Update 4:17 p.m.: The Mets have acquired Johan Santana, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Based on reports from sources close the teams, the Twins have accepted the Mets’ offer of Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey, Deolis Guerra, and Phil Humber in exchange for the All Star lefty. The deal will be complete pending both a physical and a six- or seven-year contract for Santana. The Mets have a two- or three-day window during which they can negotiate.
At this point, I don’t really see this deal falling apart, and if Johan couldn’t land in the Bronx for the right price, seeing him in Queens instead of Boston is a huge positive.
Two well-connected baseball writers – Buster Olney and Jon Heyman – are reporting the same news on the Johan Santana front: The Twins have their final offers in hand, and the Yankees are not one of the suitors.
In keeping with a request from pitcher Johan Santana, the Twins have fielded offers from all interested parties by a mid-day Tuesday deadline, and Minnesota is expected to make a decision soon on whether to keep the left-hander or trade him, perhaps to the Mets — who appear to be strong front-runners — or the Red Sox, sources say.
The Yankees do not appear to be engaged in the Santana talks.
Santana, who completely controls his fate because of the full no-trade clause that he possesses, asked the Twins to make a decision, which is why Minnesota imposed the deadline for offers from the interested team.
Heyman notes that the Yanks informed the Twins that Minnesota could not have Phil Hughes, and the Twins don’t appear interested in other packages that the Yanks could potentially put together.
Meanwhile, despite the Santana-enforced deadline, a trade is not a forgone conclusion. If the Twins don’t like the Mets’ or Red Sox’s final offers, they could sit on Santana until the middle of Spring Training. Olney notes that myriad circumstances from injury to steroid distraction could present themselves to the contending teams that might make them up their offers. Either way, this story should peak this week.
For now, it looks like the Yanks are out of it. While we’re opposed to trading young pitchers away for Johan Santana, a lot of fans are on the fence about the deal. Only time will tell, of course, if the Yanks, showing rare restraint, made the right move here.
Whitey Ford – winner of the “He’s still alive?” Award – is getting ready to auction the farm. Over two days in July during the All Star Game festivities, Ford’s personal collection of baseball memorabilia will be auctioned off at the Javits Center. So if you want Whitey Ford’s Hall of Fame Induction Plaque, you know where to find it. Said Ford of his collection, “When your house starts getting full and your kids don’t have a place to sleep, it’s time to get rid of stuff.” · (8) ·
Just wanted to mention that I took part in a prospect roundtable over at my old stomping grounds, Pending Pinstripes. I find it pretty funny that I bashed on George Kontos in the roundtable, only to have him pop up as the lead story on Baseball America’s site. You planned this EJ, I know you did.
Thanks to gang over there for asking me to take part. · (7) ·
Well, he’s a media-hating, 35-year-old, mediocre middle reliever, says Emma Span at Eephus Pitch. While the virtual free agent trade involving Luis Vizcaino and LaTroy Hawkins netted the Yanks a draft pick, I’m not too optimistic about Hawkins. Maybe that new delivery really will work. · (21) ·
October 12, 1999 — For the first time since Bucky Dent carved himself a place in playoff lore, the Yankees and Red Sox are gearing up to meet in the postseason. Boston is all abuzz as the AL East Champions are playing host to the Wild Card team and defending World Champions from New York. While the Yankees finished with 98 wins this season, the Red Sox’s 104 victories were tops in the Majors, and the Yanks will have to hope that their superior pitching can overcome a power-packed Boston lineup.
Ironic in this meeting is one center fielder for the Red Sox, the former Yankee Bernie Williams. Williams, after becoming a Yankee mainstay, left the Bronx after the Yankees’ 125-win season last year. While the Yankees were prepared to offer Williams a five-year, $60-million contract, the star and his agent Scott Boras rejected that deal. They knew they could get more elsewhere and were tired of playing games with George Steinbrenner.
So now Williams will face off against his old team in Fenway. The Yanks — with their tempestuous twosome of Paul O’Neill and Albert Belle — look strong, but can they overcome the Red Sox?
* * *
We know that didn’t happen. Bernie Williams wasn’t on the Red Sox in 1999, and the Yankees were the AL East champs again.
But it was close. For a while in 1998, it looked like Bernie was Boston-bound, and if he had landed in Fenway, it’s not hard to imagine the Sox taking the division. Williams was the top offensive center fielder in the AL in 1999. His VORP that year — a measure of how much better he was than the next best available option — was 79.9. Darren Lewis, the Red Sox’s starting center fielder, pulled down a -24.8 VORP. That swing of 100 would have theoretically netted the Sox 10 more wins and a spot atop the AL East. It’s funny how history turns out.
