Thursday, December 27, 2007
Mets among teams reportedly still alive in Santana sweepstakes
By Jayson Stark ESPN.com
The Twins continue to stay in contact with the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets and Mariners about a Johan Santana deal. But those talks have moved so slowly it's now possible a Santana trade may not get done "for several weeks," according to one source with knowledge of the discussions.
The most surprising aspect of those talks to some baseball people is that the Mets remain in the mix. It may be because the Twins would like to move Santana to the National League if possible. But while the Mets have made a four-for-one offer built around center fielder Carlos Gomez, indications are that the teams remain far apart.
It's believed the Mets offered Gomez, two of their three best young pitchers (Mike Pelfrey, Phil Humber and Kevin Mulvey) and another prospect for Santana earlier this month. But according to one source who has spoken with the Mets, the Twins want the Mets "to rip up their whole farm system" for Santana.
Another source said he believes the Twins countered by asking for all three pitchers, along with Gomez and much-ballyhooed outfield prospect Fernando Martinez. The Twins originally asked for Jose Reyes. But one baseball man with knowledge of those talks says that possibility was dismissed "a long time ago."
The Yankees' last bid was also a four-for-one offer that would have included Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, pitching prospect Jeff Marquez and a fourth prospect that the teams never settled on. That offer isn't currently on the table. But those talks could be revived if Hank Steinbrenner pushes the Yankees back into active discussions.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, haven't budged on their offer of Jon Lester, Coco Crisp, pitching prospect Justin Masterson and shortstop Jed Lowrie. And the Mariners are still viewed as a longshot because Santana appears reluctant to sign an extension that would tie him to Seattle long term.
The Twins are now telling other teams that they may hold Santana until spring training to get the package they want. But it's also possible at some point that Santana and his agents may step in and say that if a deal isn't completed sooner, he may no longer be willing to waive his no-trade clause.
So for now, the biggest prospective deal of the offseason remains stuck in quicksand. And that won't change until one of these teams flinches.
Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com. His new book, "The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History," has been published by Triumph Books and now is available in bookstores. Click here to order a copy. The Associated Press contributed to this report.