• The Johan Santana Question

    Posted by on August 20th, 2007 · Comments (24)

    Johan Santana continues to be an ace for the Minnesota Twins. Santana will be a free agent after the 2008 season. There’s talk out there these days that suggests the Twins may look to trade Johan this off-season (because of his contract demands).

    If the Twins called the Yankees and offered them Johan Santana, this off-season, in exchange for Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, would the Yankees make that deal? Would you?

    I would probably pass on that one – and not because of the potential of Hughes and Chamberlain. To me, it’s about money.

    Santana may get a 5-8 year deal as a free agent – for $20-25 million per season. As great as he is, and he is great, I could not sign-off on a deal like that one. Too many great pitchers have broken down at some point in their career. And, if it happened to Santana, I would hate to be on the hook for that kind of money, even with the Yankees resources, if and when it happens to him.

    Comments on The Johan Santana Question

    1. j
      August 20th, 2007 | 8:35 am

      You would ‘probably’ pass on that? Hughes and Chamberlain for a year rental of Santana – that’s absurd.

    2. Andrew
      August 20th, 2007 | 8:56 am

      You wouldn’t do it because of the MONEY?

      Seriously, ask yourself, would you have dealt last year’s Verlander and Zumaya for Santana?

      Hughes and Chamberlain aren’t at that level YET, but it’s pretty comparable.

      Why trade away two pitchers for one, especially when you can just have all three after next year?

    3. dave
      August 20th, 2007 | 9:06 am

      I wouldn’t trade either of them for Santana at this point. Though, signing Santana to a 20-25 million dollar contract would not be a financially dangerous move. With no Pettite, Clemens, Mussina or Pavano (Man, are they still paying him?) on the payroll, the yanks can use the financial fexibility of having a rotation potentially anchored by cheep (at worst Arb eligable) home grown talent in Wang, Hughes, Joba, Kennedy, (With guys like Horne, Marquiz, Betenance, Brackman, Clippard, Wright, DeSalvo, White potentially hagging around)

      It is a barbell approach, low priced young talent mixed with Superstars. The problem is overspending on the good, but not great players.

      In 2009 the yanks rotation, with Santana could cost 1/2 what it does now…

    4. August 20th, 2007 | 9:33 am

      ~~~Hughes and Chamberlain for a year rental of Santana~~~

      FWIW, I would assume that the Yanks would only trade for Johan if they knew they could sign him. I could not see them trading for a rental job.

    5. Yu Hsing Chen
      August 20th, 2007 | 9:35 am

      Steve, money? that’s just wrong.

      Look, Johan is going to be a FA after 08, why would the Yankees consider trading those two guys for a guy they can sign in 1 year’s time anyway? it is about winning and Johan does give us a better shot in 08 but it’s also about the future. and doing that really kills our chances after 08.

      I think if Johan doesn’t sign with the Twins, (which isn’t as unlikely as some of you would like to belive) then the Yankees chances of signing him is great.

      but from the Twin’s POV, i can’t see them trading Johan anyway, they got a great shot to win next year if they simply add one more bat and get Liriano ack. you simply don’t trade your franchise player while having a awsome shot at contending even if your the Florida Marlins.

      Unless the Twins bomb completely in 08 (unlikely as hell) Johan will play out his contract. and even if they do bomb, how do you justify trading Joba and Huges for 2 month of Santana?

    6. August 20th, 2007 | 9:49 am

      ~~~Steve, money? that’s just wrong.~~~

      We’re not just talking money here. We’re talking about an amount that will near $185 million dollars – if not pass it – for one player (and not an everyday position player).

      That’s not good baseball sense – even for a team with the revenue of the Yankees.

    7. Raf
      August 20th, 2007 | 10:03 am

      With no Pettite, Clemens, Mussina or Pavano (Man, are they still paying him?) on the payroll, the yanks can use the financial fexibility of having a rotation potentially anchored by cheep (at worst Arb eligable) home grown talent in Wang, Hughes, Joba, Kennedy,
      =============================
      Don’t forget the cash cow that is the New Yankee Stadium will be opening in 2009.

