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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Twins patient with Santana

It's day 3 of the Winter Meetings and as you all know the Twins haven't been in the headlines for anything but rumors. Santana is still wearing number 57 for the Twins and personally, I'm ok with that. The only headlines so far at the meeting go to AL Central rivals, the Detroit Tigers, for their blockbuster trade acquiring Florida Marlin All-Stars Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis for the prices of six prospects. One of baseball's toughest divisions continues to get tougher. Not good news for the Twins.

The Yankees claim they are "99.9% out of it (the Santana sweepstakes," but after they were "done negotiating" with Alex Rodriguez earlier this offseason we never quite trust the Yankee's word. It does seem that the Bronx Bombers have moved on to other needs, but we can never count them out. The Red Sox are patiently waiting with two different proposals offered to the Twins.

The proposals: 1) headlined by P Jon Lester, along with OF Coco Crisp, SS Jed Lowrie, and minor league P Justin Masterson. 2) centered on OF Jacoby Ellsbury, along with SS Lowrie, and probably P Masterson.

I credit new Twins GM Bill Smith for his patience and determination throughout this entire Santana madness. Johan is the biggest asset to the Twins franchise and although Smith is in between a rock and a hard place to trade Santana, the GM knows what he wants in return and will wait until he gets it. AND IF HE DOESN'T... then maybe we will see Santana on the mound after all come opening day. To get Santana, Smith wants two players that will step into the opening day lineup and be major league contributors. They asked the Yankees to throw in young pitcher Ian Kennedy along with Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera, and win the Yanks said no the Twins said ok then. I'm not sure if the Twins are holding out until the Red Sox put both Lester and Ellsbury in a deal or not. I think they should wait until they are able to get both players, but given that the Sox don't actually NEED Santana, they too may be content with keeping their young stars.

Hall of Fame Baseball Analyst and the man who is always on the inside of baseball news, Peter Gammons, said this today about the Twins at the winter meetings.

"Don't expect to see a Twins-Red Sox or Twins-Yankees whopper. The sense is that Minnesota will hold onto Johan Santana."

ESPN columnist Buster Olney gives a good review of the position that GM Bill Smith is in and breaks down the Twins current situation.

In other Twins news...

Santana isn't the only topic concerning the Twins at the meetings. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports the Twins are looking for middle-infield help and are potentially targeting free agent SS David Eckstein. Manager Ron Gardenhire said about Eckstein, "I've always had a lot of respect for him. He catches the ball. He knows how to play. He's a proven winner."

Eckstein does play the game hard and with a lot of character, but to me he seems like another player on our roster who plays great defense and can't hit... his name is Nick Punto. This report is simply in the rumor stage right now, but it makes me ask the readers...

Who would you rather have starting the 2008 season at shortstop? Nick Punto or David Eckstein?


Dan said...

I'm not sure the Eckstein to Punto comparison is completely fair. I mean come on, David Eckstein is a World Series MVP and All Star, hardly something Punto can claim. Also, while his numbers are a bit lackluster, he batted leadoff for the Cards the majority of the 2006 season, and their offense certainly did fine.

Beyond that, he's got the intangibles. Namely, he's over 30 and knows how to win, and with Torii and possibly Johan leaving, we're running out of guys that can fill either of those categories. bottom line I'd say almost any move to fill out our infield is a good one.

You're right on about the Twins remaining patient, it's nice to see they're actually making an attempt to not get completely screwed. They need to remember we hold one of the top three trump cards in the game in Johan, and it's nice see the GM hold off on pulling the trigger.

Zach D. Booz"er" said...

fuck punto. eckstein's practically a midget but doesn't he have a really hott wife? minnesota is the perfect place for a family man like eckstein... i imagine that unlike nelly, david is ready to leave his sloui days behind.