Interview: Prospects Heading to Minnesota

In a column for , Sunil Joshi takes a closer look Carlos Gomez, Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra – the four prospects who were traded to the Twins for Johan Santana.


added to by Jordan Zakarin

…i spoke to Baseball Prospectus prospect guru Kevin Goldstein, who was just a week away from releasing his Mets Top 11 Prospects List, to learn more about the players who will be leaving the Mets for Minnesota…

Kevin Goldstein: They’re giving up, like you say, four guys who were all among their top prospects. Then again, this is the Mets system we’re talking about, so their top prospects aren’t equal to other teams top prospects. There’s nobody on that list of four who is some kind of guaranteed stud — it’s a crazy great deal for New York.

Jordan Zakarin: Who will they miss the most of that lot?

Kevin Goldstein: I don’t think any of them had any sort of immediate impact potential with the Mets, as Gomez was blocked. After that, guys like Humber and Mulvey had fill-in chances, but they just added a starter to their mix — a pretty good one at that.

Jordan Zakarin: Given that you have to do a new top 11, and will be looking at some of the lower level guys, what are the chances the mets can replenish this prospect depth in-house, from recent draftees or international signings?

Kevin Goldstein: It was a bad system before, and it’s obviously a much worse, borderline horrible system now. But that’s okay.

A minor league system serves two purposes: One, create talent for the big league team. Two, create talent to get other players for the big league team.

The system just filled purpose No. 2 quite well.

Jordan Zakarin: I think the darkhorse here was Deolis Guerra, in terms of potential, and fans not knowing so much about him. He probably has the highest ceiling of the pitchers traded. But, the Mets have recently been bragging about a strong low minor league, recently drafted corps of pitchers. Do you see any potential top prospects there, that could replenish the farm and make up for these losses?

Kevin Goldstein: Not really. Every system has high upside guys at the lower levels who COULD become top prospects, but few do, and I was argue that the Mets actually have far fewer of that type of player than most teams. I like Guerra plenty, but he was no sure thing, either.

Jordan Zakarin: How lucky are the Mets to have kept Fernando Martinez? It’s seemingly a dumb question, but basically I’m asking how good of a prospect is he, and are you surprised they got Santana without him?

Kevin Goldstein: I don’t like ‘lucky’, it’s just a good trade. I’m not surprise Martinez isn’t in the deal — I’m downright shocked. To me here’s clearly the Mets’ best prospect, and I have no idea how the Twins can make that trade without getting him.

Jordan Zakarin: I’ll let your scouting report coming out soon speak for itself, but do you think there’s a clear gulf between Martinez and Gomez, and do you think Minnesota may have chosen Gomez because he can play center field?

Kevin Goldstein: I think Gomez’s CF ability definitely plays into that. The have a wide open hole there right now that needs to be filled, so Gomez will compete with Jason Pridie and Denard Span.

Jordan Zakarin: Does Mike Pelfrey not being in the deal reflect more on the Mets still liking him, or baseball people elsewhere being down on him?

Kevin Goldstein: We don’t know that, unfortunately. We don’t know if he was offered, and we don’t know how the Twins feel about him. In general, from talking to other people in the industry, Pelfrey’s stock was pretty down after 2007.

Jordan Zakarin: Do people see him more as a reliever now, and do you think he can still crack the Mets rotation?

Kevin Goldstein: People are mixed on that question. He’ll be given a shot in spring training, but he’ll have to earn it.

Jordan Zakarin: Finally, how do you think this offer compares to the Red Sox offer, and do you have any idea how the Mets were able to pull this off?

Kevin Goldstein: I think what we’ve learned here is that we probably never really knew what the Red Sox offer was. Because what was rumored is a far greater package than this. Same goes for the Yankees.

…big thanks to kevin, who did this interview at the spur of the moment…i forward to your new Mets Top 11 Prospects List at Baseball Prospectus, which should be interesting…though this trade probably make your life a lot harder…


Blog: Gleeman on Mets Package

At his blog,, well-respected writer and Twins fan Aaron Gleeman has the following to say about potentially trading Johan Santana

“Monday in this space I discussed the strength of a Phil Hughes-led offer from the Yankees, but a Mets package that includes Martinez, Guerra, Gomez, and Mulvey would blow that out of the water.”

Gleeman also writes for The Hardball Times and, among other noteworthy websites

thanks to Peter Wade for the link

Martinez, Guerra, Gomez, Mulvey and Humber are among the top seven prospects in the Mets farm-system, according to Baseball America, who writes…

“Minaya says Martinez is on the same track as players such as Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa, all of whom reached the majors by age 20…His bat ultimately will be his calling card, and the Mets see him as a future 30-homer threat…

“Guerra’s fastball had below-average velocity for most of his first season, but now it ranges from 89-94 mph and touches 96…The Mets have monitored Guerra’s workload carefully, and he has plenty of projection in his big-shouldered frame.  His next goal will be to stay healthy and pass the 100-inning level…

“Mulvey throws four pitches for strikes and keeps everything down…His competitiveness makes his whole greater than the sum of his parts…He projects as a No. 3 or 4 starter…

“Humber still has the best curveball in the organization…He’s still refining his command…He now projects as a back-of-the-rotation starter.”


