Thursday, December 17, 2009

Santana versus Halladay

Some Twins fans are looking longingly at the haul Toronto got for Roy Halladay compared to the Twins haul from Johan Santana. There are some differences in the two pitchers and the development cycle of the two teams, but lets ignore those and just look at the differences in what each team got in return.

There are two ways to look at such deals. One is to evaluate them at the time of the trade, the other is to look back and ask who ended up coming out ahead. In this case, we can look back on the Twins deal and see some actual outcomes, as well as future projections, but we are comparing them entirely to projected outcomes for Toronto. The Jays got three prospects in return for Halladay - Kyle Drabek, Travis d'Arnaud and Michael Taylor. It appears that Taylor will be moved to Oakland in a pre-arranged deal for Brett Wallace.

The Twins got Carlos Gomez, Mulvey, Phil Humber and Delios Guerra. They have since dealt Gomez for JD Hardy and Mulvey for Jon Rauch. So Guerra is the only player in the trade still with the Twins. Humber and Mulvey did not produce much before being moved. At the time of the trade, Gomez was the center fielder of the future and he did contribute some over the last couple years. But the emergence of Denard Span made him superfluous by the end of last season.  

So the way things stand now, the Twins got Hardy/Gomez, Rauch and Guerra versus the Jays Drabek, Wallace and d'Arnaud.

Guerra and Drabek both reached AA this year after starting the year in A-ball  Drabek pitched considerably better at that level, but he is also a couple years older. This is a pure projection issue. Guerra is 6'5 and projects as a potential ace, Drabek is 6' tall and projects as a number two starter at best.  Drabek looks like he is further along in the development curve, but my guess is neither team would make a deal straight up for these two guys,

Wallace and Hardy are interesting comparisons. If Hardy returns to his form of two years ago, this is hands down a winner for the Twins. He was a major league quality defensive shortstop with pop in his bat. Lets hope that wasn't one of those performance enhanced illusions. Hardy never had great range and there are reports that he may have lost a step last year.  If true, he may end up at third base where his arm and range would be a plus. Wallace, by contrast, will have to live by his bat. He projects as a challenged third baseman and will likely end up playing first or DH'ing. His bat may be good enough to carry him.

Comparing the third pieces remaining is much harder. d'Arnaud is a young A-ball catching prospect whose defensive tools are there but their development is still pretty raw.  He is still a project, who is going to need to develop both offensively and defensively to play at the major league level. Rauch is an established major league reliever who played a key role for the Twins last fall and will likely be an important piece of the bullpen next year. It is almost easier to compare d'Arnaud to Mulvey and d'Araud wns that comparison hands down. If you assume Mulvey is equivalent to Rauch, then d'Arnaud is a better deal.

Right now it looks like the Jays got a better deal. But with three prospects who have yet to put on a major league uniform, it is plausible that the Jays will end up empty handed. By contrast the Twins have already had the benefits of two years from Gomez, a few innings from Humber and Mulvey and a guy who made the difference in whether they reached the playoffs last year in Rauch. That is not a lot, but its more than nothing. If Hardy and Guerra play up to their potential the Twins will not be worrying about comparisons to the Jays, regardless of how well those three prospects do.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ever since I read that Hardy's range and speed were questionable, I've wondered if he might not be better suited to playing third in the future. If so, the Twins would still need a shortstop. Alexi Casilla anyone? Stranger things have happened.

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