Unsuprisingly, today's baseball news is dominated by yesterday's release of the Mitchell Report and how many of the mentioned players had connections to the various teams. However, the Twins did make a move yesterday that has possible implications for the Johan Santana Sweepstakes.
The headline of La Velle E. Neal III's article today is to the point. Following the signing of Adam Everett to play SS, it is "Plan to add offense takes big detour with Everett signing." This virtually guarantees, the Twins will have an awful hitter in the everyday line-up. The move also pushes Brendan Harris to 2B or 3B.
What does the signing mean for the trade package the team will ask for Johan Santana? With SS filled, does it signal the Red Sox are less likely to get Santana because SS Jed Lowrie was the main secondary piece in the Jacoby Ellsbury-led proposal?
"We're trying to fill in some offense in other areas," Twins General Manager Bill Smith said. The areas of offense left to improve upon would be 3B, assuming Harris plays 2B, and CF or DH depending where Jason Kubel lands. Which teams have the goods to deliver upgrades to those positions? The Angels and Dodgers both have 3B to deal in Brandon Wood and Andy LaRoche, respectively. The Angels also have CF Reggie Willits to deal. Could the Mariners, with OFers like Adam Jones and Wladimir Balentien and C/DH Jeff Clement, be dark horses?
There is another road towards improvement that doesn't involve Johan Santana. Mr. Neal also slips in a rumor that the Cubs are interested in closer Joe Nathan if the Twins make him available. If the Twins keep Santana, the Cubs could improve the Twins offense by dealing 2B Eric Patterson and CF Felix Pie.
At the very least, both players would be the early favorites in any Spring Training competions at those positions. Dealing Nathan would also allow the Twins to use its middle relief strength to tap a closer and become more competitve in 2008 by retaining Santana while improving its offense.
Have I read too much into the Everett signing and Nathan rumor?