. While most teams would a next to quick compensation for losing out on Santana, the Twins organization is in no rush when it comes to arms.
SP Philip Humber: Humber was a high prospect for the Mets and in fact had a roster spot in the team's 2006 playoff roster. One of the organization's top pitching prospect, he made his debut in the majors in 2007. As a Met he will mostly be remembered for blowing a crucial start against the Washington Nationals (who were not very good back then) in the midst of the Mets' biggest collapse in team history.
How the Mets Fared: Though no Cy Young Awards or play-offs made, prior to the season just passed many writers would try to argue that there were no clear winners. However, after Santana not only managed to be the team's ace, but a majority of the time seem like he won the game for them. While here, he tended to have terrible run support behind him and his bullpen's would often fail him. Arguably, he should have had at least two or three seasons with 20 wins. If that isn't enough however, this past season should place a stamp on it being after a number of pitchers that threw no-hitters in their career's outside of being Mets and 50 years, Johan Santana became the first Met in the history of the organization to throw a no hitter.
How the Twins Fared: Frankly, not as great as the Mets. After all, the only player left on their roster from that trade is Deolis Guerra. While you are able to make the point of Carlos Gomez fairing well stepping into Torii Hunter's shoes and Philip Humber throwing a perfect game, 1. Gomez apparently didn't fill it that great leading to being traded and 2. Philip Humber before throwing his perfect game for the Chicago White Sox, was essentially becoming a journeyman having been with already five teams before the age of 29-years-old.
Hindsight is 20/20: If the organization was given the chance to make this trade again or not, the answer is absolutely again. With Santana you know exactly what you were getting, when it comes to prospects, they're just that. Which is why I didn't like the R.A. Dickey deal. I would have preferred for it to have been Jon Neise. The Twins made this move (trading an ace for prospects) and we can see how it ended up. With the Mets now with out a proven, healthy, and durable ace they will need Johan Santana now more than ever to at least give this team one last carry. And If you were to ask me, I'd say if fully healthy and has any magic left in the tank, he's our man.
Check back tomorrow for the biggest blockbuster of them all in Mets history as our Seven in Seven series concludes!
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