Now let’s take a look at the Mets most famous trade during the Omar Minaya era. To obtain Johan Santana three years ago the Mets traded away outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Deolis Guerra, Philip Humber, and Kevin Mulvey. At the time of the trade Guerra, Gomez, and Mulvey were rated 2, 3, and 4 respectively by Baseball America in the Mets organization, with Humber ranked 7th. We’ve all had the privilege to watch Santana over the last three years, now where are all the rest of the guys in this trade?
The only player in this trade who the Twins put in the big leagues right away was outfielder Carlos Gomez, who got his first call up in 2007 with the Mets. Gomez stepped right into centerfield in Minnesota, trying to fill the shoes of Torii Hunter. Gomez performed well, but failed to get his on-base percentage above .300, meaning he was not the leadoff hitter the Twins hoped to have, despite the speed he showcased stealing 33 bases. The next year Gomez had a diminished role on the team with 262 fewer at bats, with a decline in his numbers across the board, making him expendable and leading to the Twins trading him to Milwaukee. In 2010, Gomez missed time due to injuries, but when he was on the field had another mediocre year. He has fallen short of expectations in his first three years after once being considered one of the Mets top five prospects just a few years earlier.
Despite his status as a highly rated prospect Deolis Guerra did not have a good 2008. He spent his second consecutive year in the Florida State League, increasing his ERA by nearly a point and a half, while his walk rate increased and strikeout rate decreased. In 2009, Guerra finally started to show some of his promise, finally getting his walk to strikeout ratio where it should be, and earning a promotion to AA. But Guerra had another forgettable year in 2010 going 2-13 with a 6.36 ERA between AA and AAA, but the talent is still there, enough for the Twins to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, meaning they are not giving up on his potential to become a serviceable major league pitcher, although he seems far from getting to that point.
Philip Humber was once the third overall pick in the draft and before being traded to Minnesota he made five appearances with in 2007. Humber spent most of 2008 and 2009 in Rochester with the Twins AAA affiliate, putting together a pair of mediocre seasons, much like he did with the Mets AAA club in 2007. Like he did in 2007, Humber received a September call up in 2008 and 2009, but failed to impress and show any staying power in both major league opportunities. Humber signed with the Royals for 2010, where he spent a fourth consecutive season in AAA, once again putting up average numbers, and while he lowered his walk rate to the lowest in his career, his strikeout rate also shrunk to its lowest point in his career. Once again Humber got a brief call up to the major leagues, and this time was finally able to earn his first major league victory. Clearly Humber has become the quintessential AAAA pitcher, and would have been unlikely to be a major contributor to the Mets at the major league level over the past three years or do so in the near future.
Before being involved in the trade to Minnesota, Kevin Mulvey had a great season in 2007, helping to catapult him towards the top of the Mets prospect rankings. After the trade Mulvey continued to pitch well, making the move to AAA in 2008, holding an ERA under 4 and a WHIP under 1.4. Mulvey put up strikingly similar stats back in AAA in 2009 before being traded to Arizona for Jon Rausch, allowing him to make eight appearances and four starts for the Diamondbacks. In those eight appearances Mulvey struggled, losing all three of his decisions and putting up an ERA over 8. In 2010 Mulvey returned to AAA, seeing his ERA and walk rate rise over the previous seasons, while his strikeout rate dropped, garnering him only two relief appearances in the major leagues. Mulvey has yet to justify the high ranking in the farm system he had when the Mets traded him away and has yet to show an ability to be even an average major league pitcher, meaning that the Mets would have gained little from holding onto him.
Despite the team’s underachievement in the three years since acquiring Johan Santana, and the injuries Santana has suffered since coming to New York, there is no doubt that the Mets have gotten the best out of this trade. Carlos Gomez is the only player the Mets traded away that has made a significant contribution at the major league level, and even he has failed to solidify himself as an every day player. Deolis Guerra has struggled to prove himself ready for the big leagues, despite being the Mets second best prospect at the time of the trade. Humber and Mulvey have both been unable to showcase any value at the major league level. Even if these four show noticeable improvement in the near future it would still be clear that the Mets are the victors of this trade. Even in the context of only the 2011 season: half a year out of Johan Santana will produce many more wins than these four players combined at the major league level.