      If the Yanks want Johan, they will sign him. Money will not be an issue.

      Would I trade Hughes and Chamberlain for Johan? No, I wouldn’t; may as well sign him when he comes on the market. If another team acquires him, best of luck to them. The BoSox got Pedro from the Expos, when he was in his prime, and they STILL weren’t able to finish ahead of the Yanks.

    8. Raf
      August 20th, 2007 | 10:14 am

      And mind you, back in 1997, all it took for the Sox to land Pedro was Tony Armas Jr. and Carl Pavano.

      In 1987, it took Rick Aguilera, David West, Kevin Tapani, Tim Drummond & Jack Savage to get Frank Viola away from the Twins.

      IMO, if the Yanks put together a package similar to what the Twins got from the Mets for Viola, that should get the deal done.

    9. j
      August 20th, 2007 | 10:23 am

      “FWIW, I would assume that the Yanks would only trade for Johan if they knew they could sign him. I could not see them trading for a rental job.”

      That still makes no sense. If that’s true, then why trade Hughes and Chamberlain for Santana when you can have all 3 in 2009?

    10. MJ
      August 20th, 2007 | 10:27 am

      Don’t forget the cash cow that is the New Yankee Stadium will be opening in 2009.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      It won’t be a cash cow for at least a few years. All the money that new ballpark will be throwing off will go to debt service on construction costs. Hence, the new ballpark won’t be financing and extending the team’s reach in player acquisition in the short-term.

      As to the question of trading Joba/Hughes for Johan: No F-in’ Way. Sign him as a FA if you want him although I have a hard time believing that it would be worth it to commit that kind of money to a pitcher, even one as great as Johan has been the last few years.

    11. August 20th, 2007 | 10:34 am

      ~~If that’s true, then why trade Hughes and Chamberlain for Santana when you can have all 3 in 2009?~~

      To keep Johan off the open market. That’s why any team would trade for him.

    12. rbj
      August 20th, 2007 | 10:37 am

      If you don’t trade for Santana there is always the possibility someone else (Red Sox) does, thus you won’t have all three. Still, I wouldn’t trade Hughes & Chamberlain for him. I just like having two potentially great young arms.

    13. MJ
      August 20th, 2007 | 10:37 am

      To keep Johan off the open market. That’s why any team would trade for him.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      I’d almost rather he hit the open market. If the Yanks decide that spending that kind of money is out of the question on a 30-year old free agent pitcher then maybe some other team (Boston, Anaheim) spends it and chokes their budget in other ways. Joba/Hughes/Kennedy/Wang combined won’t cost what it’ll take to cover one season of Santana’s five. Haven’t we learned that it’s not who spends the most but who spends the wisest?

    14. Zack
      August 20th, 2007 | 12:10 pm

      All of you saying that the Yanks could just sign him the next year or that he would only be a rental are missing the whole point of the Twins trading him and, I think, Steve’s point. If the Twins decide to trade him, he WILL be traded. Probably to the Red Sox, who would willingly give up Buchholz and Ellisbury (way less than Joba and Hughes) for a front 3 of Santana, Beckett, and Dice-K. Plus, they would obviously sign him long term to enough money to make Santana not need to think about FA. Same with the Dodgers, Angels, D-rays (yes, they have the prospects and could afford it, if they were smart, with just an insane group of starters of Kazmir, Shields, Santana, and Price), and a few other teams with the prospects AND $ to do it.

      So the point is not that the Yanks could wait to sign him or would only get him for one year, but that if the Twins are trading him, this is the Yanks ONE SHOT at getting the best pitcher of this era in his prime.

      Me? I give up a package with one of those guys and a few other prospects, top level ones, to get him. No doubt. Joba and/or Hughes, at best in a perfect world, might become Santana.

    15. MJ
      August 20th, 2007 | 12:31 pm

      While I agree that Joba/Hughes MIGHT become what Santana already is, I don’t see the logic in dropping $125M on a starting pitcher. Even if Joba/Hughes don’t pan out for shit, I’d rather roll the dice with my guys than drop that kind of money. Seems like an equally big risk to overpay for a pitcher than it does to trade away cheap young players that also happen to project to high-ceiling careers.

