Thursday, September 27, 2007

Santana's Last Start as a Twin?

On Sunday, much was made of Torii Hunter playing in what was likely his last home game at the Metrodome. Yesterday, Johan Santana made his final start of the 2007 season against the Tigers. While not overly likely, it is very possible that the start was Santana's last in a Twins uniform.

Numerous rumors have popped up recently regarding the possibility of Santana being dealt this offseason. He is on the verge of entering the final year of his contract with the Twins, and will likely command upwards of $20 million per season in his next deal. While losing the best pitcher in the game would be a blow for the Twins, the cheap young talent that would certainly come back in a trade might set the team up for success over the next several years, and in the end a trade could turn out to be beneficial in the long run.

The potential deal that seems to have the most weight to it right now is a rumored one with the Dodgers that would bring back outfielder Matt Kemp and starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw. I'd prefer any deal with the Dodgers to include stud third base prospect Andy LaRoche, but a package of Kemp and Kershaw would certainly be enticing. Kemp is an athletic young outfielder who has hit .338/.373/.530 as a 22-year-old in the majors this year and could replace Torii Hunter in center. Meanwhile, the 19-year-old lefty Kershaw is considered by many to be the best pitching prospect in the game.

It's difficult to weigh the positives and negatives of such a deal. The Twins would be getting an immediate inexpensive answer in center field, as well as a dominating lefty who could potentially replace Santana as the team's ace somewhere down the line; yet, they'd be losing a historically great pitcher and the possibility of a devastating Santana/Liriano one-two punch at the top of the rotation next season.

Santana's outing yesterday was cut short by a long rain delay, and he ended up pitching just three unimpressive innings. It seems like a fitting end to what has been Santana's worst season as a full-time starter (although, in fairness, still a great season by any standards). The thought of that nondescript three-inning performance being Santana's last as a Twin seems surreal, but it's probably something that's worth keeping in mind as we head into the offseason.

8 comments:

Ted666 said...

But the revenue from the new stadium was supposed to keep marque guys like Santana in a Twins uniform? That's what they sold the public to get it.

Pohlad is laughing his ass off.

fro said...

to be honest, i am really conflicted about this situation, not just because santana would be leaving, but more or less whether or not to chose a pitcher (santana) or an everyday player (hunter), because as you said, if this deal is done, we have the room to sign hunter...the reason this is a conflict is that an everyday player is out there and can help you win every single game, while a pitcher can only help you every 5th game, not to mention it is easier for a good pitcher to have a bad season then a hitter/fielder...in the end it won't mattter, because it will be just like every other rumor in minnesota, it's just a rumor and we atleast get to see santana/liriano next season...

Nick N. said...

If it's a choice between Hunter and Santana, I'd take Santana in a heartbeat. Even if the Twins chose to trade Santana, I still wouldn't recommend re-signing Hunter. I am just not at all big on the idea of handing a massive five-year deal to a guy that's about to turn 33.

Of course, if Santana and Hunter were both sent out this offseason, there would be a lot of money to work with for next season. That's something I'll talk about in tomorrow's post.

fro said...

how massive of a contract are we talking here...what does torii want? if its like 5 years or more, at 20 million a year, then i agree with you, i'm just saying that when you have an impact player like hunter, someone who plays everyday, he has a slight advantage over a pitcher that only players 1 out of every 5 games...i just don't want this next year, one that was supposed to be highly anticipated with liriano back, to be a rebuilding year...if that happens we can kiss morneau, mauer, and cuddy goodbye...

Nick N. said...

I'd say the absolute minimum deal Hunter would sign is about 5 years at $15 million per season, which adds up to $75 million. That's a lot of money to commit to a guy that is Hunter's age.

I have some ideas for improving the team while letting Santana and Hunter go, which is what I'm working on for tomorrow's post. Check back then and let me know if they seem feasible or if I'm totally talking out of my ass. (I'll admit, the latter is more likely.)

SCL Commish said...

I love Santana and Hunter, but I think it's time to dump them both. I think they need to get more than what you suggest in the Dodgers trade option, but either way, you can't put 1/4 of your salary on one player and expect to contend. It doesn't happen.

Hunter is a great guy, but not worth the 5/75 he expects. As a Twins fan, it's tough to say, but it's time to rebuild.

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