After long winter, Omar Minaya finally bowls over Twins

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After long winter, Omar Minaya finally bowls over Twins

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:41 am

Mike Lupica -After long winter, Omar Minaya finally bowls over Twins

Wednesday, January 30th 2008, 4:00 AM

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/mets/2008/01/30/2008-01-30_after_long_winter_omar_minaya_finally_bo-1.html?page=0


This is one deal the Mets have to close. It has to be the opposite, then, of the deal they couldn't close with the Phillies, in September.

The Mets don't make up for September, for blowing that lead against the Phillies with 17 games to play, if they get Johan Santana. And right now the deal for Santana, in the words of an old Hollywood producer named Robert Evans, is hardly "set set." But the Mets are close enough that baseball became the story in a football time yesterday, in the week of a Giants Super Bowl.

The Mets finally showed up for the baseball winter, beat the Yankees and the Red Sox to Santana, did something you would have thought impossible a few days ago, which means knock the Giants off the back page.

If they do close the deal on Santana - if they hold to the idea of giving Santana only five years after this one, the last of his current Twins contract, it is going to cost between $110 million and $120 million in the end - it is the best day for the Mets and their fans since they were seven up on the Phillies.

The Yankees need an ace, too, but were unwilling to part with Phil Hughes in the end. The Mets needed an ace more. The Mets needed to do something, and now they are on the verge of that if they can get this thing done with Santana and his agents by Friday.

This was one of those days yesterday, even if it was media day for the Super Bowl out in Arizona. This was one of those days that reminded you of the great Jimmy Cannon line when he would hear guys discussing football in the press box in September.

"Baseball, gentlemen," Cannon would stand up and say. "Baseball."

It was baseball season yesterday when word began to get around that the first part of this was done, that the Twins had agreed to a package of Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey, Deolis Guerra. Losing these four, as much as I like Gomez's talent, is unlikely to sink the franchise. It was one thing for Brian Cashman to hold his ground on Hughes, because the Yankees gave up on kids such as Hughes for much too long. Hughes should have been a deal-breaker. Gomez, Humber, Mulvey, Guerra are not.

Not for Santana.

We will see, if and when Santana gets here, if he can be the kind of ace that somebody like Josh Beckett - the single most valuable pitcher in the sport - has been for the Red Sox. But Santana is younger than Pedro Martinez was when the Mets signed Pedro away from the Red Sox. At the time it was the most important acquisition, in terms of talent and star power, the Mets had made in such a long time. Now, if the Mets can get this done - and they have to - here comes Santana. If he isn't the best pitcher in baseball, or the second coming of Sandy Koufax, he is close enough.

(Page 2 of 2)

This would have been a spectacular move for the Mets in any baseball winter. The Red Sox were looking to make this play even after having won their second World Series in four years, having swept the Rockies in four games. Yankee fans were in despair at the thought of Santana joining Beckett and Curt Schilling at the top of Boston's rotation, and an awful lot of them wanted Cashman to give up Hughes to keep that from happening.

Now the Mets have stepped in, less than a month before pitchers and catchers, to go for this pitcher. The reports are that Santana is looking for six years. The Mets don't want to go past five, even though they are willing to make Santana the best-paid pitcher in the game, and by plenty.

The Cubs love Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano isn't Santana, but he is a big young guy with wonderful stuff and is two years younger than Santana, who turns 29 in March. Zambrano is one of their own at Wrigley, and they stepped up with him and paid him $91.5 million and change for five years.

Barry Zito got seven years out of the Giants, and that will turn out to be a lousy deal for San Francisco, and Zito isn't close to being in Santana's class as a baseball pitcher, lefthanded or otherwise. Even five years is a lot for a starting pitcher. Oh, sure. Go back through free-agent history and find out how many teams looked smart signing pitchers for more than four or five years.

Mike Mussina is one of the great free-agent pitching buys in history because he lasted. The Yankees signed him for six years and very big change, and at the end of those years Mussina was still a good enough pitcher that they signed him up again. And Mussina was old when they did it. Santana is not.

