January 17, 2008

Gomez or Martinez?

Good morning again.

Last time I posted, I suggested that the Mets need to make a decision on what to do with their rotation, whether it's trade for a pitcher, sign a free agent, or just do nothing at all. The overwhelming response was to trade for Twins left-hander Johan Santana.

Nothing really new has come out since then. The Yankees are still pussyfooting around at the idea of trading a young player such as Phil Hughes as well as a few other important pieces to their teams future as well as a long-term contract for Santana. The Red Sox still seem "there" and the Mets are supposedly still thought to be the front runner.

Although the Mets deal is thought to include several intriguing prospects, the Twins are still waiting for them to include two of their teams prized young outfielders in the same deal. Young 22-year-old Carlos Gomez is thought to be ready to take over center field from day one of being acquired, whereas 19-year-old Fernando Martinez is probably still a couple years away.

The Twins like both players however, according to Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune, the Twins are much higher on Martinez than they are on Gomez.

Now, I currently am stuck between which player I like more. Martinez definitely has more upside as he held his own in Double-A at just 18-years-old in 2007 posting numbers that are very good for his age.

Level        G     AB      AVG      OBP       SLG     OPS      HR     RBI
AA          60    236     .271     .336      .377    .713       4      21

Of course, they look pedestrian at best, but for an 18-year-old in a league where the majority of the players were already in Little League before he was even born, the numbers look pretty good.

Gomez has never put up extraordinary numbers either, however he did play well as a 21-year-old in Triple-A this past season, before being called up by the Mets prematurely.

Level        G     AB      AVG      OBP       SLG     OPS      HR     RBI
AAA         36    140     .286     .363      .414    .777       2      13
Obviously, those are promising numbers however, his best asset to a team is his extraordinary speed and solid defense. He stole 141 bases in 338 minor league games, being thrown out just 28% of the time. He's said to be faster than fellow teammate Jose Reyes who has lead the league in steals the last 2 seasons (64 in '06, and 78 in '07) before being the runner-up in 2005 with 60 steals to Chone Figgins' 62.

Martinez is thought to have a bit of speed, but probably not enough to keep him in center field, which is obviously where Gomez will more-than-likely spend his entire career (baring injury).

Scouts rave about Martinez's bat, especially as he's just a 19-year-old. Scouts however are not as fond of Gomez's bat and some think he may never develop power that his 6'4'', 195 lbs. body suggest he might. I've compared him to a young, Carlos Beltran, however since hearing by many scouts that he likely will never be a power threat, I'm more compelled to argue that he's more of a young Carl Crawford which is also a very high praise.

Seth Stohs feels that Martinez is potentially the next Ken Griffey Jr. as his scouts feel his bat should be able to produce at least 30 home runs without a problem as he matures. To label someone as that is so incredible in it's own, but to give it to a 19-year-old where most of his hype is based off of pure potential, without numbers to back it up, is quite the praise.

I personally cannot decide which player I'd prefer more. Gomez who's thought to be ready, but could probably use another half-season in the minors. Or Martinez who has more potential but is so young and has at least a few more seasons to go.

I just hope the Twins can grab both of them from the Mets, without having to choose between the two.

Personally speaking, I'd probably have to end up taking Martinez, however I think either way you look at it, it's going to set the team back a few years. But with Gomez, it'll likely only be 2 years, instead of Martinez being 3-4. I'm not suggesting that it'll take either player that long to reach the team, but instead it'll likely take that long to become contributors to our team.

According to Christensen, the Twins are being offered some combination of both outfielders as well as a few arms. The arms are reported to be Philip Humber, Deolis Guerra, and Kevin Mulvey.

If the Mets told the Twins to choose 4 of the prospects, which has only been speculated up until this point, then I think the Twins would take both Martinez & Gomez, as well as Guerra and Mulvey. This would definitely set the team back at least 2-3 years as only Gomez would be able to step in from day one and play for the team.

The Twins feel that they should receive all 5 players, which is fine as they are in fact giving up the best pitcher on the planet. However if the team has true feelings about trading him, then they may have to lower their asking price from the Mets as they reportedly already have for the Yankees.

This one isn't nearly over, but we can only hope that sometime in the coming days that a "Breaking News" will come at the top of our favorite baseball site in which it will reveal what the Twins ultimately do with their two-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher.