Saturday, December 15, 2007

Santana trade or no-trade will benefit Twins

By Bullpen Catcher

Reports today say the Yankees are back in on talks for lefty Johan Santana. Is this really news? Steinbrenner Jr. gave the media an ultimatum for the Twins during the Winter Meetings, but who in their right mind really thought the deadline was anything but grandstanding?

My guess all along has been that Santana would be traded for a pile of folks before 2008. Keeping him is by no means a poor choice: if the team is in the Central Division race at the trade deadline, the Twins could keep him for a World Series run; if they are out of it, a deadline trade could yield a ton of return from an AL East suitor.

A trade between now and Spring Training (February) won't be depleated of talent, either.

My prediction here is the Yankees come in with chunky centerfielder Melky Cabrera, young right-handed pitcher Phil Hughes and give in (take that Hank Steinbrenner, you big dink) and throw in TWO more players -- one a minor leaguer no one has heard of and the other a big shot like super chunky right-hander Joba Chamberlain . The Chamberlain part of the trade is the part the Yankees claim to be avoiding (it's supposed to be a Twins demand the Yankees add him or pitcher Ian Kennedy).

Two reasons tell me this will happen very, very soon:

First, the Yankees are itching to make a deal. Why else would they open these talks? Boston is still lurking in the wings with an offer the Twins seem enamored with and New York can't let the Red Sox dominate them again in 2008.

Second, the Yankees are the center of the George Mitchell Steriod Report. Much of the report's controversial content is based on testimony from a former Yankee batboy turned trainer. Plus, the biggest name in the report is former (and in May probably current) Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens. Also named are Yankee left-hander Andy Pettitte and first baseman Jason Giambi. In all, 18 current and former Yankees are named in the report.

Um, that's pretty damn damning of the team.

Trading for Santana would be the perfect spin for the Yankees. Getting the town talking about a trade rather than steriods and HGH would benefit the team's PR and interviewing Santana about wearing pinstripes plays better in the tabloid New York press than Pettitte claiming he only used HGH two days (yeah, right Andy).

Heck, I wouldn't even be surprised if the Mets tried a similar tactic. They've got a snitch in the report and 12 former and current players in the report. My only hope is Billy Smith is slick enough to gobble up a real third baseman in the mix.

(Top photo: Joba Chamberlain, from Fantasy Baseball Talk; Bottom photo: Phil Hughes, from New York Newsday)

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