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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Ready, set, trade!

Tomorrow marks the start of the annual Winter Meetings for baseball general managers. The four day event held in Nashville, Tennessee this year appears to be full of talk, rumors, and even trades.

Here's the latest on the Santana trade front. It seems that the two teams that have emerged as probable trade partners for the Twins are hated rivals the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Two events occurred over the weekend that significantly impact the scope of the Santana talk.

Friday the Yankees announced that they would be willing to trade young pitcher Phil Hughes in any deal for the Twins' ace. After a week of trying to avoid putting Hughes in any deal for Santana, the Yankees have changed their stance and are now offering a young pitcher who could in the future become the force that Santana is on the mound today.

Sunday the Red Sox stated they would add young outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury in any deal for Santana. This announcement comes after repeatedly calling Ellsbury "untouchable" in any deal. This option would fill the Twins large void left in centerfield by the departure of CF, Torii Hunter. Ellsbury made a quick name for himself across Sox Nation batting .353 with three home runs, 18 RBIs, and nine stolen bases in just 33 games in August and September for the Boston club. Ellsbury also became a hero taking over the starting centerfield position in the playoffs and responding with a terrific World Series performance.

If you're the Minnesota Twins the question becomes, do I trade my star player, and if so, do I rebuild with a young star pitcher or a young start outfielder? Hughes or Ellsbury?

One thing is for sure, the flurry of rumors surrounding Santana's name in the last week are close to an end. The Yankees announced today that their offer will soon be off the table. This means the Twins must make their decision soon, like in the next 24 hours soon. By tomorrow night we may know the future outlook of the Minnesota Twins franchise.

If you acquire Hughes you replace Santana in the rotation. Losing a current start for a future star. If you acquire Ellsbury you receive a stud young outfielder capable of replacing the beloved Torii Hunter who would excel batting at the top of an order with Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, and Delmon Young hitting behind him. BUT... what if the Twins decide that neither of these offers are good enough. What if the Twins instead trade some of their younger prospects and open up their wallet to sign a free agent or two and in doing so will their holes in CF, 3B, and DH. If Liriano comes back as good as he was in 2006 and the rotation is lead by Santana and Liriano, Delmon Young develops into a star while the rest of the lineup bounces back from a subpar year, I would label the Twins as a legitimate World Series contender. BUT... are they still good enough to tackle the defending champion, Boston Red Sox?

Think if the Twins decide to trade Santana to Boston, you now have a team that is not only the favorite to win the 2008 World Series but also a team that is developing into a dynasty for the next three to four years. A 2008 rotation of Santana, Beckett, Dice-K, Schilling, and whoever else feels like pitching (doesn't really matter) with the Red Sox offense is the closest thing to a sure thing in the baseball world.

So I wish I had a crystal ball to tell you what will happen, but at least it appears that we won't have to wait long to discover the outcome. As a fan, I'm not even sure yet what move is best for the Twins. I think the thought of having Ellsbury patrolling the outfield is at first glance more appealing to me, but Hughes too is a potential dominator on the pound. And all this being said, I'd be completely happy seeing Santana take the hill on opening day still in a Twins uniform.

The Star Tribune asks you... will Santana stay or go?

I ask you, considering the more likely option that Santana WILL be traded, will it be the Red Sox or the Yankees? Let's hear your opinion.

1 comment:

Greg D. said...

Hey John! Love the blog...my opinion is the Twins have to trade Santana now. If they wait and try and do it at the trade deadline they will nto get as much value out of him and run the risk of losing him to free agency and getting nothing. Both of these deals are good enough, although the Yanks one looks better because they are also getting Melky Cabrera, who could patrol the outfield. That would shore up the outfield and starting rotation for next year and allow the Twins to focus on the whole at third as well as a DH.

Just my thoughts...would hate to see Santana pitching for either the Red Sox or Yanks...definitely the Yanks more...