Santana can't go back to Minnesota now. The Yankees and Red Sox are out of this. Maybe Santana will hang tough on six years, but I doubt it if the money is right. If the Mets lock him in by Friday, they have come in at the very end and won the baseball winter in New York. And didn't have to give up Jose Reyes to do that.

Again, this is no sure thing. Are you kidding? We thought the NL East was a sure thing when the Mets were seven games up. But if this is a deal the Mets can close, pitchers and catchers start just a few days before the Super Bowl this year.

Pitcher and catchers, actually.

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Re: After long winter, Omar Minaya finally bowls over Twins

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:48 am

2007 Payroll Efficiency
By Rich Lederer




http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2008/01/payroll_efficie.php

On the heels of the commissioner's office disclosing the final 2007 payrolls for the 30 major league clubs, I thought it might be instructive to analyze payroll efficiency by comparing team salaries to wins.

The payrolls shown below are for 40-man rosters and include salaries and prorated shares of signing bonuses, earned incentive bonuses, non-cash compensation, buyouts of unexercised options and cash transactions. In some cases, parts of salaries that are deferred are discounted to reflect present-day values.

The following table, ranked by club payroll (in millions of dollars), also includes team wins.

Team Wins $ Pay
NYY 94 218.3
BOS 96 155.4
LAD 82 125.6
NYM 88 120.9
CHC 85 115.9
SEA 88 114.4
LAA 94 111.0
PHI 89 101.8
SF 71 101.5
CWS 72 100.2
STL 78 99.3
DET 88 98.5
HOU 73 97.2
BAL 69 95.3
TOR 83 95.1
ATL 84 92.6
TEX 75 78.9
OAK 76 78.5
CIN 72 73.1
MIL 83 72.8
MIN 79 71.9
CLE 96 71.9
ARI 90 70.4
SD 89 67.5
KC 69 62.3
COL 90 61.3
PIT 68 51.4
WAS 73 43.4
FLA 71 33.1
TB 66 31.8

The 2007 total payroll was $2,711,274,581 or approximately $90.4 million per team. The median was slightly higher than the mean. While the New York Yankees' record payroll of $218.3M added about $4.5M to the average, the teams below the median exerted an even greater impact on the mean than those above the mid-point. To put the payroll dollars in perspective, please note that MLB reported $6.075 billion in total revenues last season, or just north of $200M per team.

The information presented in the above table can be displayed in a graphic format, as shown below.

2007%20Payroll%20Efficiency%20Verdana%20JPEG.jpg

Based on this graph, we can categorize teams by the four quadrants as well as by the trendline. Starting in the upper-right end of the graph and moving clockwise, the northeast quadrant includes teams that won more games than average with a higher-than-average payroll. The southeast quadrant depicts clubs that won more games than average with a lower-than-average payroll. The southwest quadrant includes teams that won fewer games than average with a below-average payroll. The northwest quadrant lists teams that won fewer games than average with a higher-than-average payroll.

The red trendline indicates the positive correlation of team payroll and wins. The correlation coefficient works out to 0.5328. Teams above the line were less efficient and teams below the line were more efficient in terms of getting the most bang for their buck (as measured by payroll and wins).

Due to the fact that it's the goal of all teams to win the World Series, I'm going to excuse Boston from any list of inefficient clubs. Yes, the Red Sox paid up for their success, but it's hard to argue with the fact that they won it all. While Boston may not have been the most efficient in terms of regular-season wins vs. payroll, John Henry, Theo Epstein & Co. were clearly the most efficient in terms of winning World Championships especially in view of the competition within the division.

Aside from the Red Sox, which teams were the most and least efficient last year?

There were five clubs that won more than 81 games with payrolls under the average of $90.4M. The best of the best was Cleveland, followed by Colorado, Arizona, San Diego, and Milwaukee. To their credit, the Indians, Rockies, and Diamondbacks all made the playoffs with COL advancing to the World Series. Congratulations to Mark Shapiro, Dan O'Dowd, and Josh Byrnes for doing the most with the least. Honorable mention goes to Kevin Towers and Doug Melvin.

The Los Angeles Angels, Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers, and Atlanta Braves also deserve praise for their payroll efficiency. The Angels and Phillies won division titles before falling in their respective League Championship Series. In the meantime, the Minnesota Twins, Washington Nationals, Florida Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Tampa Bay Rays should share the award for "doing the best while pinching pennies."

