Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis has a good breakdown of the Johan Santana situation in his blog.
Word around the industry is that the Twins offered Santana four years and $80 million. That was refused. But a contract offer made in mid-November is just a starting point. The Twins are under no pressure to trade Santana now.
If he is traded, Santana would probably seek a deal worth six years and $150 million – yes, $25 million a year. If he doesn’t get it, he can refuse the deal (he has a complete no-trade clause) and simply become a free agent after the 2008 season.
Does that sound outrageous? If Mariano Rivera is worth $15 million a year and Barry Zito $18 million, Santana is worth at least $20 and should ask for $25.
Where do the Yankees fit in all this? The Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers have the prospects to trade and payroll flexibility to make a deal for Santana. I don’t think the Mets have the chips. Mike Pelfrey and/or Phil Humber aren’t good enough.
Santana, I believe, would approve a trade to the Yankees. I covered the game when he faced the Yankees on July 4 and Santana said afterward how much he enjoyed pitching in New York. Even manager Ron Gardenhire commented on it. “I hate to say it, but he loves it here,” Gardenhire said. “He loves the big stage, the big stadium.”
Santana is 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA in four career games at Yankee Stadium.
Santana’s greatness cannot be denied. But do the Yankees want two players taking up $50 million in payoll?
For now, the Twins are in a position of strength. They have Santana for another year and can afford to wait for a great deal to come their way. If Brian Cashman wants to act now, it could cost him dearly.
Would Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera and Alan Horne get it done? It all depends what the Red Sox and Dodgers offer up. I know one thing: This will be The Story at the Winter Meetings.