So what do we make of the Santana deal?
It's pretty simple from the Mets perspective: they get the best pitcher in baseball, moving into a pitcher's park, in a weaker league than the one he left. None of the players traded would have anything like the impact that Santana will in the short run, and possibly in the long run, too. Assuming he stays healthy and doesn't let the New York media glare get to him, the Mets and their fans should be happy.
Twins fans, on the other hand, have some things to consider.
First of all, there is no reason for Twins fans to panic. They have been through this before. 19 years ago the Twins traded the best left-handed pitcher in the American League (Frank Viola) to the Mets in exchange for prospects (Rick Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, David West, Tim Drummond, Jack Savage) as part of a cost-induced rebuilding, and two years later the Twins won the World Series. The loss of Santana, while a short-term blow and certainly frustrating, isn't doomed to cripple the franchise. They can rebound to compete quickly again, especially given the depth of pitching in the farm system and the presence of a reportedly-healthy Francisco Liriano
Now, that said, I can't say that the Twins got great value in return for Santana, on paper at least.
Carlos Gomez has a great glove and great speed, but I am still very uncertain about how his bat is going to develop. His on-base skills and power are sketchy, and I think he needs a good dose of Triple-A. I gave him a Grade B in the book, and while I think he will be a useful player, I do not buy into his status as a future star just yet.
Phil Humber will probably be in the rotation. I gave him a Grade B- in the book. Right now he looks like a fourth/fifth starter to me, a guy with good command and inning-eating ability, but not a future ace. It's possible that he will get more of his stuff back another year removed from Tommy John, but it's also very possible that what you see is what you get here. If I were the Twins I'd stick him in the rotation and see what happens.
I'm more impressed with Kevin Mulvey, a Grade B prospect who could end up being somewhat similar to Kevin Tapani. He's got above average stuff, above average command, and while I don't think he'll turn into a direct Santana replacement, I like him a lot as a possible number three starter. I like him better than either Humber or Gomez at this point. I'd like him to get 10-15 Triple-A starts before pushing him into the rotation, but that timetable could be accelerated.
Deolis Guerra is the wild card here. The youngest guy in the trade, and with the highest upside, he could turn into a dominating number one starter. Or he could blow his arm out. His minor league numbers aren't particularly impressive, but he held his own at age 18 in advanced Class A. If I were the Twins I would try to slow down the pace here, and I'd return him to the Florida State League for the first half of '08. I don't know what they will do in reality. There may be some pressure to rush him. He's a Grade B+ prospect but a year from now he could as easily be a Grade C+ as a Grade A, depending on health and development.
So basically, the Twins didn't get a sure-fire potential superstar here. Guerra might turn into a stud, but it's far from a sure thing. Mulvey and Humber should be useful pitchers, especially Mulvey, and Gomez should be OK but I don't buy into him as a star at this point.
In short, the Twins didn't get the maximum possible return for Santana. If the rumored Yankees and Red Sox packages from the fall were really on the table, they would likely have been better deals. Smith probably overplayed his hand and it would have been better to have done this a month ago. There is enough here that it's not a disaster, but it isn't a huge success, either, and the turnaround on the rebuilding will take longer.
Ultimately I'm lukewarm on this deal. As with any trade, we'll just have to see what it looks like three years from now, when we have a better feel for what Guerra and Gomez will do.