The clubs in the northeast quadrant and above the trendline had mixed results. All of these teams won more than their share of games, but they did so at a cost. In the case of the Yankees, George Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman & Co. did it at a huge cost. Two-hundred-and-eighteen-million dollars huge. New York's payroll was roughly $63 million higher than the No. 2 team (Boston), $128 million above the mean, and more than $186 million or nearly seven times above the lowest payroll (Tampa Bay). The Yankees made the playoffs so it wasn't a total loss. The Chicago Cubs won the NL Central and were the only other team in this group that at least got something in return for their large commitment to player payroll.

Moving to the least efficient teams, Baltimore, San Francisco, Chicago White Sox, and Houston failed miserably in their quest to buy a division title, much less a league or world championship. Mike Flanagan and Jim Duquette (Orioles), Brian Sabean (Giants), Kenny Williams (White Sox), and Tim Purpura (Astros) get the booby-prize award for (mis)managing payroll efficiency. Purpura was fired after the season and was replaced by current GM Ed Wade.

For more information on this subject, be sure to visit the Business of Baseball to check out Maury Brown's article By the Numbers: 2007 Player Payroll for the 30 MLB Clubs. Brown breaks down the data in even more detail, listing teams with the largest increases and decreases in player payroll from Opening Day while ranking playoff teams by cost per marginal win, a concept developed by the late Doug Pappas. In addition, Brown has recently published Unusual MLB Contract Clauses and Salary Arbitration.

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Re: After long winter, Omar Minaya finally bowls over Twins

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:49 am

Comments

This is a very important tool for measuring the overall competence of a team's front office.

Posted by: Al Doyle at January 29, 2008 11:46 AM

"The median was slightly higher due to the fact that average was skewed by the New York Yankees' record payroll of $218.3M.

Outliers don't skew the median, they skew the mean. If anything it seems like it's the PIT, WAS, FLA, TB teams at the bottom (all ~.5 or less of the mean) that are skewing the mean more than NY (the only team that's at 2x the mean).

Posted by: Nathan Y. at January 29, 2008 12:09 PM

The median was slightly higher [than the average] due to the fact that average was skewed by the New York Yankees' record payroll of $218.3M.

I don't understand this. The Yankees skewed the average upward but not by that much. If they had cut their payroll to the Red Sox level, the MLB average would have dropped by about $2 million but the median wouldn't have changed at all.

Posted by: rfs1962 at January 29, 2008 12:21 PM

I realize that "ouliers don't skew the median" and, in fact, said the *average* (or mean) was skewed by the Yankees, not the median. That is a true statement. However, given the fact that the median is above the mean, your point is well taken that the teams below the median are negatively impacting the mean more than those above the median.

I have changed the language in that sentence to set the record straight. Thanks.

Posted by: Rich Lederer at January 29, 2008 12:27 PM

Rich,

When measuring the payroll efficiency in MLB wouldn't an objective study note that there is NO SALARY CAP. Therefore, Steinbrenner/Cashman & Company are PLAYING "BUY" THE RULES!!!!

Regards,

Hank & Hal

Posted by: FRANCHISE at January 29, 2008 12:39 PM

Excusing the Red Sox is a little too results-oriented for my liking. Sure they won it, but what share of the odds did they have at winning it? I'm tempted to suggest a graph of payroll versus run differential to give a better idea of who had the best chance at winning it all... but I've read that Arizona actually did deserve some of their supposed "luck" in wildly outperforming their expectation there.

Someone on the Hardball Times, I think David Gassko, did a nice writeup of the increasing value of wins over 81, and their decreasing value at some point (for example, if you have a 115-win team, is it really worth $30 million to sign Santana for a season, or do you just stand pat?). That might be the very bestest method to analyze payroll compared to expected return.

Also, I'm torn on flipping the y-axis to go from $250 "up" to $0, as that would make "up and to the right" data points the best ones, as we're used to seeing :-) Anyways very cool, I'm not being picky but am just thinking outloud.