“Bernie on the Red Sox?” you might say with a chuckle. “That never would have happened, right?” While it can be tough to see through Scott Boras’ hyperbole and fake seven-year offers, by all accounts in November of 1998, Bernie Williams nearly ended up in Fenway.
Bernie’s tale begins in 1997 when the Yankees were trying to extend their center fielder. They offered him a five-year deal worth just south of $40 million. As you could guess, they were laughed out of the room, and for a while, it seemed as though their offer and past contract snubs were insulting enough to convince Williams to cease negotiations entirely. Money and loyalty are powerful motivators.
Throughout November, Scott Boras and the Yankees engaged in their usual dance as reports of other deals surfaced. At various times, the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Rockies and Red Sox all expressed interest in Williams. But by the end, it became a battle between rivals. The Yankees and the Red Sox squared off with a big x-factor waiting in the wings.
To the dismay of Yankee fans, that x-factor was none other than hotheaded slugger Albert Belle. As the Yankees and Bernie looked to finalize their looming divorce, a new marriage between the Yankees and Belle was on the horizon. While the Yanks were initially interested in Jim Edmonds, those talks fizzled, and at 32 years old, Belle was one of the most sought-after free agents of 1998. The hip condition that would end his career two seasons later was nowhere to be found, and his numbers and temper were fearsome.
When Williams rejected that five-year, $60-million deal, the Yankees turned their attention to Belle. When I left my apartment on Wednesday night, November 25, 1998, to attend a friend’s Thanksgiving Eve party, I believed that Bernie Williams’ tenure in the Bronx was over. The Yanks and Bernie, as Buster Olney had reported that morning, were nearing a final separation, and Bernie was about to land in Boston.
The Yankees however had an out: Scott Boras offered them one last chance to match the Red Sox’s supposed seven-year, $90-million deal. Bernie, it seemed, wasn’t as keen to get out of New York as earlier reports indicated. When I got home late that night, my dad had left me a note on the door: Bernie Williams signs with the Yanks for seven years and $87.5 million, it said. I was ecstatic. Somehow, the Yankees and Bernie were able to overcome their differences, and Bernie would remain a Yankee.
In the end, it was always tough to tell if Bernie was actually going to leave. Three columnists in The Times — Jack Curry, Harvey Araton and Buster Olney — all speculated that Boras used vague, half-serious offers to get the Yanks to ante up. By keeping the archrival Red Sox involved, Boras knew the Yanks would pay, and he won.
When the real 1999 ALCS dawned, the Yanks, led by Bernie, beat the Red Sox with their sad excuse for a center fielder. As we know, Bernie’s Yanks would go on to great success. While Bernie’s contract became something of an albatross by the end of it and Williams still seems to have a poor relationship with the Yankees, keeping Bernie out of Boston was a sage move.
David Cone, star of the best Yankee commercial ever, is back with the organization. According to Joel Sherman, Cone will join the YES Network, filling one of the two Yankee broadcast vacancies. Cone will serve as an in-game analyst and host of “Yankees on Deck.” · (14) ·
The Twins now say they would like an offer from the Yankees for Johan Santana in exchange for a package centered around Melky Cabrera and Phil Hughes. I think they’re a little bit late on this one. Rookie GM Bill Smith is about to learn what happens when you overplay your hand. No more Santana today after this unless, of course, a trade goes down. · (85) ·
Short and sweet because everyone knows where we stand on this topic. Let’s play connect the dots:
- The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that the Twins will probably trade Johan Santana within the next ten days.
- Buster Olney reports that Jon Lester is off the table.
- The Mets are beginning to think that maybe they are being used by the Twins.
- Meanwhile, Hank will only be so patient with the young pitchers.
So it seems that this saga will play itself out in the next 10 days. Somehow, I don’t think the Yanks are quite yet as out of it as we thought. Surprise.
Life in the AL East just got a little easier. The O’s shipped the best pitcher in the division to Seattle for a package centered around uber-prospect Adam Jones. No word yet on the other pieces headed to Baltimore, but previous rumors suggest it could a few prospects like Chris Tillman (probably), Carlos Triunfel and Jeff Clement (both doubtful), and/or reliever George Sherrill (likely). I dunno about you, but Bedard-Felix in a short series scares me more than Beckett-DiceK or Sabathia-Fausto.
(hat tip to MLBTR) · (17) ·