Poll: Blanton, Santana or the Kids

According to Jerry Crasnick earlier this week at, the Mets are still interested in acquiring A’s RHP Joe Blanton, but not at the expense of Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey and Aaron Heilman.

In a recent post to Athletics Nation, Nico writes the following about Blanton…

“It’s difficult to say exactly how good Joe Blanton is….He has never missed a start, he rolls (literally) out of bed and gives you 200 IP, and the guy has won 42 games in 3 years…The consensus around the league is that Blanton’s best seasons are behind him, not ahead of him…Blanton’s weight has scared off teams that think it reflects either a lack of conditioning, or a poor work ethic, a risky tendency, etc., and they believe Blanton is not nearly as good a health risk in the future as he has been in the past…Yes, Bartolo Colon and David Wells made it work for years on an ample frame, but many others didn’t. If I saw Joe Blanton at the hardware store, it would be difficult to convince me that he was a top athlete who could make the strapping young All-American boy-wonder look foolish on a slow curve.”

…so, nico, you’re saying that he literally eats innings…sorry, i had to do it…it’s an obvious joke…

Last season for the A’s, Blanton was 14–10 with a 3.95 ERA through 34 starts, during which he allowed an average of just one walk per start.

He made at least 32 starts in each of the last three seasons.

He is eligible for salary arbitration this off-season, and the two after that, and is eligible for free agency after 2010.

…he’d be a nice fit, especially switching his game to the National League East…however, gomez, mulvey and heilman is a hefty price tag for a picther who, though he did well last season, had a 4.82 ERA in 2006…

In a recent chat for, Keith Law said the following when asked how the Mets should proceed, assuming Johan Santana and Erik Bedard are not an option…

“I think if they’re not getting either of those guys, they should skip the Joe Blantons of the world and roll the dice on Pelfrey and maybe Humber. You liked these guys enough to take them in the first round, and both did well in the minors. Pelfrey in particular still has #1-2 potential. Jerking these two guys up and down isn’t going to help the big club or enhance their trade value.”

to me, if santana is not an option, and the Mets are confident heilman can be replaced, i would pull the trigger on that deal for blanton, because he, John Maine and Oliver Perez will make a solid, young foundation to build upon over the next few seasons, plus it means keeping pelfrey and humber…and, it is quite clear that the only way to acquire above-average starting pitching is to overpay in prospects…

…plus, though i’d be disappointed to not get santana, starting Pedro Martinez, blanton, maine, perez and, say, Bartolo Colon, would be a good-enough rotation – especially when compared to the rest of the division



Quote: Twins thoughts on Mets Prospects

In a report for Newsday, Ken Davidoff writes…

“The Twins are not high on nearly all of the Mets prospects in the high minor leagues, a source close to the situation said.”

…i have read that comment four times now, and i still have no idea what the source is actually saying…does this mean the Twins are in fact high on guys from single-a, like, say, Deolis Guerra…or does it mean they like some of the Mets top prospects, like Phil Humber, but not all of them, like Mike Pelfrey…or does it mean something else…anyway

…as i wrote earlier, from what i can gather, the problem the Mets are having in these deals, including talks with the Twins, is not necessarily their upper-level prospects, all of whom actually hold fairly solid value on the trade market…the problem, as i understand it, is that to acquire a player like Johan Santana, the Mets must give up an established hitter, who is young and under control, i.e., Jose Reyes or Ryan Church, not minor-leaguers who are still in need of development, like gomez or martinez…the thing is, while most teams understand that David Wright and reyes are too much to give, church is not enough…


Buzz: Scout Not High on Humber

At his blog for Newsday, David Lennon relays a conversation he had with an American League scout who was not very impressed with Mets RHP Philip Humber, who the scout watched a lot of this past year.


Buzz: O's Turn Down Mets Offer

The Mets have offered Aaron Heilman, Carlos Gomez and Philip Humber to the Orioles for Erik Bedard, according to, and MLB Radio’s Seth Everett, while on SNY.

According to the report, “That offer was politely declined by the Orioles, who are believed to be seeking a package approaching what Minnesota is requiring for left-hander Johan Santana.”

O’s VP Andy MacPhail, as quoted by…

“I think we’ve said it in every way we can…It’s not a question of really shopping him or trying to move him. But at the same time, our record is what our record’s been. We have a responsibility to our fans to try to make it better and take whatever we think we have to take to make it better.”

According to Everett, the Mets, Mariners and Blue Jays are the top three teams talking to the O’s about Bedard, while the Dodgers are also interested, adds


Buzz: Lots of Teams like Erik Bedard

According to Jim Molony, at his blog for, the Mets, Phillies, Dodgers, Angels and Cardinals are among the teams interested in O’s LHP Erik Bedard.

