That 19 year old, of course being Fernando Martinez, an outfield prospect for the New York Mets who has the potential skills to be a very special offensive player. He is the key to any deal if the Mets are looking to acquire Johan Santana from the Twins, but there's more to it than just him.
If the Mets want to acquire Santana, they need to practically empty their farm. We are looking at a 4, possibly 5 for one deal with the Twins and Mets, involving the best pitcher on the planet for, as it stands right now, one year of service. Names that have been thrown around in possible Mets packages are: Fernando Martinez (OF), Deolis Guerra (SP), Carlos Gomez (OF), Kevin Mulvey (SP), Philip Humber (SP), Mike Pelfry (SP), and Jose Reyes (but that ain't happening). Currently, those names involve the top 5 prospecs of the Mets according to topprospectalert.com, and Mike Pelfry, no longer applicable as a prospect, but still a young pitcher with a good amount of upside (not what it once was, though).
Now, all 6 of the prospects wouldn't be part of a deal, but as it stands right now, the offer the Mets have is Kevin Mulvey, Philip Humber, Deolis Guerra, and Carlos Gomez. That's a lot to give up, but assuming the Mets are able to sign Johan to a long-term deal, that's more than worth it. The key though, is them not wanting to part with Martinez, who the Twins want badly, but the Mets don't want to part with Gomez and Martinez. I first want to discuss the other prospects briefly.
Kevin Mulvey is a good pitching prospect who was chosen by the Mets with their first pick in teh 2006 draft out of Villanova. Mulvey throws 4 pitches for strikes, has a middle of the road fastball that'll peak around 94, and a good sinker that leaves him as a projected 3rd or 4th starter.
Philip Humber had a lot higher upside before surgery a few years ago, and since then has struggled. He was recently scouted when the Mets were in talks with the Orioles, and the scout was very unimpressed with him. It appears that he really no longer has the interest thathe once did, and isn't projected to be a frontline starter as he was earlier in his career, but he still is said to have one of the best curveballs in the system.
Deolis Guerra is a work in progress in the minor leagues, having a fastball with average velocity, and is monitored carefully to keep him healthy. The top pitching prospect in the system is moving his way up the ladder, and has an organizational goal set to go beyond the 100 inning mark this year. He's 18 years old.
Mike Pelfry, like Humber, has lost a lot of his upside, but remains a good pitching prospect because of the big frame and powerful sinker he throws. He needs to work on sticking with his sinker and not trying to strike out batter because that's not his game, a young mistake. He showed what he can do in short flashes of brilliance with the Mets late last season, consistency remains his problem.
Carlos Gomez was a fan-favorite in his major league stint last year before injury took him down. Speed is his game, playing a solid outfield with a good accutare arm to go along with being faster on the basepathes than Reyes, and is said to be a future power threat once he develops more. Gomez turned a few heads in his short major league sting, and remains a great prospect.
The Mets have to hang on to one of Carlos Gomez and Fernando Martinez to keep their farm somewhat intact.
Fernando Martinez is the top hitting prospect in the system, noted to be a future 30 homerun threat, and on the same path as many great players we've seen in the majors, such as Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, and Sammy Sosa, according to Baseball America.
There are plenty of combinations among these that the Twins would go for, all surrounding F-mart. A four player offer of Martinez, Gomez, Guerra, and Mulvey would be sure to get Santana in a Mets uniform, but that's too much, especially considering the dropoff in Pelfry and Humber. The Mets need to be strong and play the waiting game with the Twins. I strongly believe they won't keep Santana, especially considering the other offers on the table.
The only real difference between the Mets offers and those from the Red Sox and Yankees is the major-league ready talent. While most if not all of the Mets players need to be groomed for a few more years, the Red Sox and Yankees are offering major league ready talent, such as Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury, Philip Hughes, Melky Cabrera, and others. The Yankees and Red Sox are playing a similar game, not willing to part with 2 of their top 3 prospects in the same deal. As of now, the Mets are said to be in the lead for Santana, as their dea appears the most "intriguing" to the Twins. A big advantage of trading to the Mets is the league change, as the Twins wouldn't have to worry about facing Santana anytime soon.
Thw Twins need to pull the trigger soon. I think the best offers each team can give up without ruining them for years to come are as so:
Mets: Fernando Martinez, Deolis Guerra, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey: It's a lot, but they'd keep Gomez, and one of their young pitchers. The Twins refused this deal with Gomez instead of Martinez, so F-mart is the key, and I think this deal could get it done. If not, throw in Aaron Heilman. I'm surprised his name hasn't ocme up more in these discussions with the Twins. But I know of someone who could've been a good throw in to cement the deal...LASTINGS MILLEDGE!
Red Sox: Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie (SS), Justin Masterson (SP), and another minor leaguer: The Twins like Ellsbury more than Lester, and Boston's wise refusal to include Ellsbury and Lester in the same deal is holding the trade up. The Red Sox offered this deal, or one with Lester and Coco Crisp to replace Ellsbury. I'm sure the majority of Sox fans would prefer to hang on to Ellsbury, but I don't see the 5 player deal the Red Sox offered without Ellsbury getting it done with what other teams have on the table. Also, if the Sox trade Ellsbury, they still have Ryan Kalish in the farm, a prospect who some believe has more upside than Jacoby.
The Twins reportedly prefer Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to the combination of Jon Lester and Coco Crisp.
Yankees: Philip Hughes, Melky Cabrera, Jeff Marquez, Humberto Sanchez: I know the Yankees and Twins have been in disagreement on the fourth player, but in all honesty, I can't see the Yankees getting Johan without including Hughes and Sanchez. If they included Kennedy, it would be a done deal, but that's a lot. Sanchez didn't even pitch last year, and this prospect still draws interest despite his prolonged minor league career. They have to keep Joba though, he impressed so much last season, can't part wth that. Although the Yanks are "out" of discussions, the Twins would probably jump on this deal.
All in all, I think the Mets end up with Santana, probably because of the league change. The NL is more winnable, and the Yankees probably need him a bit more than the Mets do. I see it this way, the Mets get a healthy Pedro, but the rotation still has questionmarks all around, and the Yankees are depending on the youth holding up for an entire season behind Andy Pettie and Chein Ming-Wang. In the end, I think the Mets pull the trigger and Santana goes to the National League, something the Twins would prefer, and something that would also be the second choice of the Yankees and Red Sox if they can't trade for him. And so, I'll reaffirm the title of this blog, for the New York Mets, between greatness in 2008, and possible mediocrity, stands 19 year old Fernando Martinez.