January 2008

Some Twins notes

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Despite this development, we expect the Mets and Johan Santana to eventually agree on a contract and end this mess.

Just emptying the notebook today….

Carlos Gomez has 141 days of service time, which means he’ll reach super-2 arbitration status if he’s on the major league roster for all of 2008 and 2009.

To qualify as a Super 2, a player must have accumulated at least 86 days of service in the previous year. (A year of service is 172 days. The historical cutoff point for Super 2 status is 2 years, 128 days of service, though the requirement has been as high as 2 years, 140 days.) (This was blatantly stolen from another website!)

Jesse Crain said during TwinsFest that his shoulder felt great and planned to start throwing breaking balls this week. Crain had surgery on his labrum and rotator cuff last year but stressed that he didn’t have complete tears and expects to be ready by Opening Day. Still it will be interesting to monitor his velo in camp.

The Twins intentionally paired Delmon Young and Michael Cuddyer for some TwinsFest appearances. Let the mentoring begin….

Dmitri Young, by the way, was in town last weekend (I don’t know why) and took his little brother out.

Corey Koskie stopped by TwinsFest and said he was going to start working out this week. This is an important time for Koskie, who hasn’t played since July 2006 because of postconcussion syndrome suffered while chasing a fly ball.

He said if he’s not in a position to join a club by midseason, he’ll retire.

The Twins are kicking around signing a veteran starter for the back end of the rotation. Josh Fogg and John Thomson are possibilities. They may just hand the keys to the kids.

Guess who Carlos Gomez’s agent is?  Scott Boras.

One more thing…The Twins have 39 spots filled on their 40-man. Santana will come off to make it 38. Only Gomez and Humber have to go on this year, so the Twins have space.

Another thing…uniform numbers! Place your orders now!!!

Delmon Young – 21

Brendan Harris – 23

Adam Everett – 12

Mike Lamb – 24

Craig Monroe – 27

Humber wore 49 for the Mets last year, which I think is available if he makes the team. Gomez wore 27, so he might have to change if he and Monore make the team…. 


If the Twins had to do it all over again…..

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Second-guessing is so easy. And the Twins are being ripped for waiting too long to trade Johan Santana and getting less than what they could have several weeks ago. The word incompetence is used here. And Red Sox officials feel they had a better deal, whatever deal that was.

We may never learn exactly what the November, December and January offers were. It’s hard to believe that the Twins only got a quartet of prospects for the one of the top pitchers in the game.

But it can’t be stressed enough how much Santana affected what the Twins had to do. He had grown too big for Minnesota. He wanted to pitch on the big stage, which Minnesota isn’t.

He wanted a large contract, so large that he turned down a four-year, $80 million extension from the Twins – and the Twins let it be known that they were willing to add a fifth year to their offer. I’ve heard that Santana and his agent will pursue a contract from the Mets that includes a signing bonus large enough to bridge the gap between the $13.25 million he’s due this season and that they feel is current market value ($7-9 million?). The players association obviously wants Santana to redefine the already exploding market for pitching.

And that’s not a rip on Santana. Some players are comfortable dropping anchor in some places. Santana wants to pitch in the largest market and get paid accordingly. It’s his right. I think Santana had made up his mind that it was time for a change, which led to the request from his agent that the Twins agree to a deal by Tuesday or he would just play out the final year of his contract.

Twins GM Bill Smith tried to wait until someone stepped up with an improved offer. The Red Sox and Yankees never did -it looks like both actually pulled back their offers. Who can predict that happening?

I can understand the Red Sox. They were talking dynasty at the winter meetings when it looked like they could get Santana. But they only wanted him. They didn’t need him and weren’t sure if they could sign him anyway.

The Yankees baffle me. GM Brian Cashman, who doesn’t have an easy job working with Hank Steinbrenner, was able to hold on to young players when it’s obvious the Yankees don’t have enough top pitching to beat the Red Sox.

