Sunday, January 27, 2008

Johan Santana Trade To Come Within Ten Days... For Real

After almost four months of posturing Charley Waters, columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, is reporting that the trade for Johan Santana might finally be close to getting done. Buster Olney, as usual, does a great job (ESPN.com insiders only, sorry) of breaking down the rumored players in a potential Santana deal and where each teams offers stand. It comes down to the following teams:

New York Yankees


The Yankees need an ace and a lefty, and Santana just happens to be both. That being said, it is unclear if the Yankees still have an offer on the table for Johan. At the Winter Meetings the Yankees had an offer in place built around 21 year old pitching phenom Phil Hughes and centerfielder Melky Cabrera. Recently, however, it has been reported that GM Brian Cashman and co-owner Hal Steinbrenner have talked co-owner Hank Steinbrenner out of investing the young players it would take to get him and the money it would take to sign Santana long term.

If the Yankees want to make a trade with Minnesota they could, they do have the prospects and money. As right now however, it looks like the Yankees are out. Minnesota would have to lower their trade demands for Santana or Santana would have to lower his reported asking price of 7 years and 150 million. As we have reported here before, it looks like the team without any financial constraints has some financial constraints.

Boston Red Sox

Boston had 2 separate deals on the table at one point. One of them built around pitcher Jon Lester, the other was built around speedy centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Olney is reporting today that the Red Sox have pulled Jon Lester off the table, making the Ellsbury one the best deal on the table. Minnesota does need a centerfielder, but this looks like too little for the Twins to take in a trade for Santana.

It looks like what most of Boston has done in these trade talks is just make sure the Yankees would have to give up a ton if they were to trade for Santana. Boston already has a very good 1-3 with Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Curt Schilling. This does not even include Clay Buchholz who threw a no hitter last season, or veteran Tim Wakefield. The Red Sox getting Santana would have added another ace to an already deep pitching rotation, that they really do not need.

New York Mets

The Mets do not have the best player or prospect to offer in an trade. They are probably willing to offer the most depth, and will give up the most to land Santana. The Mets need an ace to help the shoulder the load from Pedro Martinez, who pitched admirably down the stretch for the Mets last season, but is no longer the innings eating, dominant ace he was in his prime.

The Mets would have to include Fernando Martinez for the Twins to even consider making a deal with the Mets. But as I said, the Mets have the need, and the Mets have money to spend for him. The Mets are the most desperate team in need of Santana. The Mets only have another 1-2 good seasons left in Pedro Martinez, and having the Santana and Martinez would give the Mets one of the most dominant top of the rotation tandems in all of baseball. The Mets are also coming off of one of the most historic late season collapses in all of baseball history. The Mets were sitting pretty atop the NL East with a 7 game lead with 17 games left to play. Then, the collapse happened and the Mets wound up missing the playoffs. Some blamed manager Willie Randolph. Yet, many held GM Omar Minaya accountable for not making moves to strengthen the Mets and their needs at the trade deadline. Look for Omar to make the right move this time and land Johan

Seattle Mariners

Have not been named in any published report for Santana, but I think a trade here makes sense. One person did comment to me that th Mariners, are not a team that is willing to make a high profile move like this, but I feel it is fun to speculate anyway. I outline a potential trade and other stuff here.

BOTTOM LINE

The Twins really overplayed their hand here. The Twins were banking on the Yankees and Red Sox to constantly one up each other for Santana. However, both teams have decided to stay with what they have, and not invest the prospects and money long term. It looks like the Mets will be last team standing as we have previously reported here. There are even rumors circulating that Santana has been hurt and is hiding an injury, and that is making teams hesitant to make a deal for him.

FANTASY IMPACT

With the New York Mets, expect Johan to win 18-23 games. He will thrive playing in the NL without a DH, playing in a pitcher's ballpark. He will also have the benefit of a rather potent Met offense, which will offer him very good run support. Johan was a round 1 or 2 draft pick before this potential trade, if he goes to the Mets his value only increases.

No comments: