I wanted to post a few thoughts that immediately came to mind about today’s Carlos Gomez for J.J. Hardy swap. There’s a good bet that I’ll be talking more about this in the coming days (and probably weeks and months):
1.) I’m surprised the Twins went this direction rather than making a concerted effort to bring Orlando Cabrera back. Cabrera worked out pretty well for the Twins after they acquired him at the deadline. Perhaps he was insistent that he wanted to test the market. Maybe the Twins see more upside to bringing in Hardy. Whatever the case, it still surprises me.
2.) Michael Cuddyer is a mainstay in right, Denard Span deserves to start every day in one position, and Delmon Young showed signs of life in his bat late in the season that the Twins couldn’t ignore. That left no place for Gomez to play. At least the Twins decided to get a major league caliber player for him who will (hopefully) help the club next year.
3.) A lot of people think that trading Gomez (shortly after Kevin Mulvey was sent to Arizona in the Jon Rauch trade and Philip Humber became a minor league free agent) makes the Twins front office look bad for the Johan Santana trade, since now only Deolis Guerra is left from the deal. I look at it differently. I’m a firm believer that you need to evaluate trades at the time they are made, not after the fact. GM’s can get lucky or unlucky just like the rest of us. A good GM makes smart decisions based on what he knows at the time the deal takes place. If you want to call the Santana deal bad, fine — but base that argument on the trade when it happened, not on what has gone down 2 years later.
4.) Incidentally, the Twins now can be viewed as having traded Santana for Deolis Guerra, a year of J.J. Hardy (the problem with writing when you don’t have time to look up facts is that you tend to make things up, as I did here — Hardy is not eligible for free agency for a couple of years), and a year and a half of Jon Rauch. I’m not sure what to think about that.
5.) One last point regarding the front office looking bad for moving players acquired in the Santana deal. For those of you who feel that way, what exactly do you want the front office to do? Let’s say Bill Smith makes a bad trade (you could certainly argue the Santana deal was one — I’m a little more generous and will say that he made the best deal that he could make given the circumstances, although he could have managed the clock on the deal a little better and might have been able to make a better trade earlier). Either way, should a front office that makes a bad trade be forced to keep the underperforming players in a desperate bid to demonstrate that they’re still worth something? Or should a GM that finds himself in that situation do what he can to fix the situation, either through a trade (as with Gomez and Mulvey) or by getting rid of the player (as with Humber)? I don’t think it makes a GM look bad just because he moves a player who was involved (and arguably the centerpiece) of a previous big deal. The trade itself might make the GM look bad, but not the fact that he moved a guy.