Johan Santana pitched Friday afternoon against the Twins, and their erstwhile ace had an outing best chalked up to spring training. He's working his changeup, and a couple of Minnesota prospects hit changeups out, and Ol' No. 57 gave up five runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Big deal. He'll get his changeup worked out; this was something that came up every spring with the Twins as well. The key thing this spring is that his elbow's been cleaned out and his arm feels good. Which means that every fifth game the Mets are going to be very tough to beat. (The other four games, not so much.)
Santana pitching against the Twins, even in an exhibition game against a lineup largely bound for Rochester, N.Y., raises the question: If they had the whole thing to do over, would the Twins still trade the two-time Cy Young winner?
The easy answer is no. The Twins got four players from the Mets in the deal; only Delois Guerra remains with the organization, and the young pitcher is not so highly regarded now as he was at the time.
- The Twins traded Carlos Gomez for J.J. Hardy, who figures to be Minnesota's shortstop for at least the next two years.
- They flipped Kevin Mulvey for Jon Rauch, who may wind up filling the closer's role this season.
- Guerra isn't a lost cause.
If and maybes. Santana had a variety of reasons for telling the Twins after 2007 that he wouldn't re-sign with Minnesota. One of them was his belief that the organization wasn't capable of accomplishing much more than winning divisional titles. Now he's with an organization that seems incapable of assembling a lineup.
The Santana trade itself didn't do much to help the Twins. Its spinoffs might yet salvage it.
Meanwhile, it certainly doesn't appear that the Mets are going to get where they expected to go with him. That's not Santana's fault — at least not as a pitcher.