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MLB Rumors: Are The Twins Being Low Balled For Johan Santana?

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Over at River Avenue Blues, the Yankees' fans are debating a statement made by David Zingler of The Bleacher Bums, Minnesota Public Radio's baseball blog.  Mr.  Zingler states:

The Big Market Teams (BMT) are low-balling the Twins with offers that won't include another star player (like Jose Reyes or Robinson Cano) or two-top shelf prospects (like Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester). This is a travesty.

The men at River Avenue Blues correctly point out that any team acquiring Johan Santana are simply getting one season of his services in return for multiple 0-3 major leagues and/or nearly-major league players.  That is not all the acquiring team gets though.

The team who pays that price in players also increase their 2008 payrolls by $13MM for Santana's 2008 efforts.  True, that number should be netted against the $380K per player dealt who plays a full season with a major league club, but should we quibble over $11.5MM or $13MM?

Other than the fact that difference represents 10% of the Florida Marlins' 2008 payroll, it really means little.  Even the Twins are expected to have a payroll in the $50MM range if they deal Johan.  That would be 3% or so.  Given the Twins committments of $2.8MM to Adam Everett, $3.5MM to Mike Lamb and $3.82MM to Craig Monroe, I cannot be convinced otherwise that the $1.5MM is meaningful in this discussion.  otherwise, why spend that kind of dough on players whose prior teams didn't even want them?

Also, the winning team gets the right to bid against themsleves to pay the richest contract ever awarded a starting pitcher before that pitcher throws one pitch in the final year of his current deal.  Who bears that risk and where is it priced into the deal?

The Twins are asking a ton - four players by the latest count - for a pitcher they have no chance of extending on a team that has little chance of making the play-offs in 2008.  Two draft picks in the 2009 draft plus $11.5MM plus the risk Santana gets hurt during the 2008 season is not the equivalent of Phil Hughes/Melky Cabrera/Jeff Marquez/4th player or Jacoby Ellsbury/Jon Lester/Jed Lowrie/Justin Masterson.


Is my risk assessment wrong?

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