It's not every day that a Cy Young winner with the most dominant stuff in baseball hits the trading block. The only real surprise in hearing that Johan Santana has is that every team (including the spendthrift Florida Marlins) has not lined up around the block in an attempt to acquire his services.
It's obvious Minnesota has no intention of spending what it will take to lock up the premier pitcher in baseball for another five or six years. That pathetic 2-year, $36 mil junk was an insult, not so much on the money per year, but the fact that Santana has proven himself over the last four-year deal he signed.
Now comes the good part. Where will Santana wind up (in more ways than one) and, more importantly, what will it cost, both in terms of money and prospects? The Hot Stove claims the Mets and Yankees are the two most logical destinations for Santana, as well as the Dodgers and possibly the Angels. First, any deal more than likely means a seven-year contract at about $20 million per. Santana is light years ahead of Barry Zito, who got seven at $18 mil from the Giants, and even Carlos Zambrano, who got 5 at about $18.3 mil from the Cubs.
Second, Minnesota wants at least three top-level prospects and no telling how many lesser ones in any deal. Here are the teams who may have what the Twins are looking for, as well as the money to lock Santana up.
Yankees- No problem with money, as A-Rod is gone. As much as that diva gave the Yanks in production, I would much rather be spending $20 mil per year on Santana. Prospects-wise, they could offer either Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy (Joba is out) along with Melky Cabrera (or possibly young OF Jose Tabata) and possibly young arms Alan Horne, Humberto Sanchez, or Andrew Brackman.
Mets- Paul Lo Duca's and Tom Glavine's salaries come off the books, meaning they could afford Santana, and they also have prospects to offer. They could dangle young pitchers Mike Pelfrey and Phil Humber, along with Lastings Milledge, giving the Twins a young CF to replace Torii Hunter.
Dodgers- Frank McCourt wants to win, and if LA doesn't sign A-Rod, they could turn to pitching. They've got arms Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, Clayton Kershaw, etc., plus Matt Kemp, Andy LaRoche, James Loney and Andre Ethier. If McCourt's willing to shell out the dough, Santana can be had.
Angels- If Arte Moreno can't sign a bat to protect Vlad Guerrero, he can do the next best thing and upgrade his pitching staff. He's got young arms Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana, Nick Adenhart and position guys Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, Casey Kotchman, Kendry Morales and Brandon Wood. Some combination of all of that could land both Santana and Miguel Cabrera. Yes, it would gut the farm system, but how bad does Moreno want to win?
Rangers- Okay, this is my hometown team so I'm entitled. Tom Hicks has the money. Arlington is a big market town on a small-market budget, and now Hicks has an extra $21 mil he won't have to pay A-Rod. There's one year on Santana's deal right there, and unlike the past three years, Tom will get something back for it. Texas also has the prospects, believe it or not, after fleecing Atlanta for Mark Teixeira. They can offer young pitchers Eric Hurley, Edinson Volquez, C.J. Wilson, Matt Harrison, Beau Jones, Kasey Kiker or position guys Elvis Andrus, Taylor Teagarden, David Murphy, John Mayberry, etc. They could also include catcher Gerald Laird, who would allow Minnesota to move Joe Mauer to the field. Not as crazy as it sounds, huh?
I've always said the Rangers need to explore trade options for young pitchers like Santana and Dontrelle Willis when the opportunity comes up. Now, if it's true that Scott Kazmir and Tim Lincecum are on the block as well, there is no excuse not to explore a deal. What is all this Coco Crisp B.S.? Be aggressive, Jon Daniels. Especially if a Kazmir deal also allows you to get Rocco Baldelli or Delmon Young.
BTW, nice job Philadelphia on filling your closer and starter needs with one deal.
Until next time.