And I’m not buying their sudden fiscal concerns.  They have Bob Abreu ($16 million), Andy Pettitte ($16 million) and Mike Mussina ($11 million) coming off the books after this season, and probably won’t pick up Jason Giambi’s option after he makes $21 million this year. And there’s a new stadium opening in 2009. I’m just not buying it.

If the Twins are fortunate enough to have the best pitcher in baseball again, they hopefully will be more aggressive to sign that pitcher when he’s two years away from free agency. The Twins had a shot a year ago but were unable to extend Santana. That’s when they put themselves in a box. And that was the beginning of a season during which Santana became disgruntled over personnel decisions.

The Twins kept reminding me that no trade is better than a bad one. It’s too bad we’ll have to wait three years before grading this one.


Twins, Mets agree on Santana deal

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Multiple major league sources familiar with negotiations are confirming that the Twins and New York Mets have agreed to trade of two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana for four prospects.

The deal is pending physicals and a contract extension for Santana that’s expected to be for at least six years and more than $20 million a season.

In return for Santana, the Twins will receive four of the Mets best prospects – outfielder Carlos Gomez and righthanders Phillip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra.

The Twins wanted outfield prospect Fernando Martinez in the deal but the Mets balked at gutting their farm system of top prospects.

The deal comes after it was learned on Tuesday that Santana and his agent, Peter Greenberg, had begun to apply pressure to the Twins to get something done. There were indications, for instance, that Red Sox were told on Friday that it was time to bring their best offer to the table.

The Red Sox offered packages centering around lefthander Jon Lester and another centering around outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Infielder Jed Lowrie was believed to be attached to both deals, but it was learned on Tuesday that, in recent weeks, the Twins and Red Sox had changed some of the names in the back end of the deal.

Santana Central

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

The Twins’ expected trade of ace Johan Santana has held up the industry the entire offseason. But trade speculation will really heat up now that it’s become known that the Twins want to get something done this week.

One thing that never changes in this sport: Things get done when there are deadlines involved. If the Twins want to deal Santana this week or before spring training, then the three teams interested should be ready to step forward now. 

A reader alerted me to a report last night that Carlos Gomez had been pulled from winter ball. It’s led to speculation that a deal is close and Gomez is invovledl. Rotoworld claims its just a coincidence. I’m still looking into this.

Here’s a Mets story from the Daily News

Here’s a Boston story from the Globe

The next few days should be fun.

Big week ahead..

Monday, January 28th, 2008

After speaking with officials over the weekend at TwinsFest, it looks like the Twins want to get a Johan Santana trade done this week or begin preparing for his arrival at spring training.

We really won’t know if the Twins waited too long to trade Santana until a deal is made. For now, they insist that that they remain in contact with the Red Sox, Mets and Yankees and no team has pulled out.

I asked if there was a chance that a three-way deal involving a mystery team was possible. I was told that was unlikely.

I asked if the Twins have discussed adding a player to any deal to help move things along. I was told no.

I asked about reports that Jon Lester has been pulled from the Red Sox offer. I was told it’s not true. 

If the Twins don’t get an offer they like and bring Santana to camp, they’ll look at signing a free agent center fielder like Kenny Lofton or Corey Patterson. But they also would discuss just opening up the spot to competition between prospects Denard Span and Jason Pridie.

I know many of you have wondered if the signings of Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer mean that the Twins will also try to lock up Santana. That remains highly unlikely as all indications are that Santana is seeking a maximum payday.

I can’t wait for this to end we can find out what was true and what was just posturing. The funny thing is that we’re headed for the 10-year anniversary of the Chuck Knoblauch trade to the Yankees (Feb. 6) and that could be marked by another Twins trade to New York team. I still rank the Mets as the favorite with the Yankees second but the Twins have every right to demand that Fernando Martinez be included in the deal.

The Mets are trying to get one of the best pitchers in baseball for prospects. Excuse me while I put on my Allen Iverson hat. Prospects? Prospects? We’re talking about prospects, man. Not proven major league talent, prospects.