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Thread: The Santana Sweepstakes

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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    The Santana Sweepstakes

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    The Johan Santana sweepstakes are about to begin writes Kat O'Brien. In a report earlier in the week, there was mention that the Twins had offered a five-year, $93 million deal, and that Santana might be looking for something in the Barry Zito range -- an inference to the seven-year, $126 million dollar deal that Zito got from San Francisco last winter. Heard from a well-placed source that the Twins' offer was four years and $80 million, and in fact, Barry Zito money is significantly less than what Santana may be looking for. In fact, Santana may open contract discussions for something in the range of six years and $150 million, beginning with the 2009 season (the left-hander is under contract for $13.25 million for next season). This will make it extraordinarily difficult for the Twins to trade the left-hander, because of the dynamics that are in play:
    • 1. Santana has a no-trade clause, which means that he can decline any deal unless the team making the swap for him agrees to give him what he wants -- and he is in position to ask for a deal that will redefine the ceiling of what pitchers are paid. Say that the Red Sox arranged for the framework of a trade with the Twins. Santana would use the no-trade clause as leverage to ask the Red Sox (or any other team) for the record-setting deal, and he would be in position to effectively name his price. He could say, Pay me what I want, or else I'll kill the deal and just wait for free agency. And remember how remarkable a salary of $25 million would be -- Santana would be the first pitcher ever to receive a multiyear deal worth at least $20 million, and his deal would go far beyond that, by about 25 percent. "Do you know how much it would cost to insure a deal like that?" an executive with another team asked rhetorically. 2. Because of Santana's apparent salary requirements, any team looking to trade for the left-hander would not only be asked to give up a boatload of prospects -- including at least one or two of their very best prospects -- but then also pay him a record-setting contract. If you are the Red Sox, should you be willing to trade Clay Buchholz and/or Jon Lester and/or Jacoby Ellsbury -- and then throw in a $150 million contract extension? Or would you rather just take your chances and wait to bid on Santana if he becomes available next fall? If you are the Yankees, should you offer Phil Hughes and others now and then give Santana the biggest pitcher contract ever, or should you wait? 3. Lest there be any doubt, there will be a team willing to give up prospects in a Santana deal. The Mets, for instance, might be very aggressive and agree to give up a package of players while knowing how much they might have to pay the left-hander. But then the Twins will have to ask themselves, before agreeing -- are we getting enough in return? Say the Mets offered outfielder Lastings Milledge and pitchers Mike Pelfrey, Phil Humber and Joe Smith. Billy Smith, Minnesota's new general manager, is in his first year, and if he trades Santana, the deal will go a long way toward shaping his legacy, and perhaps his future. A Santana deal would also go a long way toward determining the relationship between the Twins and their fan base in the immediate future -- a fan base that is paying for the ballpark being built for the Twins. Would a package of Milledge, Humber and Pelfrey be enough, when weighed against the backlash that Smith and the organization will feel if they trade the planet's best pitcher? Is any deal enough? Smith will have to ask himself: Would it be better to hang on to Santana for 2008 and hope that he and Francisco Liriano lead the Twins back into the pennant race next season? The Twins could always revisit trade talks next July, if the team is falling out of the race. Smith will have to ask himself this: Might it be better for the Twins, as an organization, to keep Santana through next year and then settle for two compensation draft picks when he leaves as a free agent? Because the cost to the organization, in fan-base goodwill and ticket-sale backlash, might be greater than the difference in the value of a Santana trade now and the value of two draft picks. The safer play for the Twins, in how they are perceived by Twins fans, might be to let Santana walk away on his own, rather than put him on a platter and hand him to the Yankees or the Red Sox or some big-market team.
    Given all the factors that have to be considered, it may be very hard for Smith to agree to a trade and for any interested team to finish the deal. We'll see. The Twins are determined to not let Santana go free, writes Joe Christensen -- meaning that a trade could be in order. Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury should be untouchables for the Red Sox in any Santana deal, writes Steve Buckley. The departure of Torii Hunter signals a move in the wrong direction, writes Tom Powers.
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  3. #2
    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: The Santana Sweepstakes

    Unlimited free agency just really isn't fair to all the franchises. There are some teams that just do not have a snowball's chance to sign the guy for financial reasons that are somewhat beyond their control. While I understand that the reserve clause favored the clubs for years, free agency as it currently stands is an unfair penance.

