Straight from the celebrity Wall of Fame at 2nd Ave’s Jade Mountain to the wire services, lefty Frank Viola tells the AP’s Dave Campbell the Twins didn’t get decent value for the still-unsigned Johan Santana (link taken from MetsBlog).
As the Johan Santana trade story unfolded, Frank Viola couldn’t help but see the parallels to his own departure from Minnesota 19 years ago.
Both were left-handed aces with Cy Young Awards on their resumes who priced themselves out of the Twin Cities – and onto the New York Mets for a multiplayer package of mostly unknowns.
The Viola deal finally came at the July 31 trade deadline in 1989, much later than most people around the game expected. The delay helped the Twins get a better return from New York for their ace.
“That’s why it worked out for me, because they waited,” Viola said.
“I question the trade somewhat, as a fan of the Twins and not an ex-ballplayer,” he said. “I guess if you’re a Minnesota fan like I am, you hope this is the best Bill could’ve done under the circumstances.”
Players offered earlier in the process by the Red Sox and Yankees probably would’ve made a stronger impact for Minnesota, though it’s unfair to predict what kind of career any of them will ultimately have. Center fielder Carlos Gomez and right-handed pitchers Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra are four of the Mets’ top prospects, but none of them are considered sure bets to be All-Stars.
“You’re talking four guys with a big question mark by all of their names,” Viola said. “Carlos Gomez, he has to be comparable to a Kirby Puckett and a Torii Hunter? Good luck with that.“
Please, all hands up all Twins fans old enough to remember the 6 player deal that brought Viola to Flushing. How many of you said to yourself when the trade was announced, “thank god we held out long enough for David West”?