Dec
31

No one is trying to lowball the Twins

By

Let’s continue debating points made by other people today. After Joe’s excellent rebuttal of a Warren Goldstein piece on baseball history, I want to look at something more current and something near and dear to our hearts: Johan Santana.

Up in Minnesota, where it storm in the winter, David Zingler thinks that other teams are trying to lowball the Twins (hat tip to Baseball Musings). He writes:

The Big Market Teams (BMT) are low-balling the Twins with offers that won’t include another star player (like Jose Reyes or Robinson Cano) or two-top shelf prospects (like Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester). This is a travesty.

Now, we can debit the merits of trading Robinson Cano as much as we’d like. In fact, some of you have beaten this one into ground. But the fact is that no one is lowballing the Twins.

As we’ve said over and over again, the Twins are, in effect, trading away one year of Johan Santana — his final before his potentially hits free agency — and the exclusive negotiating rights to a contract extension. The Twins, when they give up Santana, will lose just one year of his services, and nothing more. So that’s how the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets are viewing this trade.

What would you give up for one year of Johan Santana? From the Yankees’ perspective, it doesn’t make much sense to give up multiple years of multiple cost-controlled younger players in this deal. So in the end, it’s not really a lowball offer as much as it is a market correction. Had the Twins signed Santana to a low contract extension and they tried to trade him right away, the discussion would be different. But the reality is that the Twins are losing just one year of Santana if they trade him now, and that’s all that other teams are considering in putting together trade proposals.

Meanwhile, if the reports are accurate. The Yankees were willing to hand over a rather substantial package of prospects at one point. I don’t think any deal centered around Phil Hughes and involving other players is a low-ball offer, but that just might be my Yankee bias speaking.

Categories : Hot Stove League

30 Comments»

  1. JRVJ says:

    Not only that – while Santana’s 2008 contract is quite reasonable, his upcoming seasons will be very expensive.

    While most MBT would glady pay Santana when he becomes a FA (when the only cost is $$$ and one 1st round draft pick), they surely are not thrilled about trading multiple young, hot prospects (often the equivalent of 1st round draft picks) just to avoid losinng one 1st round draft pick in 2009.

    In the very specific case of the Yankees, the Yankee farm system is still a little bit bottom heavy, so the Yankees certainly benefit from keeping their prospects NOW and losing a 1st round draft pick in 2009 (by which time their farm system will have regained a bunch of talented young pitchers from injury – plus, by 2009, the Tabata’s and Jackson’s of the world will have one more season under them, and the Yanks will have a better idea of their abilities).

    And as I’ve said before, the Yanks may even come out even in the 1st round draft pick front if they offer Abreu arbitration after 2008 and he declines it and signs with someone else.

  2. Jeff says:

    To expand on what Mike and JRVR said… there is no lowball when you consider the weight of the contract you are going to have to offer up Johan. Basically to extend him you have to pay a king’s randsom so it is tough to deal out too many of your good cost effective players at the same time.
    The one year and NTC have a lot to do with the Twins not getting more. If they wanted more than what they are being offered now they should have traded him a couple of years ago.
    I don’t think Hughes is a lowball either. Neither Lester for that matter.
    Lastly, I don’t think Zingler understands the whole concept of lowballing. Teams involved have been toiling for months about the prospect of this trade.

  3. kunaldo says:

    gotta love how everyone views ellsbury and lester as “top shelf prospects”…good, sure…topshelf? doubt it

  4. alex says:

    if the twins think they are being low-balled, the solution is simple: don’t trade santana. and if they decide that they do want to trade santana, they can trade him for whatever the market bears. it’s simple economics.

    it comes down to the simple fact that everyone wants to get more when they trade their superstar, and everyone want to to give less when they trade for a superstar. ultimately, the superstar is worth exactly what he is traded for at the time he is traded.

  5. Lanny says:

    Obviously we need Santana and would be a really great team with him it doesnt make much sense to trade 3 top 10 prospects (including the #1 pitching prospect in baseball whos had post season success already and our starting CF) for one yr of Santana plus give him a record setting 7 yr deal.

  6. Lanny says:

    If Boston were serious about getting Santana this trade would have been done months ago.

    No way they would let Ellsbury a light hitting CF with no power stand in their way of the best lefty in baseball especially when they arent giving up Bucholz.

