Most of the news that’s been coming out of the Johan Santana sweepstakes has been mostly hogwash. The Yanks aren’t in, the Yanks are in, blah blah blah blah. What we do know is that there are three teams involved with the Minnesota Twins in the talks. They are the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and New York Yankees.
Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald examines the players that those three teams are offering the Twinkees.
Package: Pitcher Jon Lester, outfielder Coco Crisp, minor league infielder Jed Lowrie, minor league pitcher Justin Masterson
Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, Masterson, Lowrie, possible fourth prospect
What Twins want added: Pitcher Clay Buchholz; or Lester with Ellsbury
Skinny: Lester is a solid middle-of-the-rotation bet while Ellsbury has All-Star potential. Thereâ€™s a question of how much the Twins believe in Lowrie. Also, Twins question the lack of a majors-caliber pitcher in the Ellsbury deal.
Package: Pitcher Phil Hughes, outfielder Melky Cabrera, pitcher Jeff Marquez
What Twins want added: Pitcher Ian Kennedy
Skinny: Hughes is the top talent of any deal out there, but without (and maybe even with) Kennedy, the package is lightweight. Cabrera is nothing special.
Package: Minor league outfielder Carlos Gomez, and minor league pitchers Kevin Mulvey, Phil Humber and Deolis Guerra.
What Twins want added: Minor league outfielder Fernando Martinez
Skinny: Risky package, filled with blue-chippers, but way younger than the Yanksâ€™ and Red Soxâ€™ deals. Martinez might become an offensive stud, but heâ€™s not a sure bet.
In another article, Silverman talks with John Manuel and Jim Callis on who they think has the better offer.
Manuel prefers the Red Soxâ€™ offer topped by lefty Jon Lester and center fielder Coco Crisp because he thinks Lester can be a middle-of-the-rotation starter and that the other offer features the Sox selling â€œhighâ€ with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Each offer includes infielder Jed Lowrie and right-hander Justin Masterson.
Jim Callis, executive editor of Baseball America, said that even if the Yankees were to include right-hander Ian Kennedy in their offer or the Mets were to include hitting phenom Fernando Martinez, neither teamâ€™s package would be better than the Lester-Crisp package (Callisâ€™ first choice) or the Ellsbury (No. 2 for Callis) offer.
â€œThe Red Sox are in the best position to offer blue-chip players as well as depth,â€ Callis said. â€œAnd, the Red Sox are under less pressure to make something happen because they need Santana less because they have fewer holes.â€
I have always thought the Red Sox have had the best offer(s) out there on the table because Lester, Ellsbury and Crisp are MLB ready. The Mets deal would suit the Twins better if they were looking to get ahead down the line but there’s no guarantee that those players will ever make the big leagues.
Nick Cafardo from the Boston Globe was able to get some comments from Minnesota Twins general manager Bill Smith.
“There are enough rumors coming out of Boston and New York,” he said. “I don’t need to fuel any of them or comment on any of them.”
“Like I said, there’s no timetable on my part,” Smith said. “We’re just trying to do what’s best for the Minnesota Twins. We’re trying to do the right thing by our team for now and in the future.”
Personally, I think the three teams need to put a little pressure on the Twins to get a deal done. These three teams may still have needs that need to be filled before the start of spring training in a month or so and some of those holes getting filled may hinge on this deal.