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Johan Santana joins NL East

The balance of power in the National League East has shifted back to New York, as the Mets obtained superstar left-hander Johan Santana for four players on Monday. General manager Omar Minaya pulled the deal that neither the New York Yankees’ Brian Cashman nor the Boston Red Sox’s Theo Epstein could.

The odd thing is that the Mets probably had the weakest offer.

It was clear from the beginning that the Minnesota Twins were not going to part with the two-time Cy Young award winner for less than three or four top prospects. The Yankees had been rumored to have young pitchers Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, as well as center fielder Melky Cabrera on the table. The Red Sox had reportedly been planning to include either left-hander Jon Lester or outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury in multi-player deals.

Hughes and Kennedy went a combined 6-3 with a 2.29 ERA in 91.2 innings this season, and Lester and Ellsbury played huge roles for the World Series champion Red Sox.

As for the Mets’ slew of prospects, tell me if these names resonate like the above ones: Carlos Gomez, Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra.

Heard of these guys? Ladies and gentlemen, the 2011 Minnesota Twins!

Gomez hit .232 in 125 at bats last year, and Humber has thrown nine innings while allowing six earned runs over the past two seasons. That sums up the entire Major League experience of the four players. In short, the Twins gave up arguably the best pitcher of this generation for a few bags of balls and an opportunity to get $13.25 million off the books for this season.

Santana joins Pedro Martinez, John Maine and Oliver Perez in the Mets’ rotation, which has now become one of the most formidable in the National League. New York will also extend the left-hander to something to the tune of six years and $150 million, making life miserable for many people in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, and Flor…well, the people in Florida probably won’t care that much.

If nothing else, this will set up the premier pitcher of the decade with a chance to see what he’s made of. He will be playing in the biggest market with a chance to play in the biggest games. A certain other superstar went to New York and hasn’t been able to totally get the job done. Will Santana fold under the pressure of the Big Apple, or will he rise to the occasion and secure his place in history?

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