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    Boom Goes the Dynamite Screwball's Avatar
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    Re: The Santana Sweepstakes

    So I guess this means Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey/Johnny Cueto and Josh Hamilton. And then Castellini would have to OK 6 years at $25 mill per?

    Ain't gonna happen.
    Last edited by Screwball; 11-25-2007 at 11:02 PM.

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    Re: The Santana Sweepstakes

    Quote Originally Posted by traderumor View Post
    Unlimited free agency just really isn't fair to all the franchises. There are some teams that just do not have a snowball's chance to sign the guy for financial reasons that are somewhat beyond their control. While I understand that the reserve clause favored the clubs for years, free agency as it currently stands is an unfair penance.
    Actually, I don't think free agency is as much a problem for small market teams as arbitration has been. The stars are always going to get paid and deservedly so. The problem has been that agents have been successful in driving up the price of mediocre talent by using the contracts of the top players as a guideline. It used to be that small market teams got rid of players when they approached free agency. Now you have teams worried about guys becoming arbitration eligible. They're pressured to either trade the player or buy them out of arbitration.

    I think things would be better for everyone, well except for mediocre players, if arbitration was flat out dumped and players given free agency a few years earlier. It would put more players out on the market earlier and lead to a market-based valuation of talent instead of one based on an arbitrator's determination. I think it was maybe Bill Veeck who proposed making all players free agents at the end of the season. He was thinking it would keep down salaries by flooding the market. I think it would be too chaotic, with teams spending way too much time negotiating new contracts. However, I think exchanging arbitration for earlier free agency might result in more players on the market and more opportunities for bargain hunting for small market clubs.

    If MLB engaged in an equitable system of revenue sharing and got rid of arbitration, I think it would make for a much fairer system all around.
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    Re: The Santana Sweepstakes

    I really doubt Santana gets 6/150.

    Also, I will say again that despite all this speculation, I think he ends up staying a Twin. I know their organization is cheap, but they have one of the richest (if not THE richest) owners in the game and I think for once, he'll pony up.

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    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: The Santana Sweepstakes

    Quote Originally Posted by fearofpopvol1 View Post
    I really doubt Santana gets 6/150.
    I'll see that, and raise you a "Shocked if he doesn't."

    Sub 3.00 ERA in 3 of the last 4 seasons. Strikes out roughly a batter-per inning, incredibly stingy with the walks.

    Guys like him just don't hit free agency anymore. If he hits the market, he'll get the deal -- if for no other reason than he'll get both halves of Manhattan bidding against one another.
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    Re: The Santana Sweepstakes

    No one is gonna give up that kind of talent for him when they can just wait and sign him as a FA. The twins are gonna have to sign him or lose him at this point. The third option may be to deal him for a much lesser package so it makes sense for that team to give up a little to have that ability to sign him sooner.
    Last edited by Mario-Rijo; 11-26-2007 at 12:53 AM.
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    Re: The Santana Sweepstakes

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    I'll see that, and raise you a "Shocked if he doesn't."

    Sub 3.00 ERA in 3 of the last 4 seasons. Strikes out roughly a batter-per inning, incredibly stingy with the walks.

    Guys like him just don't hit free agency anymore. If he hits the market, he'll get the deal -- if for no other reason than he'll get both halves of Manhattan bidding against one another.
    The numbers are phenomenal, I'm not denying that. I just don't think he'll get that kind of money. I still say he stays a twin and gets less than that. We'll see though.

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    Re: The Santana Sweepstakes

    Quote Originally Posted by fearofpopvol1 View Post
    I really doubt Santana gets 6/150.

    Also, I will say again that despite all this speculation, I think he ends up staying a Twin. I know their organization is cheap, but they have one of the richest (if not THE richest) owners in the game and I think for once, he'll pony up.
    There cheap ? Santana is making 13.5 mill this year that isn't cheap.
    As for not Paying Tori Hunter now that was a wise business decision. I think the Twins pay when the player is reasonable and is worth the investment. So I disagree with the Twins are cheap theory.
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    Re: The Santana Sweepstakes

    Quote Originally Posted by Topcat View Post
    There cheap ? Santana is making 13.5 mill this year that isn't cheap.
    As for not Paying Tori Hunter now that was a wise business decision. I think the Twins pay when the player is reasonable and is worth the investment. So I disagree with the Twins are cheap theory.
    Yes, they are cheap. $13.5 million for Santana, when the contract was signed was fair. But it is currently under market value. To put it in perspective, the Twins spent not even $2 million more on payroll than the Reds in 2007. They have an extremely wealthy owner (richer than Steinbrenner) and they have been very notorious for not resigning players when they get expensive and further, not taking on any salary risk even when they've been in the thick of things. That's probably why they have not gotten over the hump. So yes, they are cheap (or their owner is cheap).