  7. Alvaro says:

    Santana is almost too good to be traded. His contractual demands limit the universe of teams for whom it would be worth making a deal. Tough shit Twins. Keep him then.

    BTW Lanny I agree completely – the Red Sox are just making mischief and have no real interest in Santana.

  8. Realist says:

    How are Lester and Ellsbury top shelf prospects???? ESPECIALLY , when the name of Robinson Cano is being bounced about? I have said it a thousand times now…The Yank’s package was far superior , in fact a joke compared to the “supposed” Sox deal Minny was gonna take. wink , wink…..

    Now I see complaining that Cano wasn’t involved???????????? Move on and wait til Minny HAS to trade him as this is getting old and tiresome. I bet the Hank haters are clueless to him seeing this farce for what it is. IE: Minny using the sox to get NY to pony up more and effectively @ss raping them.

  9. Mike P says:

    And reading the article beyond the “lowball” claim makes you realise this guy doesn’t quite grasp his subject matter. He talks of Selig presiding over huge change and asks him to even the playing field a la NFL.
    The fact is the Twins could just keep Santana a year or, god forbid, use a tiny fraction of the richest owner in baseball’s money and a little of that revenue sharing pot to keep Santana. If the Twins hadn’t “lowballed” Minnesota they might even have had a new stadium by now and kept Tori Hunter too.
    Needless to say, not much sympathy for the author of that piece from here.

  10. steve (different one) says:

    any comparison to the NFL falls apart completely the minute you consider the fact that contracts in MLB are 100% guaranteed.

    if the Twins could cut Santana the season after he stopped being a #1 starter and not be on the hook for the rest of his salary, they would have little hesitation about signing him to a long term deal and this wouldn’t be an issue.

    it’s such a huge, fundamental difference that any debate that doesn’t acknowledge it is essentially worthless.

  11. faketeams says:

    Nevermind the Yanks would have to sign Santana to a $140+ million dollar dela to start in 2009 before he threw a single 2008 pitch. One can argue the risk is too great that Santana gets hurt and the offer should be lower.

  12. bkight says:

    Look what the A’s got for Haren, who had a 3yr $16M contract. I’m still not convinced the 6 players they got from Arizona is a better package than Hughes, Melky, Marquez, Horne/Tabata.

  13. Chris says:

    I read the twins blog conerning the santana trade scenarios. Very interesting read although there were midh fewer posts and a lot of ‘the yankees are ruining baseball’ rants. amazing though the difference in the perception about the trade. One hand you have the fans here who are divided about giving up hughes although everyine seems to agee that he would be missed both in shhort term and even more so in the long tem. I think though that everyone is agreement that based on the circumstances surroundinging the deal (20 million at 7 years)

    Can believe that the Twins fans think the proposals are totally one-sided. the fact is that the yankees would be given up a guy who is one year removed from being the top prospects in all of baseball. While it is true thay he lost velocity and his lack of a solid change-up was a bit exposed, but he took the mound in game 3 of the playoffs and pitched beutifully – giving team a little life – granted if only for 1 day.

    I can see a problem with the Red Sox offer in that it doesnt contain bucholz 9basicallu=y rhe equal of hughes. as i have said the soc offer is moe like 1 dime and 4 nickles vs. the yanks offer of a quarter, nickel and two pennies. sox offer is the safer one because there is a better chame that a couple of the prrospects become goof major leaugers. not even including the two throw ins – the twins would be getting a proven major leaguer oufielder and one of the best young pitchers in the game.

    Based on fan reaction – granted a small sample size – i see the twins maybe holding onto him to him our of fear of fan outrage.’

    all that said – i thought that fans were finally over the small market/big market argument. first off the yanks and sox spending keep a lot of teams in business. Secondly, how can anyone complain about the small market teams when they get 30 million and still have a 15 million dollar payroll (marlins). third, the high reveue brought in by the yanks in partiular and for many other teams was die in large part to steinbrenner’s ingenuity and business skills, 4th – i am not an ecomist, or an expert on polulations, but is the market in mijjeanapolous/st. paul area that much smalldf than boston? what has boston done so differently to have so much more success? 5th, Pohlad my be the richest owner in baseball and the minnesota tax payers STILL foot the bill for their new park. He owes the fans more than that

    Finally, revenue sharing has, with few exeptions created parody in baseball. the parody exists within the divisions. each team in each division now has oughly the same revenue and should have the same payroll (most do) with the obvious exeption of the al east 9you want to feel bad for a team – feel for the blue jays who have the talent to ne a playoff team in any division in th NL. Combne divisional play broken up into similar finacial markets coupled with the unbalaned schedule and you have a fairly competitive league.

