KANSAS CITY — Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore on Wednesday did not deny that his team is very close to completing a trade for Minnesota Twins ace Johan Santana.
“That’s a ridiculous question,” he said, when asked why his team just didn’t go out and trade for Santana.
Santana won Cy Young Awards in 2004 and 2006 and is widely regarded as the best pitcher in the game. His presence in the Royals rotation would give them their first true ace since Kevin Appier in the 1990s. it is widely believed among baseball sources that if the Royals had a rotation featuring Johan Santana, Gil Meche, Brian Bannister and Zack Greinke, they would be better than they have been the last few years.
Over the last few weeks, several teams — in particular the New York Yankees, Mets and Boston Red Sox — have been rumored to be close to acquiring Santana, so it would be quite a coup for the “small-market” Royals to beat them to the bunch. As one scout who would prefer to remain anonymous said on Tuesday when first told about this potential Santana-to-the-Royals trade, “Are you drinking and taking medication at the same time?”
Santana would be a very likely candidate to break a few somewhat disheartening trends for Royals starters:
1. The Royals have not had an 18-game winner in 15 years. Santana has won more than 18 twice.
2. The Royals have not had a pitcher strike out 160 batters in a season since 1997. Santana has struck out more than 200 batters each of the last four seasons.
3. He would not suck, as many Royals starters have over the last decade-plus.
Commissioner Bud Selig was not available for comment about this potential trade, but two days earlier, when speaking to the St. Louis Baseball Writers Dinner, he did say that competitive balance in baseball was at an all-time high and that he expected the game to only get more balanced. This would prove that point, wouldn’t it? Selig also announced publicly, without any prodding at all, that baseball is popular.