Finally, a trade that Peter Angelos can't kill.
If the early reports are to be believed, the Twins have agreed to trade Johan Santana to the Mets for the following collection of prospects: Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra, Philip Humber and Kevin Mulvey.
Those are all respectable names, but of the many rumored Santana trade packages we've seen, this might be only the fifth or sixth best. There's no Phil Hughes in there and there's no Jacoby Ellsbury. There's not even a Fernando Martinez, the 19-year-old outfielder generally considered the Mets' top prospect.
It can be reasonably argued that the Twins received more in return for Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett than they did for Santana, a 28-year-old two-time Cy Young Award winner who's clearly the best pitcher in baseball. But obviously trades aren't just about the talent of the players involved. Someone still has to pay Santana $150 million.
We don't care about that in fantasy leagues, though. Instead, we care about the immediate impact of a trade on the 5X5 value of the players involved.
Johan Santana just moved up several spots on most draft boards. His current average draft position (ADP) at Mock Draft Central is 17.6. Santana is the first pitcher selected in a typical draft, but Jake Peavy (20.4) is close.
By the time you're drafting a Yahoo! league in mid-March, however, expect Santana's ADP to be in the single-digits. With the Mets, basically every external factor contributing to Santana's fantasy value improves. He moves to a non-DH league where he can expect significantly better run support – New York outscored Minnesota by 86 runs in 2007 – and he won't have to face Detroit and Cleveland six times each this season, as he did last year. Both the Metrodome and Shea Stadium have favored pitchers in recent years.
These are Santana's career inter-league stats: 182.2 IP, 16-4, 191 K, 2.27 ERA, 0.91 WHIP.
Add 35 innings to those numbers and you have a vintage Pedro Martinez season on your hands. It's crazy to actually predict such a thing, but you can certainly expect Santana to be his usual dominant self in 2008, while pitching for a better team. In most fantasy leagues, expect him to be drafted somewhere in picks four through eight.
None of the players dealt to the Twins in this pending trade are likely to be drafted in public leagues this season. Carlos Gomez held his own in 140 Triple-A at bats last year (2 HR, 17 SB, .286/.363/.414), and he swiped 105 bases in his two previous minor league seasons. For now, though, the 22-year-old has to be considered a one-category fantasy player – and that's if things break right.
Philip Humber might be the most familiar name of all the prospects involved in the deal, but the 25-year-old right-hander doesn't figure to be an ownable fantasy starter. Humber had a nice, if unspectacular, season at Triple-A in 2007 (11-9, 4.27 ERA, 44 BB, 120 K in 139 IP); every other Minnesota starter is more interesting for fantasy purposes in 2008, however. The 18-year-old Guerra rates a bit higher than Humber or Mulvey, but he's almost too young for us to make useful projections. He's at least two years away.
Irrational New York enthusiasm will make thousands of live draft chat rooms intolerable and/or indecipherable this year. On behalf of Yahoo! Sports, I'd like to just apologize in advance.