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: The Santana Sweepstakes

    Quote Originally Posted by fearofpopvol1 View Post
    Yes, they are cheap. $13.5 million for Santana, when the contract was signed was fair. But it is currently under market value. To put it in perspective, the Twins spent not even $2 million more on payroll than the Reds in 2007. They have an extremely wealthy owner (richer than Steinbrenner) and they have been very notorious for not resigning players when they get expensive and further, not taking on any salary risk even when they've been in the thick of things. That's probably why they have not gotten over the hump. So yes, they are cheap (or their owner is cheap).
    Every time I see something like this I can't stop shaking my head. The owner's personal fortune shouldn't have much to do with it. Steinbrenner is using revenue generated by the business known as the New York Yankees to finance his payroll and spending. It is money that the Yankees earned through local media contracts, attendance and other Yankee generated revenue. To expect an owner that does not generate that type of revenue to continuously subsidize the operation is completely unrealistic. We're talking about disparities of over $100 Million year after year. Even the richest of owners can't make up that difference on a routine basis without becoming much less rich and it is not cheap to expect the business to be self sufficient. I do acknowledge that the owner could occasionally subsidize the operation for franchise altering moves (and possibly Santana qualifies) on the basis of associated franchise appreciation making up the difference when the franchise is sold. Ususally these types of investments are more permanent in nature than a player contract might be, but there are rare occasions where investing in a player could be justified.

    In the case of Santana, I'm not sure. If the team could get a couple of young impact guys to fix the offense and restock the pitching pipeline, I'd deal him. Realistically, the Twins and have a ton of holes to fill and Santana is a luxury. They have a pretty decent core of pitching to be able to put a reliable, but less dominant, rotation in place without him. Its the rest of that team that keeps them from winning. If I were a team buying, I wouldn't give up that much for him knowing I'd have to pony up so much money or lose him after a year.
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    Re: The Santana Sweepstakes

    George has spent plenty of his own money on the Yankees throughout the years. They haven't always been worth a billion dollars. He spent money to make money and it worked out.

    Spending 25-30 million on a pitcher is senseless IMO.
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    Member red-in-la's Avatar
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    Re: The Santana Sweepstakes

    Put it in perspective......

    The Reds, a small market team if there ever was one, paid 108 million to a stud outfielder.....

    Why is it senseless to pay 150 million, 8 years later, to a stud pitcher?
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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: The Santana Sweepstakes

    Quote Originally Posted by Jpup View Post
    George has spent plenty of his own money on the Yankees throughout the years. They haven't always been worth a billion dollars. He spent money to make money and it worked out.

    Spending 25-30 million on a pitcher is senseless IMO.
    They haven't always been worth a billion dollars, but he was making in excess of $50 Million in local TV and radio rights when the Reds were struggling to sell the TV rights for $500K. I don't know about his early years when the dollars were a lot smaller, but he's used Yankee generated money.

    He did invest money to make money by buying the Yankees in the first place. I guess you could argue that the money that the Yankees generated is his money and he could have kept it rather than putting it back into the team. He gets criticized a lot for spending, but if he kept all that money as profit, he'd be getting even more criticism.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

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    Re: The Santana Sweepstakes

    Quote Originally Posted by red-in-la View Post
    Put it in perspective......

    The Reds, a small market team if there ever was one, paid 108 million to a stud outfielder.....

    Why is it senseless to pay 150 million, 8 years later, to a stud pitcher?
    1. Jr. is an everyday player.

    2. The contract was for a much longer time frame.

    3. I believe those assets could be better spent considering Minnesota has some young guys to fill the void. I do realize Santana is probably the best pitcher in baseball, but the Twins aren't pitching starved.

    4. I don't believe spending 20+ million on Santana is going to give a good return on the investment. He isn't going to draw fans if the rest of the team isn't performing. Minnesota fans, much like Reds fans, are not going to come to the park unless they are winning. Of course, the new ballpark up there will help.
    "My mission is to be the ray of hope, the guy who stands out there on that beautiful field and owns up to his mistakes and lets people know it's never completely hopeless, no matter how bad it seems at the time. I have a platform and a message, and now I go to bed at night, sober and happy, praying I can be a good messenger." -Josh Hamilton


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