Posted by: Mike at January 29, 2008 4:47 PM

Rich,
Do these numbers include what the Red Sox paid to negotiate with Dice K in a yearly rate added onto his contract? While I doubt they do, it certainly should as that money went to player payroll.

Posted by: Doug Gray at January 29, 2008 6:57 PM

Mike,
I had totally the opposite reaction you did. When I started reading the article, I thought this is good stuff, but the point of the whole deal is to hold the trophy at the end then the article had this:

"Due to the fact that it's the goal of all teams to win the World Series, I'm going to excuse Boston from any list of inefficient clubs. Yes, the Red Sox paid up for their success, but it's hard to argue with the fact that they won it all. While Boston may not have been the most efficient in terms of regular-season wins vs. payroll, John Henry, Theo Epstein & Co. were clearly the most efficient in terms of winning World Championships especially in view of the competition within the division."

And I thought, fair enough. Sure they spent alot, but they give themselves a chance of winning it all every year, and as a fan I can't ask for more then that.

Posted by: Hugh Jorgan at January 29, 2008 7:36 PM

God, I love this website.

Also, I really like Rob Neyer's suggestion of a multiple season format to assess a franchise's efficiency over time.

Thanks

Posted by: John-Cleveland at January 29, 2008 8:37 PM

Purpura was actually fired in August. The Astros' season was over at that time but they did play the rest of the schedule as required by the league.

Posted by: rfs1962 at January 29, 2008 9:14 PM

Yea, the Red Sox payroll doesn't include the $50 million to negotiate with Dice-K, but it should. Their payroll wouldn't look like such a 'bargain' in that case.

Posted by: mlb0887 at January 30, 2008 1:51 AM
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Re: After long winter, Omar Minaya finally bowls over Twins

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:50 am

Wins vs. salaries
posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: MLB


http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=neyer_rob

With the release of the final 2007 payroll, Rich Lederer "thought it might be instructive to analyze payroll efficiency by comparing team salaries to wins."

To that end, Lederer graphs payroll vs. wins, which really is the best way to look at the numbers.

I'm optimistic about the Dodgers' chances this year, but a quick look at the graph shows just how poorly they fared last year, compared to their rivals. The Dodgers did finish with a winning record, but they also finished well behind everybody else despite spending substantially more money. Of course, that's the terrible impact of contracts like this: You're spending money and losing games.

Anyway, the graph is a lot of fun, but I do have a suggestion: I'd like to see the format adapted to show multiple seasons, as that would give us a better idea of the franchises' general competence over a period of years.

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Re: After long winter, Omar Minaya finally bowls over Twins

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:51 am

Keith Law Santana makes Mets an NL favorite

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=law_keith

The Mets get Johan Santana without giving up Fernando Martinez, their best prospect, or Mike Pelfrey, their best young pitcher. They also immediately make themselves the favorites to win their division and have a good argument that they're the best team in the National League. It's hard to see this deal as anything other than a win for New York, and given how many people claimed (erroneously) that the Mets didn't have the prospects to get Santana, it must be doubly sweet for Omar Minaya right now.

For the Twins, or at least for their fans, this has to feel like a huge letdown after a winter that saw names like Jacoby Ellsbury and Phil Hughes bandied about by the media, although whether those players were actually available in trade talks is another matter entirely. The Twins deal their best asset and the best pitcher in franchise history -- not to mention the greatest Rule 5 pick in the history of that draft -- for quantity, but not the type of quality you expect a pitcher of his caliber to fetch in return.

In Santana, the Mets get one of the game's best pitchers, a two-time Cy Young Award winner who has to be the early favorite for the NL Cy right away, given his track record and the run and defensive support he'll get in New York. It's a five-win upgrade at worst, more if you consider the sixth- and seventh-starter types the Mets might have had to employ this year had they not made this deal. But the addition of Santana does two things for the Mets above and beyond the direct value he provides with his pitching. One, he'll give the Mets 50-75 more innings than they would have gotten from the starter he replaces in the rotation; he takes pressure off their bullpen and allows Willie Randolph to give his best relievers more rest, which he wasn't able to do last August and September. Two, he pushes everyone in the rotation back into a more suitable spot. Pelfrey now has to "win" a starting role in spring training, which, given the work he still needs to do, is not a bad situation. Oliver Perez and John Maine won't line up quite as often against opposing No. 1 and 2 starters.

