Guerra is last hope to get something from Santana trade

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 21, 2012 - 6:56 AM

The deal that sent Johan Santana to the Mets will sting less for the Twins if relief pitcher Deolis Guerra emerges.


Pitcher Deolis Guerra is the last player the Twins still have from the Johan Santana trade.

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

FORT MYERS, FLA. - Deolis Guerra is all the Twins have left to show from the 2008 Johan Santana trade, and last year, it looked as if Guerra might disappear from the organization, too.

After 10 starts for Class AA New Britain, Guerra had a 9.00 ERA and an opponents' batting average of .357. The Twins didn't want to give up on the 22-year-old righthander, but something had to change.

They moved him to the bullpen and discovered a new pitcher.

"I think it was a great move for me," Guerra said. "Coming out of the bullpen makes me more focused every day. I think that was the key."

In 27 relief appearances for the Rock Cats, Guerra posted a 2.77 ERA and held opponents to a .191 average. The Twins added him to their 40-man roster at season's end and believe he can still become a decent big-league reliever, perhaps even later this year.

Guerra was one of the first cuts the Twins made this year from their spring training roster, after he'd allowed five earned runs in three innings, but that's not a reflection of his organizational standing. Baseball America recently ranked him as the team's No. 15 prospect.

He's expected to be one of the relievers knocking on the door this year at Class AAA Rochester.

"I don't know if he's a guy that maybe tries to pace himself when he starts, but when he knows he's in for short shots, he really seems to get after it," said Eric Rasmussen, the team's minor-league pitching coordinator. "So maybe that's his niche."

Guerra arrived from the Mets with considerable hype. In 2007, at age 18, he was in the All-Star Futures Game, and his fastball reached 95 miles per hour. But scouts believe the Mets stunted Guerra's development by rushing him to Class A St. Lucie that year.

"He was in the [Class A] Florida State League when he was about 18 years old, which is really silly," Rasmussen said. "Because then you're over your head, and you've got to repeat the league over and over. Unless he's a sure thing, but how rare is that?"

Guerra's best pitch has been his changeup. His fastball is straight and barely touched 90 mph as a starter, but as a reliever, it consistently hits 91 mph.

"His curveball is better now, too," Rasmussen said. "He's really worked on that. And he's also slimmed down. He started getting in shape last year and taken it to heart."

Guerra's development could salvage a disappointing trade for the Twins. Santana, who turned 33 this week, was a two-time Cy Young Award winner, but he was one year from free agency and controlled the process because he preferred to eventually sign with a big-market team on the East Coast.

An expected bidding war between the Yankees and Red Sox never materialized, and the Twins settled for four prospects from a thin Mets system: Outfielder Carlos Gomez, starting pitchers Philip Humber and Kevin Mulvey and Guerra.

The Twins traded Gomez to Milwaukee for shortstop J.J. Hardy and, using the waiver wire, sent Mulvey to the Diamondbacks for reliever Jon Rauch. But Hardy's with the Orioles now, Rauch jumped to the Blue Jays and now the Mets, and Humber's with the White Sox.

"I think it was a real good thing for me being traded for a guy like Johan," Guerra said. "He's one of the best. I don't think it put more pressure on me. I just try to control what I can control."

In four years as a Twins minor leaguer, Guerra has posted a 5.55 ERA, and he's only made five appearances above Class AA. He realizes Twins fans are probably growing impatient.

"I feel ready [for the big leagues]," he said. "It been a long process, and I'm working hard, trying to prove myself. The Twins have the last word, you know, but I'm ready for whatever they want me to do."

  • related content

  • Chart: The Twins' Santana trade revisited

    Tuesday March 20, 2012

    On Feb. 2, 2008, with Johan Santana one year from free agency, the Twins dealt the two-time Cy Young Award winner to the Mets for four players: outfielder Carlos Gomez...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)


San Diego 21 FINAL
Denver 35
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Indiana 88 FINAL
Charlotte 79
Philadelphia 103 FINAL
Detroit 109
Dallas 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
NY Islanders 3 FINAL
Boston 2
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 4
Vancouver 4 FINAL
St. Louis 1
Chicago 2 FINAL
Nashville 3
Arizona 0 FINAL
Minnesota 2
Carolina 0 FINAL
Calgary 5
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Columbus 5 FINAL
San Jose 4
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 6:00 PM
Troy 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Montreal 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who should get the Twins' managing job?

Weekly Question