Friday, November 30, 2007

The Santana Possibility

Okay, so the M's are apparently players in the Johan Santana sweepstakes.

Before we get too terribly excited, I'm not sure that the Mariners have anything they can offer that would match Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, and another well regarded prospect in a trade for the perennial all-star.

There's great debate among the Mariner blogosphere about whether or not to include prospects such as Adam Jones, Brandon Morrow, and Jeff Clement. I, on the other hand, am completely convinced that there's one and only one solution: Obtain Santana at all costs.

I'm not going to spend pages on why I believe so, but to put it concisely - what do we know about Adam Jones, Brandon Morrow, and Jeff Clement versus what do we know about Santana?

Adam Jones has a very good (borderline terrific) minor league track record and a mediocre major league one. He is regarded by most reputable scouts and baseball wonks as a great talent and he may very well turn into an all-star caliber player in the future. He has demonstrated high average, speed, power, and defensive ability. Yet while he just might be lighting in a bottle, there's nothing that says this Jones will be better than Jacques Jones in his major league career. There's simply no guarantee.

Brandon Morrow was lights-out for half a season and demonstrated major control problems for another half. He may play out as a good major league starter, but is regarded as a project with a live arm. Frankly, there are dozens of projects with live arms.

Jeff Clement? Great college player with a questionable work ethic and an equally questionable bat speed. Great talent - but are we trading the next Jason Varitek or the next Rene Rivera?

Point is - Johan Santana is a difference maker - guaranteed. He is the modern day version of what we had in Randy Johnson back in 1995 - the guy that could go out there and stop a losing streak, throw a shutout and save the bullpen, stick it to a division rival, whatever - but a guy who can demonstrate moxie that no other pitcher can. He has done it for years and he's young enough to do it for years to come. He is a rarity that teams must grab and clutch on to for dear life - he is a franchise.

He is a difference maker and the Mariners desperately need a difference maker in lieu of a highly touted prospect which we may wait for years to develop, a reliever who might be a good starter, and a catching prospect which we don't know what to do with.

Honestly, it'll probably take more than Jones, Morrow, and Clement. If there is a God, maybe we can include Jose Lopez. But does Bavasi have the nuts? Probably not. Because in my estimation - all GM's overvalue prospects and regret it later.


Anonymous said...

A couple things about Jeff Clement.. First of all he probably won't in fact be part of any package to land Santana, as the Twins have long term options at catcher (Mauer), 1st (Morneau) and DH (Kubel). Also, I think it's safe to say he is no Rene Rivera. His bat is ready for the majors, it's his defense and the Mariner logjam at 1st/DH that is keeping him from breaking out with the M's.

Michael said...

I'm pretty sure Mauer's future isn't at the Catcher position. They're probably going to want to protect his body enough that he'll be a DH in a couple years. Clement, from what I've read, is having a difficult time getting around on major league fastballs unless he guesses right. I'm no scout though - and from what I saw last year, he looked good to me. But anytime I read "slow bat" I get nervous.

Paul said...

Frankly, since the Santana thing will likely go to either NYY or BOS, I'd rather see the M's just deal Jones and a lesser prospect up for Dan Haren. Keep Morrow and go from there. I love Santana, but Haren would also be pretty sweet. And he should be cheaper.

Anonymous said...

Paul: The Mariners couldn't get Haren from the Athletics for anything. Oakland would never trade such a stud to a division rival.

Now that Johan is out of the picture, Bedard is next in line, but he is currently too expensive. BBT

PP said...

Maybe. But if the M's put together the strongest package for Haren I'm not so sure Beane would shy away from it. I don't think the Mariners keep him up at night.