Santana is not without his red flags; he stumbled to the finish in 2007 and in the past has had elbow chips, a problem that tends to recur. He's become more flyball-oriented recently, leading to a big spike in his home run rate this year; the acquisition could encourage the Citi Field architects to push the fences back a few feet. And the days of him shouldering 230-240 innings a year may be behind him, although facing the pitcher two or three times a game may help him recover some of the lost workload.

The Twins' package includes two raw prospects with high ceilings and two near-in, low-upside arms. Carlos Gomez is a plus-plus runner, has a quick bat and makes a lot of contact with a wrist-heavy swing, but doesn't project to hit for power now because he doesn't use his lower half to get more power into his swing. He's an excellent defender in center with a plus arm -- imagine a Coco Crisp who could throw the ball to the catcher without 15 hops -- which may encourage the Twins to use him in the majors right now, even though his bat's not ready.

Deolis Guerra is almost all youth and projection at this point, with his one major current skill an above-average changeup. His velocity is fringe-average and wildly inconsistent within outings, so the optimistic projection is that he'll eventually sit 92+, but there's also a good chance that he settles in where he is now. His curve has some depth, but like his velocity is inconsistent, and his feel for the pitch is particularly poor. He has a great pitcher's frame, 6-foot-5 with very broad shoulders and lots of room to fill out, and the fact that he has an advanced secondary pitch bodes well for him improving his command and feel with experience. But the bottom line is that he's 18 years old, so in the best-case scenario, he'll be contributing in the majors in three or four years, and that's if he doesn't get hurt or hit a snag in his development.

The other two arms are major-league ready or close to it, but have limited upside. Philip Humber's curveball was once a big-league out pitch, but since Tommy John surgery, it hasn't been as tight and he hasn't commanded it as well, leaving him more reliant on his average fastball to get hitters out. He has good control and an average third pitch in his changeup, but his days of upside as a No. 2 starter are gone. Kevin Mulvey also has a three-pitch repertoire but lacks any kind of out pitch, making up for it with good command and a willingness to mix his pitches up to get hitters out. Humber has a chance to break out of the 4/5 pitcher group in Minnesota, which also includes Glen Perkins and Kevin Slowey, while Mulvey just gives them another cheap option if one of those guys isn't ready in April.

In the abstract, it's hard to accept dealing your marquee player and top trading asset without getting your partner's top young player in return, and that's what the Twins did. They did get back significant economic value in four young players, each of whom has under one year of big-league service and two of whom aren't even on the Mets' 40-man roster yet, so the Twins will have each of them under control for six full years of service. That return in exchange for just one year of Santana's services is reasonable. But premium players should fetch premium prices, because there's value to a club in having so much production coming from a single roster spot. And in this case, Minnesota GM Bill Smith did not get a premium prospect in return.

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Re: After long winter, Omar Minaya finally bowls over Twins

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:55 am

Betances = Guerra

Mulvey = Horne

Humber = Kennedy

Gomez = Melky or Austin Jackson

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Re: After long winter, Omar Minaya finally bowls over Twins

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:59 am

The Yankees passed on Kennedy, Cabrera, and prospect for Santana

http://www.northjersey.com/sports/mets/14896371.html


This was late Monday night, about 12 hours before the Mets would pounce upon their most dramatic trade in recent history. Twins' general manager Bill Smith, in a panic to move Johan Santana, called the Yankees and admitted surrender: Phil Hughes was no longer a prerequisite, he said. Instead, the Twins asked for Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera and a top prospect. Would the Yankees still be interested, Smith wondered?
The Yankees considered the idea, but only briefly and not seriously. Their passion for Santana started waning as far back as December, when Andy Pettitte announced he was returning to the Bronx. The Yankees' internal straw vote was unanimous: The Twins had waited too long






LF Damon
SS Jeter
RF Abreu
3B A-Rod
DH Matsui
C Posada
2B Cano
1B Giambi/Duncan
CF Gardner

and a rotation of

Santana
Wang
Pettitte
Hughes
Chamberlain

We woulda won 2 out of the next 3 WS with that team.

