For Boston, it was about the Yanks, not Johan

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With the Winter Meetings over, is it any surprise that Johan Santana is still a member of the Minnesota Twins? Of course not. Not in this day of uber-competitiveness between the Red Sox and the Yankees.

In case you need anymore proof of this sometimes-Cold, sometimes-Hot War, look no further than today’s Providence Journal. In an article on the Santana talks, Sean McAdam admits that, for the Red Sox, it wasn’t really about Johan Santana in Boston as much as it was about Johan Santana not in the Bronx.

With talks with the Twins at an impasse, it has struck some that that was the Red Sox’ primary goal all along. They weren’t so much motivated by obtaining Santana as much as they were ensuring that he didn’t join the Yanks…

So the Red Sox, perfectly content, sit and wait. Particularly with the Yankees on the sideline — for the time being, anyway — the Sox feel no sense of urgency to sweeten their offer and hasten some sort of resolution.

While some Red Sox fans were excited about the prospects of Santana landing in Boston, once the Yanks dropped out, so did Boston’s interest. That’s just the way things work. The Red Sox were willing to push the envelope on the deal to force the Yanks’ hand in regards to Phil Hughes. Once the Yanks didn’t want to go higher, the Sox toned down their negotiations.

Who knows where Johan Santana will end up or when? The Twins seem intent to start the season with him in the rotation despite their status as projected third-place finishers in the AL Central. But then again, we never figured A-Rod would land in the Bronx once the Boston deal fell through.

There’s a long way yet, and this chess game is far from over. But it does seem as though Boston, despite not landing Santana, won round one. Who will win the war though is far from certain.

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  • Steve S

    I cant say that the Sox won this round. Ultimately, Im not sure why they wouldnt do the deal with Elsbury and Lester. To me the only reason is financial. Elsbury may be a good player but he projects as a Damon type of centerfielder. Something, that even in Johnny’s prime, is not that hard to replace. I think the Red Sox may have made it clear to the Twins that the only legit dance partner are the Yankees, and Cashman knows that he can now reduce his offer because the Red Sox dont really want to do this.

  • Beau

    I don’t believe reducing the offer is an option for the twins. They can come back at the Yankees with the same offer that was on the table as before and probably still get the Yanks interested. For one I don’t believe they will settle for anything but Hughes as being the centerpiece of the deal. Even though that really stings it still is fair. You can’t get a pitcher with Johan’s credentials without parting with some serious talent. I don’t think you expand the offer but if I am Hank(which I’m not obviously :) ) I have to jump at the same offer.

  • Eric

    From moment one the Sox could have had Santana if they gave up Bucky and Ellsbury.

    Im kinda shocked they haven’t because why not? They’d have a dominant rotation. We’re talking Koufax-Drysdale ish and they are both under 30!

    God forbid if Dice K actually becomes decent.

  • Eric

    The Yanks can also call them in a week when this dies down and go Kennedy, Cabrera, Horne, 4th guy.

    And keep Hughes after all.

    • Glen L

      Or instead of alienating their fan base by getting 60 cents on the dollar for johan, they can just keep him

  • Zack

    I don’t really see how the sox won anything. By all accounts the yank’s initial offer without hughes was never gonna fly’ so imnot sure they really upped the stakes all hat much. Plus the sox not getting santana makes them a heck of a lot worse too. But nothings over yet of course

  • dan

    Assholes. If the Yankees did this, they’d be ripped apart for being bullies, just furthering the Evil Empire claim.

  • MS

    I’m with you Eric. Tell the Twins they can have Kennedy, Melky, Horne, and a 4th prospect from now until Spring Training ends. If they get a better offer good for them.

  • Kevin23

    This article speaks of Santana as if he’s some mythical being who delivers wins to deserving teams. He’s not a guarantee of anything but a lot of missing green for whoever signs him. He’s one of the best right now. Quite possibly the best in the AL. But he’s not some “sword of 1000 truths” that, should it fallen into the hands of one’s enemy, will doom us to certain death. Guys still have to hit, throw, catch, run, plunge needles into their buttocks, etc.

  • Kevin23

    Oh, and don’t forget to cue the cathedral music when you read “Sword of 1000 Truths”.

    God I love that show.

  • Eric

    The fan base is alienated anyway. They know there team is cheap. They just tried to resign one of their most popular players for half of what he got. Their owner is a billionaire.

    And no GM or exec should ever listen to a fanbase.

    If thats how they are running the team they are already done.

    • dan

      Correction: They should listen when the fans are screaming for wins.

  • Stephen

    I’m not sure if the Sox really won but it certainly seems that the Twins lost. Sure there’s plenty of time left in the offseason for some kind of deal to get done, but it seems to me like Smith should be kicking himself for passing on the Hughes-Melky offer.

  • Jeb

    Guys, the Yanks won round one and Boston helped them! We get to keep Hughes, Melky, Kennedy, etc., and the odds just went up that johan will hit the open market, so we can ultimately have our proverbial cake and eat it too. Plus we’ll have a better idea by then if his 5+ ERA in the second half and 36 homers was the beginning of his downfall OR just an aberration. I’m tickled at how things worked out.

    And I’m salivating about a 2009 rotation with johan, Hughes, Pettitte, Wang, IPK and joba as the swingman!

    • kris

      This is by far the most sensible comment. Realistically, the best outcome is for Santana to hit the FA market after next season. Here’s hoping the Twins keep him for the entire season.

