While perusing the Twins official site yesterday, I come across the following headline: "Mailbag: Santana's future plans." Sounds like it's worth checking out, so I give it a click. Now, keep in mind that the people who write into this mailbag are not the brightest folks (one example of a letter sent in and published in this edition: "What are the odds of Jason Tyner getting a starting position in the outfield next year? He would be a good leadoff hitter, he hit near .300 last season, and plays good defense."), so MLB.com beat writer Kelly Thesier kind of has to work with what she's got. But I was struck by her answer to a query regarding Santana and the possible return on an offseason trade.
The letter refers to a rumor about the Twins trading Santana and Jason Bartlett to the Mets for Jose Reyes, Mike Pelfrey and Carlos Gomez. An interesting thought. Thesier responds that there have been some other musings of what other clubs might offer, "like the Yankees' possibly dangling Melky Cabrera and Ian Kennedy, along with another prospect."
I've never heard this specific rumor before, but if I had I would probably have a lot less hair on my head. Let me get this straight, the Yankees want the best pitcher in the major leagues who is amidst his prime, and in return they are willing to "dangle" their third-best pitching prospect and a guy who projects to be a league-average outfielder? Where do I sign up?!
I really don't know what Santana could garner in a trade this offseason, but I know (at least I pray) that it is more than that. I'm not a believer that some team is going to give up four or five top prospects for one player (I had to roll my eyes yesterday when I heard a suggestion that the Dodgers would give up Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, Andy LaRoche AND Jonathan Meloan for Santana), but with the number of competitive teams out there that are direly in need of an ace, and with the fact that acquiring Santana would also entail exclusive bargaining rights for a full year to work on an extension, there will be a market for him. If the offers were really as underwhelming as the Yankees package suggested by Thesier, I'd probably be more supportive of keeping Santana for another year and taking the draft picks when he leaves as a free agent. What the Twins could get for Santana will really depend on how many teams are serious bidders.
Sportswriters around the nation seem to remain skeptical about the likelihood of a trade actually materializing. The Star Tribune's Joe Christensen said a few weeks that he thought there was a "1-in-5 chance" that the Twins trade Santana, and in a chat on ESPN.com yesterday Buster Olney gave the same odds, opining that there is a 2-in-10 chance the Twins trade their ace.
Nevertheless, Santana's future will be the most interesting offseason storyline in my mind. Let's just hope that future rumors that pop up are a little more enticing that the one referenced by Thesier.