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Re: After long winter, Omar Minaya finally bowls over Twins

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:02 am

Yankees played a big hand in allowing the Mets to complete a trade for Johan Santana
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Bob Klapisch


http://www.northjersey.com/sports/mets/14896371.html

This was late Monday night, about 12 hours before the Mets would pounce upon their most dramatic trade in recent history. Twins' general manager Bill Smith, in a panic to move Johan Santana, called the Yankees and admitted surrender: Phil Hughes was no longer a prerequisite, he said. Instead, the Twins asked for Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera and a top prospect. Would the Yankees still be interested, Smith wondered?

The Yankees considered the idea, but only briefly and not seriously. Their passion for Santana started waning as far back as December, when Andy Pettitte announced he was returning to the Bronx. The Yankees' internal straw vote was unanimous: The Twins had waited too long. On Tuesday Yankees' GM Brian Cashman told Smith he was passing on the deal, prompting the Twins to call the Red Sox. Equally devastating news awaited. Both Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester were unavailable.

The Red Sox, in lock step with the Yankees, had essentially backed out, too.

That left the Mets, who after hearing from Smith didn't allow themselves to be bluffed. GM Omar Minaya held firm, insisting the Twins would have to live without Fernando Martinez. As a result -- and thanks to the Twins' grim realization that they were without options -- the Mets made off with a heist of mammoth proportions. They inherit the major league's best left-handed pitcher, one who's a lock to dominate National League hitters, without giving up a can't-miss prospect.

It almost seems too good to be true: a two-time Cy Young Award winner for center fielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra. The surge through the organization Tuesday afternoon was unmistakable. Even though the Wilpon family will have to write an astronomical check to Santana, the Mets satisfied their most pressing need, which was to counter the effects of last September's history-making collapse.

What will that be worth to the Mets? "No less than Zito," is what one major league official speculated, referring to the seven-year, $126 million contract Barry Zito extracted from the Giants last year. It could be even more costly than that since Santana will asking for upward of $140 million. One person familiar with the Mets' thinking believes it will take "all 72 hours" of the three-day window to come to terms with the left-hander, although no one doubts a settlement will be reached.

Really, how could the Mets refuse? Santana is a young Pedro Martinez well, maybe not that good, but he's young (he'll be 29 in March) and will be the opening-day pitcher, capable of restoring the Mets' sense of invincibility every fifth day. If Pedro stays healthy, the 1-2 punch should be powerful enough to offset the psychological advantage the Phillies gained after surging past them in the final 17 games of last year's regular season.

Actually, it was a perfect storm of good fortune for the Mets. Not only did they exploit Smith's weakened bargaining position, but they benefited from the Yankees and Red Sox' synchronized caution. Talk about long shots. Who would've thought the AL East's two powerhouses would become so rational at the same time? Major league executives say Smith will rue the day he chose not to jump on the Yankees' offer of Hughes, Cabrera, Class AA right-hander Jeff Marquez and a prospect of their choosing. That was Dec. 2 and all Smith had to do was say yes.

Incredibly, he waffled. Within 24 hours, Pettitte told the Yankees he intended to pitch again in 2008, prompting the team to reconsider the deal for Santana. Suddenly, Hank Steinbrenner started listening to his brother Hal and Cashman, both of whom pleaded their case for financial restraint. Little by little, Hank Steinbrenner's craving for Santana diminished; the longer Smith held out, trying to leverage the Yankees and Red Sox against each other, the closer he came to dooming the best deal he could've made for Santana.

The Yankees further distanced themselves from Santana when free agent Mike Cameron signed with the Brewers, which meant they'd be stuck for a center fielder had they shipped Cabrera to Minnesota. By early January Hank Steinbrenner officially had taken the Yankees off the Twins' radar. One person familiar with the Yankees' decision-making process said "[a four-for-one, Hughes-included deal for Santana] just stopped making sense. If it'd been just the money, or just the players, maybe. But not both."