    16. August 20th, 2007 | 12:37 pm

      I understand your point, Zack, but I just don’t see any of that happening. Those teams could trade for Santana, but if his agent is worth anything Santana won’t sign a long-term deal before hitting free agency. Why negotiate with one team when you can have 6, 7, 8, 9, even 10 teams vie for your services, and thus, drive the price up? With Zambrano getting about $18 mil per year and Zito getting about $17, Santana is going to get in the $23-25 mil range, and there are only a handful of teams that can afford that.

      Everybody mentions the Yankees waiting because in 2009 they’ll be opening a brand-new Yankee Stadium, Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte’s expensive contracts will all most likely be off the books, not to mention Jason Giambi and possibly Bobby Abreu. And on top of that, Hughes, Chamberlain, Wang and Kennedy will all be getting paid peanuts compared to the veterans who will be gone. SO the Yankees will have a ridiculous amount of money to throw at Santana.

      Santana will turn 30 in March of ’09, so a five- or even six-year deal worth between $125 and 150 mil is definitely reasonable, at least in terms of today’s ridiculous contracts.

      On another Santana-related note, is anyone else surprised that he didn’t even try to go for 20 Ks in the ninth inning last night? He would’ve joined Roger Clemens, Kerry Wood and Randy Johnson as the only guys to do it. Check it out … http://blogs.msg.com/gameon/2007/08/stats-shmats–3.html

    17. Pete
      August 20th, 2007 | 12:42 pm

      IMO by 2009, we may be less worried about the pitching staff and more about our position players -
      but also don’t forget there’s a few other big-name pitchers hitting the market then too.

      Peavy and Ben Sheets to name a few…

    18. MJ
      August 20th, 2007 | 12:47 pm

      Just say no to Ben Sheets in 2009 unless you want another Pavano situation on your hands. Obviously he’s a better pitcher (and human being) but he’s just a guy that seems to have a hard time staying healthy. Not exactly the best idea to throw gobs of money at that type of pitcher…

    19. Pete
      August 20th, 2007 | 1:16 pm

      I don’t think the Yankees are capable of making a mistake with the magnitude of a Carl Pavano again in Cashman’s lifetime, but it’s duly noted.

      I’d certainly take Peavy if Santana wasn’t available, tho’

    20. rbj
      August 20th, 2007 | 1:36 pm

      ~On another Santana-related note, is anyone else surprised that he didn’t even try to go for 20 Ks in the ninth inning last night? He would’ve joined Roger Clemens, Kerry Wood and Randy Johnson as the only guys to do it.~

      It’s the manager’s decision, not Johann’s. Right call too, IMO. Santana had already thrown 119 pitches and you don’t want to overuse his arm just to get three more strikeouts while you are in a pennant race.

    21. Don
      August 20th, 2007 | 2:17 pm

      Zito signed a seven year, $126 million deal. Santana, unless he re-signs for a home town discount with the Twins, will command at least 20% more in money, who knows over how many years.

      I’ll pass.

      And I love how people assume that economics are in stasis. No one, myself excepted, reflects on the vagaries of the economy and the very real possibility of an economic downturn, which in fact is already beginning. So don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. 2009-2010 could be a bumpy ride.

    22. August 20th, 2007 | 2:24 pm

      ~~~I don’t think the Yankees are capable of making a mistake with the magnitude of a Carl Pavano again in Cashman’s lifetime, but it’s duly noted.~~~

      How soon they forget: Kei Igawa.

    23. Raf
      August 20th, 2007 | 4:24 pm

      How soon they forget: Kei Igawa.
      =========
      At least Kei pitched.

    24. Raf
      August 20th, 2007 | 4:27 pm

      2009-2010 could be a bumpy ride.
      =======================
      I’ll believe it when I see it. Owners are the first to cry broke/poor, then turn around and sign a player to a billion dollar contract.

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