More On Santana/Twins
Twins GM Bill Smith is saying that the new contracts signed by Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau have no bearing on Johan Santana, but what is he supposed to say? Is he supposed to get the hopes of the fans up and suddenly make everyone think that: A) Santana is going to stay when he might not; and B) that there’s no point in teams making offers for him that may be worth more in the long run than signing the two-time Cy Young Award winner? But in looking at the big picture, of course the two contract agreements that were announced yesterday affect Santana.
Part of the reason Santana wanted out was because he didn’t want to be the last man standing in a rebuilding project; this at least assures that there will be veteran Twins at first base and somewhere in the outfield. Joe Mauer is also still there and the Twins aren’t going to let a hometown star like Mauer leave. Now, the Twins and Santana can take a realistic look at what the offer is and what the asking price is.
The Twins offered Santana four years, $80 million; Santana is said to be asking for at least six years and $140 million. The difference really isn’t all that much if you take a deeper look at it. The six year average in Santana’s demand would be $23 million; the four year average in the Twins offer is $20 million. To me, that is a gap that can be bridged with some creativity and flexibility on both sides. If Santana is really asking for that type of contract, one has to ask how much he really wants to be in Minnesota and how much money he really needs. Does he want the money to gain the cachet of being the highest paid pitcher in baseball history? Or does he just want the money? And with the Twins, are they willing to budge and raise the offer to perhaps $110 million for five years along with some reasonable, vesting options based on innings pitched and appearances?
Believe me when I tell you, I’d love for Santana to go free agent after pitching this season with the Twins because there’s every possibility that he’d wind up as a member of the New York Mets in 2009, but with each passing day, it looks like this whole thing can be averted by the Twins and Santana if they stop and think about what they’re doing. The Twins are not getting the offers they want for Santana in the trade market; despite Smith’s protestations to the contrary, now that they’re proving that they’re willing to keep their young stars and not undertake a gigantic rebuilding project, this may indeed have a great deal to do with what happens, or doesn’t happen, with Johan Santana and the Minnesota Twins.