Indeed, one talent evaluator said that of all the combinations made available to the Twins, Tuesday's swap was the fourth or fifth best. Smith undoubtedly will tell the Twins' fan base that this was the best he could've done under the circumstances. It was either accept the Mets' swap on their terms, or lose Santana to free agency after this season.

But Smith could've and should've waited longer. One key injury in spring training, and any of Santana's suitors would've come begging. But the rookie GM feared Santana wouldn't waive his no-trade clause after spring training began; Smith lost his nerve, just as he didn't have the professional intuition to deal for Hughes when he could have.

Of course, there are caveats all around: The Mets have cleaned out their farm system, which means they had better get an immediate return on their investment from Santana. He had better be healthy, too; that's no small consideration for a pitcher who allowed 33 home runs in 2007 and lost 3-4 miles off his fastball in his last seven starts.

And Cashman had better be right about his loyalty to Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Kennedy. Steinbrenner already has put his GM on notice that he has no intention of playing for the wild card. Santana could've changed that equation, but for now, the Yankees are content to let the Mets celebrate. And rightfully so.

Can you imagine that change-up in the National League? Talk about an unfair fight.

E-mail: klapisch@northjersey.com

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Re: After long winter, Omar Minaya finally bowls over Twins

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:10 am

Kfan, im glad the yankees didnt raise their offer. The twins took a lesser offer from the mets..

No playoffs for you!!!

gsnoop, rivera and posada probably could have gotten the same more on the open market this past season, but chose to stay with the yankees, and im sure players like jeter would have done the same.

Sure, the yankees payroll would come down with a cap, but a better chance to win would lure them away from teams like the twins, plus you wouldn't stop all the owners from being cheap or making dumb trade

this trade would have never happened with a cap in place...so yes you would stop the owners from making dumb trades

and who says being at the yankees gives you a better chance to win if the field is level....thats what the sport needs to move towards...the more level it is everyone has a chance starting the season off

everyone keeps saying "had a better offer from yankees and took mets.....

those offers were not on the table at the same time...the yankee offer was no longer ther

my understanding was it wasn't on the table anymore..if it was-

maybe the twins are doing what all teams should do and not deal with the yankees and let them over pay for marquee players


A couple days ago hank steinbrenner said there was "a little talk" but he also said he would do the cabrerra-hughes-and prospect deal but the offer wasnt going to get any better, the twins wanted ian kennedy too

One thing about Johan that I noticed this year especially when facing other Central division teams is that when their batters were patient he struggled and ended up throwing 70+ pitches by the 6th inning. If the National league catches on he may not be as dominating as everyone thinks he will be.

Also I remember reading an interview with Jack Morris on Johan. Morris said part of Johan's problem is that he wants to be known as a strikeout pitcher and takes pride in keading the majors in strike outs. The problem is, Morris said is that he doesn't always go with his best pitch. He relaid this info to Santana and his next outing he pitched a complete game shut out I believe but then went back to his old routine.


well then i suspect that the twins figured either way the other team was getting the better deal but why let it be the yankees....

and every team should just boycott trade talks with the yankees


The Phillies will still win the NL East again. The Mets can't hang with the Phillies bats and the Phillies took decent strides to improve themselves as well. There will be hype for the media favorite Mets (Just like Notre Dame, Dallas Cowboys and the Celtics). But the Phillies are young, strong and improving. Mets will be playing for the wild-card.

Twilli, you can't really blame Twins GM Bill Smith for holding out. He tried to play the Sox against the Yankees and in the end it just didn't work out. Smith was in a tough situation. Yes he should have gotten more for a two time Cy Young winning pitcher but it didn't happen. I wouldn't of taken the initial Yankee offer either. Who knows, in five years it could turn out that the Twins got the better end of the deal? It must suck though for Yankee fans to know that Santana is now a Met.

The Twins knew they weren't going to sign Santana and probably should have dealt him before last years trade deadline. They probably could have gotten a better deal back then. Coming into the off season every one knew the Twins weren't going to resign him so why would anyone give the Twins what a team normally would for a pitcher such as Santana. So I do agree the Twins management did screw up the way they handled the Santana situation along with Hunter, who they could have signed for 65-75 million after 2006.

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