…by the way, i am now convinced that the Mets acquired Ryan Church to trade him in a package for a pitcher, or, at least make it easier to trade Carlos Gomez, or trade both for that matter, because they so badly want to keep Fernando Martinez…of course, if it doesn’t happen, Omar Minaya will be more than comfortable starting church at Shea Stadium next season…

…i keep getting e-mails from fans and insiders suggesting that the Mets may offer Ryan Church, Carlos Gomez, Aaron Heilman and one of Mike Pelfrey or Phil Humber for Erik Bedard, for whom i have also heard Joe Smith occasionally mentioned, as well, which all seems like a lot to me…then again, it’s becoming more and more clear that for the Mets to acquire an ace, it’s going to take a lot, and a lot on top of that

Earlier today, during an appearance on WFAN, beat-reporter Sweeny Murti said, “There is news floating around that the Mets are close on Bedard.”

i still don’t know what ‘close’ is supposed to mean in that statement, though…are the Mets ‘close’ to completing a deal, ‘close’ to what baltimore is asking for, were they standingclose’ to him in the hallway…i don’t know…logically, i just find it hard to believe that, with as many as seven teams interested in bedard, magically the Mets now have the best collection of prospects to get him…this is not to say they can’t eventually get him, i just find it hard to believe that baltimore will pull the trigger so quickly…


Buzz: Bedard, O's Apart; Mets deal rejected

According to today’s Baltimore Sun, negotiations on a contract extension between the Orioles and ace left hander Erik Bedard stalled yesterday, though talks aren’t considered “dead”.

Regarding the talks, Orioles president of baseball operations Andy McPhail said:

“We’ve had some conversations. We spoke again today, but I’d say that we’ve cooled in that area. We’ve gone on to other things. It doesn’t mean that [negotiations] can’t or won’t be started again. It just means that they’ve cooled for now.”

Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal noted in his column that “the Mets made a strong run at the Orioles’ Erik Bedard at the general managers’ meetings, only to be told that the Orioles wanted more time to try and sign Bedard long-term.”

In fact, today’s Sun cites “several industry sources” in saying that the Mets made a concrete offer to Baltimore, only to have it rejected. The rumored offer included outfielder Carlos Gomez, reliever Aaron Heilman and a third player, believed to be right hander Philip Humber.

…that’s actually a very strong offer, and one I could see the Orioles revisiting if they decide they can’t extend Bedard, and thus want to trade him… I could see them asking for Mike Pelfrey, instead, though, as some people are very down on Humber…

…of course, even if they don’t extend bedard, they have two years left on his contract, so they don’t have to move him, and coupled with the demand for an ace this  off-season, they’re in a position of strength… meaning, they can ask for a whole lot from any team that misses out on Johan Santana


Read: So You Think You Can Be a GM

In his recent Rumblings & Grumblings column for, Jayson Stark lists the best trade proposals sent in by readers that he dubbed the ‘one-week-only blitz of inspiration that we’re calling So You Think You Can Be a GM. Huh?’

Here are suggested trade proposals concerning the Mets:

Lastings Milledge, Mike Pelfrey and Phil Humber for Johan Santana 

Milledge and Humber for Dan Haren

Milledge, Pelfrey and Ruben Gotay for Erik Bedard
Pelfrey or Humber and Fernando Martinez for Roy Oswalt

Stark describes the proposals as having ‘no chance,’ however if the Mets engage in talks with the A’s regarding Haren, he believes the discussion will now start with Martinez and/or Carlos Gomez.

…i don’t know where to begin and end with all of these trade proposals but i am in favor of the Mets and A’s finally getting together here…seriously, would it be possible to televise on pay-per-view a face-to-face trade negotiation meeting between Omar Minaya and Billy Beane


Minors: Sickels Grades Mets Prospects

Over at Minor League Ball, prospects analyst and author John Sickels gives his Mets’ top 20 prospects list, ranked by his unique letter grading system.

Topping his list, with B+ grades, are OF Fernando Martinez and RHP Deolis Guerra, followed by OF Carlos Gomez and RHP Kevin Mulvey, both given B’s but with the potential to be bumped up to B+ in Sickels’ yearly prospect book, which is due out in February.

…note that because of service time accrued, OF Lastings Milledge and RHP Mike Pelfrey did not qualify for the list

On the system as a whole, Sickels states:

“There is some nice pitching in this system, but depth in position players is very weak. Overall the system is better than it looks at first, but lack of hitting depth is a problem, and I hate the way they rush some of their prospects.”

…later this week, i’ll have an interview with sickels about his take on the Mets farm system

…given the questions about the team’s lack of depth, the list is a lot more promising than one might initially anticipate…unlike Baseball America, sickels ranks 1B Nick Evans in the top ten…after evans’ strong year in the extreme-pitcher friendly Florida State League, i agree with sickels…

…as with all of these Mets lists, you get the feeling there will be significant upheaval and change in the next year or two, as the top-level guys such as Carlos Gomez and Phil Humber graduate for good (or are traded); the nearly ready 2007 draftees start seeing big-league time; and the big latin classes signed over the past two summers start to see significant time stateside…