    Sorry for the long email. hope there were not too many mispellings between the broken keyboard and the 2 bottles of champaign i’ve had so far.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL

  14. anoop dogg resident says:

    staring to agee that the yans=ks dont get santana, but boston may not either. if the twins were interesred on eithe sos padja]s, would we not have heard something by now – seems like they are not interested.

    perhaps the report that the yanks pulled off all offers areaccuraate and the twins are keeping the redsox around as a back-ip plan. gotta believe that they reall want to get bucholz kerswaw ot huegehs back to have something to sell the fans.

    big problem is that this trade may be the defining trade in smith’s tenure as gm – it cerainly will be mmost impotant for year to come if ever. he wants his cake and wants to eat it too. he wants the depth f the red sox dead the sta==-pt

  15. LiveFromNewYork says:

    I think they’re just ticked that such an exciting came up for trade and the BMTs didn’t bite.

    Too bad so sad.

    And the Yanks give enough to other teams like the Twins whose owner pockets the revenue sharing that it should not even be talked about.

    The Yankees pay for revenue sharing and a big luxury tax. The problem is that when these things first came about, it was supposed to be to level the playing field but if other owners take the revenue sharing and run without putting it back into the team, there is NOTHING the Yankees can do about that. The Yanks (and, admittedly, the RS) have owners and a fan base that suck up the LT and revenue sharing and sink the money into the team. Cheap tightwads like the Twinkies owner do not.

    The other thing is that we are penalized for having a team in the greatest city in the world and not east Podunk (small market). We can’t help that people LIVE HERE and care about sports. Just because a team is in a BIG MARKET isn’t the team’s fault. Maybe they should stop putting teams in east Podunk. Maybe all the expansion teams should just fold up and go home and stop complaining about big market teams.

    • brxbmrs says:

      I guess a few bad teams are good for the game overall – some cannon fodder for most teams to beat up on and fool the fans into thinking that their teams are better than tehy really are.

      I often wonder if the four lowest payroll\attendance teams were contracted and the other teams were allowed to expand the rosters to 27 how that would affect the game overall?

      2 extra players could mean every team has a good pinch hitter, or knuckleballer or speed demon – i.e. another specialized player plus maybe another bp arm that could make late inning games more exciting.

      How to select the four teams to contract is probably highly debatable – getting rid of Loria should be job 1, other perennial underperforming teams – i.e the Pirates and of course, the team that is beyond debate to be contracted is the Mets ;-).

      Happy New Yar to all.

  16. Grant says:

    Low balling? 7 years at $140 million. It’s not possible to low ball the Twins.

  17. Steve S says:

    Wow this is a new topic. How many different ways can we discuss the same topic.

  18. E-ROC says:

    Same ‘ol, same ‘ol. Happy New Year to everybody.

    Looks like the Yanks might try to sign Yu Darvish after the ’08 season. I got that from mlbtraderumors.com.

  19. [...] Twins and Santana Here’s an interesting post from River Ave. Blues which talks about the Twins and how some folks think that the big market [...]

  20. Nate says:

    How can it be a 1 year rental, when all the offers from the Yankees and Red Sox are contingent on Santana signing a long-term extension? Therefore, the team that trades for him will have Santana in the fold for 6-7 years. $20 million a year for the best pitcher in baseball is fair market value. I would think that the best pitcher in baseball would be very enticing for at least one big market team.

  21. Pickett says:

    I’ve said this to everyone I’ve ever discussed the Santana trade with: My main complaint is that Minnesota would expect Hughes to be included in the deal but the Twins DO NOT expect the Red Sox to include Clay Buchholz? This is the real reason why Hank said screw the deal for right now. He finally realized–with Cashmoney wispering in his ear, of course–that the Yanks were being diddled by the Twins and the Red Sox were never serious. So they called the Twins bluff and basically said, sure go ahead and take the weaker Red Sox offer if you like Lester, and Coco, and Ellsbury so much, which of course they do not. Now the Twins are screwed because now they will most likely have to wait for the 7/31 trade deadline before anything happens, at which time the Twins will receive less for Santana. The moral of the story is that greed is always bad. They could have had Hughes, Melky, and another top Yankees prospect (Jackson, Tabata, or Horne). Minnesota Asshats.

