Johan Santana had a very good 2008 season for the Mets after being traded by the Twins, then made the NL All-Star team a year later. He was going along pretty well in 2010 ... until shoulder trouble began what is now a downward spiral. He has made just 21 starts in 2011-13 combined, and there is no telling if or when he will return.
The Mets got close to half the return on their massive six-year investment worth almost $138 million -- not a complete flop, and beyond their control in some ways, but still hardly ideal. The Twins received in the trade what, for a long time, looked like a collection of arms and legs ... but not much else.
The centerpiece was Carlos Gomez, a talented young outfielder who was not yet able to harness his gifts. The Twins gave up on Go-Go after two occasionally electric but otherwise frustrating years, sending him to Milwaukee in a trade for J.J. Hardy. It was the classic change-of-scenery deal for both guys.
After one injury-riddled year of Hardy in 2010, the Twins decided they didn't want to pay him and sent him to Baltimore in exchange for the immortal Jim Hoey. In Baltimore, Hardy has been everything the Twins had hoped he would be -- a very solid fielder, a power bat, and in the lineup most of the time. In Milwaukee, Gomez turned the corner in 2012 and has become in 2013 everything the Twins hoped he would be -- a talented outfielder, a power hitter and a speedster on the bases.
Both Gomez and Hardy are All-Stars this season while Santana collects checks on the final year of his deal -- a season in which he is making more than $25 million.
Four years ago, it looked like the Twins and Bill Smith had been fleeced in the Santana deal. Since then, they had a chance to come out winners ... but were instead fleeced again, trading a future All-Star for a future All-Star and then swapping again for Hoey. Either one of those All-Stars would look mighty good at Target Field right now.