Johan Santana: "The Trade" Retrospect [Part One]

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Johan Santana:
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
It’s still far too early to judge a not even two-year-old trade, but it’s always intriguing to look back at what could have been compared to what is.

Back before last season, the talks were hot on the Johan Santana front, as the Minnesota Twins looked to move their All-Star lefty before he entered the final year of his contract.

The Winter Meetings brought rumors, some far-fetched and some that seemed feasible. There were demands by other teams with set timetables, and there were offers made, pulled, and remade.

Eventually, after more than a handful of teams made bids, the race narrowed to a three-team sprint between the Red Sox, Yankees, and Mets.

With the two American League East rivals finally deciding to stay put after talks broke down, the New York Mets took the prize while the Twins received four highly touted prospects.

Since the trade, two of the players received have played at the major league level—Phillip Humber and Carlos Gomez. Deolis Guerra was touted as a right-handed Johan Santana, but is still only 20-years old. Kevin Mulvey meanwhile projects as a No. 3 or 4 starter and currently sits at Triple-A Rochester.

That’s what is.

What could have been, however, is a different story. While rumors ran rampant and it’s hard to tell what was real and what was fake, from reports, it seems that the final offer from the Red Sox consisted of Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, and Justin Masterson as the base of a deal with one other throw-in prospect.

In the first of a three-part series, here is what might have been had Santana become a member of the Red Sox.

 

Jacoby Ellsbury

The left-handed hitting center fielder would have been the base of the deal much like Carlos Gomez was in the actual trade. The one difference is that Ellsbury has performed how the Twins had hoped Gomez would to this point—hitting for a good average with some steals.

Last season, in what would have been his first season with the club, Ellsbury hit .280 with nine home runs and 47 RBI. Ellsbury also stole 50 bases in a total of 145 games.

Thus far in ’09, Ellsbury has posted a .296 average with one home run, 10 RBI and 15 steals in 28 games.

 

Jed Lowrie

Lowrie wasn’t viewed as a very big part of the offer, but last season he established himself as a potential shortstop of the future.

Lowrie filled in for the Red Sox down the stretch and hit .258 with 46 RBI in 81 games; a pretty good haul for a young shortstop.

This season Lowrie has been plagued with the injury bug, and he is currently missing a bulk of time with a wrist injury. The youngster is hitting only .058 in just five games.

 

Justin Masterson

The pitcher that many wanted was Jon Lester, but he and Ellsbury were not available in the same deal, so the pitcher instead was Justin Masterson. The then 23 year old was highly touted, but many questions remained.

Last season in 36 games, nine of which were starts, Masterson went 6-5 with a solid 3.16 ERA. The righty struck out 68 hitters in a total of 88.1 innings.

The great season has thus far not been matched in ’09 as Masterson currently sports a 5.28 ERA in eights games and four starts.

 

Conclusion

The deal that could have been with the Red Sox currently seems like it would have benefited the Twins more than their haul of Gomez and company.

Lowrie and Masterson were both very good last season, and Jacoby Ellsbury would have put, in a way, two Denards in the outfield. 

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