Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Venezuelan with a Golden Arm

By Chuck Richter - Senior Editor Angelswin.com

When the Twins offered Santana a four-year extension - beginning in 2009 - for a total of $80 million, which he rejected, it was an obvious rejection because Santana certainly will clear more than that on either the free-agent front or via another team that acquires him in a trade.

Santana, who will turn 29 in March, is perhaps the major league's best pitcher, having won two Cy Youngs and adding a Gold Glove this past season. The lefty went 15-13 with a 3.33 ERA and 235 strikeouts, and in his last five years, has gone an incredible 82-35.

Tony Reagins learned one thing from Bill Stoneman in that he's not tipping any moves before executing this offseason. The Orlando Cabrera for Jon Garland trade took us all by surprise, as did the signing of Torii Hunter on the eve of Thanksgiving. Why the media continues to speak of Miguel Cabrera & Miguel Tejada in potential Angels trades, don't be surprised if the Angels get in on the Johan Santana sweepstakes if they're not already.

Clubs that could fill the 3 position voids on the Twins roster which are at third base, centerfield and starting pitcher are the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and our Los Angeles Angels. The Yankees could offer Melky Cabrera, Ian Kennedy or Phillip Hughes and Wilson Betemit. The Mets could offer either Carlos Gomez or Lastings Milledge along with either Mike Pelfrey or Phillip Humber. The Mets would be lacking a third baseman in a potential deal. The Red Sox would have to offer Jacoby Ellsbury & either Clay Bucholz or Jon Lester to the Twins for Santana's services. The Dodgers may have the best mix of players available in Chad Billingsley or Clayton Kershaw, Andy LaRoche, Matt Kemp or if Colletti can finds that GM Bill Smith is a sucker, Juan Pierre. A Dodgers trade for Johan is unlikely however as they're looking to improve their offense going forward.

A little side note to the Yankees package. I still don't get why baseball people or the media is buying into the Melky Cabrera hype. Sure Phillip Hughes or Ian Kennedy would be a nice acquisition for the Twins, but Melky & Wilson Betemit or Austin Jackson aren't exactly a worthy return for the former Cy Young winner.

The Angels on the other hand may have exactly what the Twins need in centerfielder Reggie Willits, 2B/SS Sean Rodriguez, 3B Brandon Wood & either SP Ervin Santana or SP Joe Saunders.

Reggie Willits would provide the club with a centerfielder to replace Torii Hunter, a legitimate leadoff hitter that would get on base in front of sluggers Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau & Michael Cuddyer. Sean Rodriguez could plug a hole at 2B or at SS providing some pop at one of the middle infield positions over former Angel, Alexi Casilla or SS Jason Bartlett. Brandon Wood at 3B would be the prize of the package providing the Twins with the 20+ home runs missed by Torii Hunter and solidifying a position of weakness in their organization.

The Twins who are deep in starting pitching in their organization would be tacking on another young starter in either Joe Saunders or Ervin Santana.

If the Angels landed Johan Santana they wouldn't need to trade for Miguel Cabrera or Miguel Tejada as they would keep slugging 2B Howie Kendrick, while replacing Orlando Cabrera's production with Torii Hunter's. Figgins would remain the third baseman (with eyeballs on Dallas McPherson) while Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis battle for the SS job in ST. The offense would improve upon the '07 club as Kotchman, Kendrick and a 2nd half healthy version of Garret Anderson would provide some offensive punch behind Hunter & Guerrero. The club could also tender Juan Rivera a contract providing some offensive depth in case of injury or possible platoon with Garret Anderson at DH/LF.

The Angels could also expand the deal and send Kotchman & a prospect for the 2006 AL MVP in Justin Morneau along with Johan, making it a blockbuster among Blockbuster deals. A report out of a Southern California 570 AM radio station said that Justin Morneau might be headed to Anaheim for Casey Kotchman and Ervin Santana. Morneau a season after his MVP campaign, made only 4.5 million dollars and is said to be frustrated with the Twins in contract talks for an extension. He is however arbitration eligible through 2010 so it would make you wonder why the Twins would do this.

Let's forget about the Morneau talk, Johan Santana was the focus of this article, it's probably a bogus rumor anyhow. Be that as it may, these are the types of things you can expect from the Ninja, so don't be shocked if there is another out of the blue surprise attack coming soon.

One thing is for certain, Johan Santana is a true ace, a #1 starter and would be just the arm the Angels could lean on in the playoffs much like the Boston Red Sox had in Josh Beckett.

Regardless, it's good times as an Angels fan to be discussing possible acquisitions from the likes of Miguel Cabrera or Johan Santana. Sure beats the days of signing Hubie Brooks, Von Hayes, Cecil Fielder, or frenzy board talk after trading JT Snow for Allen Watson. The 2007 AL West Champion Angels are on the verge of putting a beating on opposing AL West foes for the next decade. Good times, good times indeed.
Love to hear what you think!

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Dave Regan said...

Chuck - Why don't the Angels just have the Twins include Francisco Liriano and Joe Mauer along with Santana and Morneau? Shouldn't take much more than Justin Speier and Mike Napoli to get that done.

Chuck Richter said...

Ha, nice David. Actually the Justin Morneau talk was just from a rumor (probably bogus) out of a So. Cal radio station (570 AM). The rumor was posted on our message board in the middle of typing this up.

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