Friday Night, November 9, 2007
What would it take?
Hey ya’ll, a special edition of SethSpeaks seems more than necessary. The big talk of the week and of the GM meetings was certain around trades. It definitely appears that there could be a lot more trade activity than in past years. Teams all seem to be getting wise to the fact that signing veterans through free agency is more than a little risky, especially the big name, big money, long time commitment free agents. The big name being bantered around in radio and print media is Johan Santana. The Twins are certainly finding out a lot about what they can acquire for Johan. As I have mentioned several times before, if I were GM, I would offer him a five year extension at $101 million. If he doesn’t take it and it appears that he would like to test the free agent market, then the only intelligent option is to trade him. Also, his trade value now as compared to next July is far higher. I would take bids from any team interested in Johan.
However, I think it is also important to note that with or without Santana, the Twins should be looking to compete not only in 2009 and 2010, but also in 2008, so the return in any trade of Johan Santana would have to be significant. In other words, I think that the Twins will receive several great offers for Santana, but they need to go with the one the blows them away most, from the team that is willing to help the Twins fill holes in 2008 but fill even more holes over 2009, 2010 and beyond. We have been over the Twins needs several times. The big ones are in CF, at 3B and at DH. 2B is another area worth exploring if they can find a really good hitter. And, in trading Santana, I would also ask that at least one high-level pitching prospect be included in the trade. So, then I started thinking about what teams would have interest in Santana and be willing to give him huge money over the next five to seven years. The Mets, Angels, Dodgers and Yankees are the names most frequently mentioned. Which teams have the best mix of prospects and young players to make a great offer to the Twins? And finally, I would also tell teams that if they really want Santana, they will also have to take Nick Punto and his salary. The Twins have plenty of utility infield types.
Well, let’s take a look at a bunch of teams that could deal for Santana for any number of reasons. I will mention the type of trade offer that I would need from that team if I were to deal them Johan Santana, baseball’s best pitcher. I would love to hear your comments, so please e-mail me or leave comments below. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!
· Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – I believe that they will go hard after Alex Rodriguez. If they get him, the team is clearly trying to make a statement and would also have the bats to compete. However, if they do not acquire A-Rod, I think that they will go even stronger after Santana.
1. Brandon Wood – 3B – huge power potential
2. Howie Kendrick – 2B – just an incredible all-around hitter.
3. Reggie Willits – CF – older young player (if that makes sense), but his on-base skills and speed are impressive.
4. Nick Adenhart – P – probably a year or two away, but he has tremendous upside
No way the Angels would give up this much for Santana, but then again, I said I needed to be blown away, and this is where I would start negotiations. This trade would answer all of the Twins needs in a trade, plus the players would not be eligible for free agency for at least five years.
· New York Mets – The Mets need pitching. They likely will lose Tom Glavine, and who knows what Pedro Martinez or El Duque will do. The team needs pitching, and why not go after the best pitcher in the game? A-Rod is another option here.
1. Jose Reyes – The Mets shortstop is already signed to a very fair long term deal. His speed on the Metrodome’s turf would be something to watch. Jason Bartlett could move to 2B.
2. Mike Pelfrey or Philip Humber – a pitcher in return.
3. Carlos Gomez or Lastings Milledge – Five-Tool prospects that are pretty much ready to take over CF.
Again, this is a starting point. The Mets would certainly balk at anything more than Reyes, but the Twins might as well ask. A-Rod could move back to SS. The Mets could then let go of a pitching prospect. And they still have their outfield set.
· Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers now have Joe Torre and like the GM, Ned Colleti, he is a fan of veterans.
1. Matt Kemp – The talents former hoops star is the guy who can take over CF, hit for power and run.
2. Andy LaRoche – He has good power. He’s probably ready for the big leagues now.
3. Clayton Kershaw – Baseball’s top pitching prospect, the 19 year old lefty ended his 2007 season in AA.
4. Jonathan Broxton – Power arm in the bullpen, Broxton is huge and will fully solidify the Twins bullpen again. If the Twins lose Joe Nathan, Broxton, Neshek, Crain or Guerrier could all close.
A king’s ransom but again, I’d rather ask for too much than not enough. This deal fills two needs and strengthens an already strong bullpen.
· Boston Red Sox – They already have Beckett, Schilling, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, Lester and others ready to start, but getting the top pitcher (and keeping him from the Yankees) makes them mentionable.
1. Jacoby Ellsbury – Red Sox starter already in the NLCS after being called up late in the season.
2. Clay Buccholz – He threw a no-hitter in just his second big league start. Could be an ace.
This isn’t happening. There is no way that the Red Sox would deal both of these guys. But the Twins need to find out.
· New York Yankees – They actually really want Santana (for themselves, not just so that the Red Sox don’t get him). They are at a crossroads as an organization. GM Brian Cashman did a great job of keeping his young players at the deadline this year. However, we are now talking about baseball’s best pitcher, a near sure-thing. I’m sure he would much rather trade a top prospect for Santana than for some random veteran last July. So, they need to be in the discussion.
1. Robinson Cano – After a slow start, Cano seems legit. Average and power. Not bad with the glove. He’s still about four years from free agency, but he could get somewhat expensive in arbitration already.
2. Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain – understanding that getting both is just not an option, I would still insist on at least one of them.
3. Ian Kennedy – Not as highly rated as the above two, Kennedy was incredible in 2007 at four levels.
I think that the Yankees will be real players in the Santana Sweepstakes, should there be one. It doesn’t hurt to ask for the moon. You just never know.
· Seattle Mariners – You have to mention a dark horse, right? The Mariners might be that team. They have money and they have some talent!
1. Adrian Beltre – Is he overpaid and overrated? Probably. But his Gold Glove selection was legitimate. He has had the one monster season, but if the M’s were willing to eat some of his salary (or take Punto and Dennys Reyes), it wouldn’t be so bad.
2. Adam Jones – Not Pacman! Probably don’t need to say that, but I feel I should. Power, speed, great CF defense. He is more than ready, but Jose Guillen is already gone and Raul Ibanez may be next.
3. Jeff Clement – The Twins drafted him before he went to USC. He’s a catcher. He could be the #3 catcher, but he could also be the nearly every day DH. The man can hit and hit for power.
4. Brandon Morrow – The 2006 1st round pick spent the season in the M’s bullpen. He is another bullpen guy with future closer written all over him.
Probably not for each of those last three, but again, at least worth having the discussion.
· Tampa Bay Rays – Completely unlikely as they are a team that usually looks to unload salary. However, they definitely have the talent to acquire Santana.
1. BJ Upton – He’s not available, they’re saying, but in the right deal, who knows?
2. Evan Longoria – I always laugh at posters/commenters on other blogs who seem to think that Longoria is available. He’s not, but again, special circumstances…
This isn’t happening, so it’s not worth putting too much thought into it. Other names that are worth asking about would be Delmon Young and Scott Kazmir.
So, there are seven teams that could have the players to acquire Johan Santana. I could add the Diamondbacks or Rockies or even the Brewers to the list, but they each seem even more unlikely. The reality is that if Santana is traded, it would be to a team that would be able to sign him to a long-term deal. That actually means probably the first six teams I mention could all be in the hunt, could all put in their bids for Santana. They could build up strong offers. Will any of them offer the Twins a deal that they simply can not refuse? For the Twins long-term good, we can only hope so. If not, Twins fans need to enjoy Santana’s 2008 season and hope that he is willing to resign with the team!