La Velle E. Neal III runs down what he knows about the state of trade talks involving Johan Santana. First, the leaders are the Red Sox and Yankees with several other teams kicking the tires. He lists the Angels, Mariners and Mets.
The Mets' only chance is to include either SS Jose Reyes or 3B David Wright. Either player is an under-25, MVP candidate, so that isn't likely from the Mets side - Omar Minaya desperation or not.
Mr. Neal also finds the idea of Santana being with the Twins on Opening Day 2008 implausible. Like most pundits, he believes the risk is too high to enter the season with him. I agree. Although the Twins would still get a good package of prospects at the trading deadline, it will be prospects. Not contributing members of a 2008 play-off team!
If Jacoby Ellsbury is leading-off with a .400 OBP or Jon Lester has nine wins, the Red Sox aren't trading them. If the Yankees are starting Melky Cabrera every day and Phil Hughes is a key part fo the rotation, the Yankees aren't trading them. Nevermind, the fact Santana will be a two-month rental at that point. Why risk the Red Sox and Yankees having a strong rotation then and no wanting to extend Santana after watching Lester, Buchholz, Chamberlain, Hughes, and Chamberlain suceeding? What will that do the the package offered?
La Velle believes the Twins will trade closer Joe Nathan after dealing Santana, and this makes perfect sense. The combined package from the Santana winner and the Nathan one, would effectively rebuild the team in a winter's worth of work. Imagine Carlos Marmol and Eric Paterson or Felix Pie along with any of the rumored Red Sox and Yankees offers. GM Bill Smith would be the early leader for GM of the Year.
Click through to see where the Fake Teams' winner of the Best Sportswriter Name believes Johan Santana will ultimately land.