    • zack

      There is still close to no chance Santana hits the FA market. If the Twins aren’t in any races next season, hell be dealt, and its unlikely with so much offseason remaining, that he is even a Twin when the season starts. The Twins know that draft picks aren’t nearly as valuable as young ML ready prospects…

      • Ron

        But Bill Smith is in a precarious position. He has to get a good group of players for Johan, and yet if he sets his sights too high, he may miss out altogether. If he isn’t dealt by Opening Day, there is a good chance that Santana won’t waive his no trade clause, no matter who he’s traded to.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    It’s always about us which makes it sad. They won the Super Bowl and there was a “Yankees suck” chant even though the Yankees, to my knowledge, don’t play football. They won the World Series and they chanted, “Don’t sign Arod.”

    When Boston grows up and makes it NOT about us…they might shed that inferiority complex.
    But they never will. It could be the year that the RS, the Patriots, Bruins and the Celtics all win the championship and I swear the Yankees will somehow play in Beantown.

    They’re wicked retahded.

    • Ikanspel

      I think you are confusing the behavior of fans (which inevitably features stupidity foremost) with the competition of teams, Live. the Sawx effort to keep JS from the Yankees — or make them pay the highest price possible — isn’t about an unhealthy obsession — it is about competition. They want to be better than the Yankees, and they took completely legitimate competitive steps to make it so. Do you blame them? Should they just roll over? You think the 27th WS will taste sweeter if the other teams just clear the way?

      Look, we can debate whether their strategy will ultimately be successful, but you don’t actually think the RS negotations with the Twins can be compared in any way with the behavior of some beer-soaked nitwits do you?

  • Jeb

    If he makes it to 2008 in a twins uniform then why would he agree to a trade? He only has to go 6 months to be a free agent and make a mountain of money. This was a moment of truth and the Yankees didn’t blink. This is why we won.

    Even if johan got traded at the deadline (with 3 months left until free agency) he may not waive that no trade clause or might waive it but refuse to sign a new deal.

    Remember if the season starts its no long about the twins and their twits for fans, its about johan and money. Period.

  • Ron

    Isn’t it obvious? The Yanks won because they kept the Big Three!

  • Mitchell’s Eleven

    Again, the war is with the rest of baseball, not just the Boston Red Sox.

  • Alvaro

    The Red Sox did us a favor. Thanks Theo.

  • Robert

    I believe that Johan already said he would not waive his no trade clause once the season starts. That was reported I believe a week ago, or at least over the weekend. So the twins need to get something done before spring training and possibly at the latest, just before opening day. If they don’t then they will be “stuck” with Johan the whole year and won’t be able to get anything in return except for two draft picks.

    I think Johan is just vindictive enough to follow through with that threat and not waive his NTC just to spite the cheap organization known as the twins.

  • Rob_in_CT

    I thought I read that he denied ever saying that.

  • Chris

    This is a first for us fans because as much as the Yankees want us to think it was about not giving up Hughes, it was more about the money. How can we think this is a youth movement when we just gave two old men close to 100 million – This to me is an example of poo and gutless managment The Yanks would be a better team with Santana in the rotation, Joba or another player clsoing, and an aveage catcher – especially 2 years fom now.

    The Yankees finally have a budget and I am sure that Geoge being out of the picture has a lot to do with it and is a bad time to be a fan. Gow a set Cash and go get the guy who has been destined since 2004 to become a Yankee

    It makes no sense to me because of all the payoll they lose next season with Giambi, Mussina, Pettite, and Pavano off the books. It is also a good possibility that in the final year of their deal Damon and/or Matsui will be dealt. Pehaps they make a trade – Mussinna fo a Gift certificate at Gino’s o Pat’s cheesesteaks – to the Phillies and use that money for Johan.
    Perhaps instead od giving up Hughes (their number 2 pitching prospects) Melky and little less, the Twins would take Kennedy (number 3), Horne (number 4) and then whoever the Twins consider the – Yanks number 7th or 8th best guy (or a very young guy with high potential – Bettances or a possible future closer, McCutchen). That would be in addition to Melky and possibly Gardner who could turn out to be a good turf player.

    Wonder if the Twins would take that being that they get good quality – while Kennedy has the lowest ceiling of the Big Three – I also think he has the best chance of avoiding injury, pitching consistantly and being a 150 win pitcher. Getting only 1 prospect in return for Johan is a isky proposition for the Twins because so much will be riding on that one guy’a sucess/failure. It may be beneficial for the Twins to get 2 15-17 win pitcher and anothe 12-14 win guy then it would be to get 1 20 game winner with some injury poblems ealy in his career.

    Not doing this trade is a huge mistake as when taking into account pitch counts – this rotation has 3 guys who will be 5 maybe 6 inning pitchers – Joba, Hughes, Kennedy/Mussina Hughes maybe a little more, but people have this unrealistic belief that Joba is going to go out there and thow a complete game evey start. Keep in mind that he is a stike-out pitcher which means high pitch counts and that he will probably be on a 100-110 pitch count.

    This team is in trouble next year unless they add Santana or DRASTICALLY upgade the bullpen. They won without an ace in the late 90s they didnt really have a true ace other than one year fom Clemens, but they had a killer bullpen. You need one or the other, but Cashman seems to content to thow away next season and waste what could be the last or second to last vey poductive years from Rivera, Damon, Matsui, and possibly Jorge. Santana sets them up for 2008 though 2012 at least

  • Yankee Fan

    I couldn’t agree more and the ironic thing is that the Red Sox would have done what the Yanks have done in the past, which is basically what they were against (trade prospects for now players)