New York Mets @ Miami Marlins Series Preview: Do Mets Fans Regret the Johan Santana Trade?


Feb 15, 2013; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana throws a pitch during spring training at Legends Field. Mandatory Credit: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

To preview the series between the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets, I had an email chat with Matt Musico, recently former editor of the New York Mets Fansided site, Rising Apple. Matt is now a contributor on Yahoo! and writes on a new Mets prospect site, Mets Minors.

Matt and I chatted about everything from the his thoughts on the Johan Santana trade years after the fact to Matt Harvey‘s dominant 2013 season.

Without any further ado, here is my chat with Matt:

Ehsan Kassim: Looking back with all the injuries and failures from the Mets to contend, would you do that Johan Santana trade again?

Matt Musico: I know there are a lot of people that would not do that trade the second time around, but I would. If you think about what the Mets gave up to acquire Johan, the Twins didn’t get much out of the deal either. Phillip Humber hasn’t panned out, and they lost patience with Carlos Gomez, to name a couple of the main pieces of the trade. If the Mets held onto Gomez, I doubt they would have waited another five years to watch him finally develop into the player he’s become today. Although it seems silly, the no-hitter Johan gave us last June made his large contract worth it to me. Has it limited New York with regard to spending in the free agent market? Absolutely, but if I had to choose between watching that no-hitter and not watching it, I would chose the first option every time.

EK: Has Ike Davis finally turned the corner or are you still worried about his play?

MM: I’m still worried. The two hits against the Yankees on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium were certainly encouraging, though. The path his hands took to the ball were the best they’ve been in about 60 ABs. Personally, he’s had too much movement with his hands before the pitch is delivered, and the path his hands take from the hitting position through the zone has been awful. While I saw some progress in his swing, I (like lots of people, probably) want to see him string a few games of that together before I even think about him being out of the woods. He only have five multi-hit games this season (heading into the Subway Series finale) and has yet to do it in back-to-back games. Until he gets hot for a week or two, he’ll continue to be under the microscope.

May 28, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) reacts after giving up a run against the New York Yankees during the sixth inning of a game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

EK: How impressed with Matt Harvey have you been? Did you expect this sort of dominance?

MM: Watching Harvey has been such a pleasure. I’ve had the opportunity to watch him live three times this season, and he’s just not scared of anything. His endless pursuit of perfection and bulldog mentality on the mound are exactly what the Mets need at the front of this rotation. I expected him to be good this season, but not quite like this. His dominance will help Zack Wheeler once he gets promoted, taking a little bit of the pressure off him. It’s been a great story, and if he continues what he’s doing, it’d be awesome to see him start the All-Star game at Citi Field in July. It’d be a great story.

EK: Do you expect the Mets to become sellers at the trade deadline? If so, which players could be available?

MM: A story came out this week saying Sandy Alderson may end up being a buyer at the deadline, with the 2014 season in mind. Depending on who is available, they could go after an established outfield bat under team control for next season that could help them compete. If they do try to become sellers, I don’t think they have anyone attractive enough on the MLB roster to bring back what they’re in search. If there was anyone who had a shot at being traded, it was John Buck. Now that his hot start to the season has faded away and Travis d’Arnaud is still hurt, he’ll probably stick around for the full season.

EK: If the Mets offered the Marlins Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud for Giancarlo Stanton right now, who would say no and why?

MM: Well, I wouldn’t say no. It would be tough for me to watch Syndergaard and d’Arnaud leave via trade, but Stanton has once in a generation kind of power. These two are huge pieces of New York’s future for the remainder of the decade, which is why a lot of people would say no to a deal like this. The Mets do have a lot of starting pitching depth in the minors, and the catching depth has improved throughout the organization as well. In a perfect world, I’d obviously like to hold onto both of them, but you have to give up something you don’t want to give up in order to get what you need. What the Mets desperately need is a proven power bat in the outfield, and that’s what Stanton would provide.

May 29, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada (11) scores a run during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

EK: Give us a bold prediction for the series. Which Mets hitter will have a huge series? Which pitcher?

MM: For a hitter to have a huge series, I’m going to pick Omar Quintanilla. He was re-called from Triple-A to take Ruben Tejada‘s spot at shortstop while he’s on the disabled list. Quintanilla hasn’t been much of a hitter during his time in the big leagues, but he’s currently riding a nine-game hitting streak with the Las Vegas 51s, and he hit .413/.493/.587 in the month of May.

On the mound, I’m going to go with Shaun Marcum, who’s scheduled to pitch on Friday. He’s 0-5 on the season, but his last three starts have been his best of the year, with his most recent appearance against the Braves being the most impressive. He threw a season-high seven innings to go with no walks and a career-high 12 strikeouts. Jeremy Hefner finally got off the snide with his first win of the season against the Yankees on Wednesday, and if Marcum continues pitching the way he has, he’ll put himself in position to do the same.

A big thank you to Matt for taking his timeout to talk to us. We at Marlin Maniac wish all Mets fans the best of luck in the upcoming series. If you get a chance, please check out Matt’s work both on Yahoo! and the new Mets minor league site for some great coverage.