On February 2, 2008 the Mets traded Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey, and Deolis Guerra to the Minnesota Twins for Johan Santana. The Mets and Santana then agreed to a six-year, $137.5 million extension (with an option for a seventh season), sealing his Flushing-fate until at least 2013. From 2004 to 2007 (2.89 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 4.96 K/BB in 912.3 IP), Santana had not only been the ace of the Twins staff, but had also arguably been one of (if not “the”) the best pitchers in baseball. So to trade four Minor Leaguers for the guy was not only see as a great trade for the Mets, but a flat-out steal.
In his first season for the Mets, the left-handed pitcher did not disappoint–posting 16 Wins, a (league-leading) 2.53 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 3.27 K/BB in 234.3 IP. His good overall play earned him third place in the Cy Young vote. The 30 year-old continued his steady pitching in 2009, hurling a 3.13 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 3.17 K/BB in 166.6 IP. Despite his first National League All-Star appearance, the southpaw was placed on the Disabled List on August 25th–where he would stay for the entire season after opting for arthroscopic surgery on his pitching elbow.
Santana bounced back in 2010, pitching to the tune of a 2.98 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 2.62 K/BB in 199 IP, but the injury bug struck again. The lefty strained his pectoral muscle on September 2, and then was forced to have surgery to repair his rotator cuff on September 14. The ace pitcher missed the entire 2011 season, and his status is currently up-in-the-air for returning in the beginning of 2012.
Considering the lot the Mets surrendered in the deal didn’t amount to much, there are few people who believe the Santana deal was a failure–even with his injuries. That being said, the decision to grant the pitcher a six-year deal will surely haunt the team (and its payroll) for years to come.