  22. Nate says:

    Why wouldn’t the big market teams try to start with a low offer? That’s not low-balling, that’s just smart negotiating. If they keep coming with low offers, which really aren’t that low, maybe the Twins will think they can’t do any better and accept one of the low offers in a desperation move. Also, any increased offer appears to be that much better if the previous offer is a low one.

  23. susan mullen says:

    I think it’s more likely the system has peaked/is working. A severe financial penalty has been imposed on the Yankee payroll. They’re losing money anyway, and are being kept afloat by the YES Network of which they only own 30-40%. People complain when the Yankees have a high payroll. Now they complain if the Yankees don’t give them half a young team for the prize of paying a pitcher $150 million. Also, why are the Twins so desperate to get young Yankee players? I thought they were such geniuses they could develop young players themselves?

  24. Jeff says:

    Pickett: I think you may be right about the Sox offer and the Twins play but I don’t think Tabata or Ajax were ever going to be thrown in the deal that was already very sweet with Hughes and Melky. If that were the case think this might have been tied up at the “Deadline.”
    BenK: My mistake earlier I noticed late that this was you creation. Good job as always.
    I’m not sure how everyone else is feeling but I’m ready for this Santana saga to be over. It seems like all the pieces are on the table its time for Minny to make a call. Or if my prayers were answered Johan would step in and excercise his NTC realizing he would probably be able to get more through free agency from a team that doesn’t have to balance an offer with the fact that they are losing some major dollars by sacrificing cheap talent. I also think for him to want to be on a winning ball club should dictate that he try to keep that club as strong as possible. I guess the gamble of the year might be a risk better avoided but if I were him I would wait the year and then reap the better contract. Could you imagine what he would command if he won another CY Young? I think the Mets would give him the house.

  25. Eric says:

    The Twins have one of the worst farm systems in the game.

    And if they Yanks were losing money you really think they would be giving 3 yr deals out to 37 yr relievers and 4 yr deals to 36 yr old catchers?

    Give me a break.

  26. joe says:

    I love the rip roaring, unabashed, market driven capitalists some of you NEW YORKERS become when it comes to ripping off small market teams like the TWINS ! You guys can cite all the statistics about baseball attendance being way up like it’s going to go on forever and ever but there are people here in the Twin Cities who aren’t going to sit here and BE the YANKEES FARM club forever and ever ! WE DID EVERYTHING THAT MLB ASKED US TO DO ! WE PROVIDED PUBLIC FINANCING FOR A NEW STADIUM, EVEN THOUGH the current building is
    less than 25 years old ! For all you new found FREE MARKETERS let’s TRY THIS !
    Let’s ask Senators CLINTON and SCHUMER to sponsor legislation to remove MLB’s ANTI- TRUST EXEMPTION ! Because THAT IS what the result of the STEROID MESS and teams LIKE THE YANKEES and RED SOX trying to RIP OFF THE SMALL MARKET TEAMS IS GOING TO BE !!!!!!

  27. snoop dogg resident says:

    Bottom line is that the Twins overplayed their hand. They always intended on trading him away and getting a blue chip prospects (Buchholz, Hughes, or Kershaw). They were never serious about trading him for the red sox offer, and were using the sox to up the offer to up that of the yankees Not a bad stategy since everyone has been fitting santana for pintripes since 200. all of the sudden it appears the Yankees have decided against including including hughes in the deal. so now what do the twins do- take boston’s inferior offer, or do you take a lesser offer from the yanks or do you keep him,

    Because they overplayed their hand they are now getting low-ball offer the initial offer which i think the yanks were willing to do would have given them a possible number 1, a back end of the rotation guy as ealy as \next years all sta break, and a starting centerfielder at a combined salary of abou 500k. i doubt the yanks throw hughes into the deal now – why would they? there package is just as good substituting Kennedy for hughes as any ther offer on the table. minny blew it, but that is why these deals are high stake poker games.

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