Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heyman: Mets, Santana, Blah Blah Blah

All Santana, All the Time.

Jon Heyman has joined the chorus of reporters who already suggest the Mets are Johan Santana's top suitor.
Once written off as an extreme long shot in the long-running Johan Santana drama, the Mets may actually be the favorite now. At the very least, there are indications now that they are engaging in more regular dialogue with the Twins in recent days than either the Red Sox or Yankees. And Mets general manager Omar Minaya, who loves a big deal but hasn't made one since the winter before last, has told some people in the business, "We have a shot.''

Minaya declined to comment when I reached him on Tuesday. But there are some definite signs that the Twins may be warming to the idea of taking a package of projects and prospects with high ceilings while not insisting on much in the way of major-league help. Which, if true, would give the Mets a real shot.
Neither the Red Sox, who have seemed consistently lukewarm in this derby, nor the Yankees, who have run hot and cold, has been as aggressive as one might expect considering their longstanding fight over players big and small. At this point, it appears either might simply be happy not to see Santana go to the other.
The Yankees remain the wild card. GM Brian Cashman has made the rejuvenation of the team's farm system his calling card and is said to be against trading even one top-flight young pitcher, such as Phil Hughes. But newly-empowered general partner Hank Steinbrenner is said by insiders to be much more willing to do what it takes in terms of prospects and dollars to land Santana.
Some Mets officials have an impression that they could probably have Santana if they simply added Martinez to the mix, but one person familiar with the Mets thinking said he'd be surprised if the Mets agreed to do that, which would leave their minor-league system practically barren. Which explains why there still isn't a deal.
The top Twins rumor writer, La Velle E. Neal III, offers his recent insights on the Santana debaucle. Neal shows a very different perspective, stating the Yankees continue to talk with Minnesota:
First of all, the Twins continue to talk to the Mets, Red Sox AND YANKEES about deals for Johan Santana. Despite the Yankees claiming that they are out of the running, I’ve been told the Twins have spoken with all three teams in recent days.

This doesn’t surprise me. Both New York teams need starting pitching help. Mets starters were 66-53 last season, including 13 wins from Tom Glavine. The Yankees are counting on Andy Pettitte, who will turn 36 during the season, to lead their rotation.

I kept being told that the Twins are willing to go to spring training with Santana, although that would be the worst-case scenario. For now, the Twins have stepped up their efforts to make a deal with one of these teams before camp opens.

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