Intra-City Wars

As baseball’s offseason progresses, it appears more and more likely that two of the game’s best players, Twins ace Johan Santana and Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera, will be traded by their respective teams.  Obviously, the competition among other teams to acquire them will be fierce, but it looks like it will boil down to two intriguing matchups: the Yankees and Mets battling for Santana, and the Angels and Dodgers going toe to toe for Cabrera.

Considering the level of talent it will take to get either player in a trade, no team will trade for these guys unless they cansantana afford to sign him to a long-term deal.  And considering the amount of money it will take to sign them, only a handful of teams are in a position to be involved in these trade talks.  The vast majority of the league has already been eliminated from contention due to a lack of quality prospects, lack of money, or both.

The Yanks appear to be the frontrunner for Santana, as it was widely reported today that they are being quite proactive and are already in ‘preliminary’ discussions with the Twins.  At this point, new Twins GM Bill Smith appears to be sizing up the market for his ace pitcher and figuring out what kind of offers he can expect.  A common rumor has the Yankees giving up Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Melky Cabrera, which would be a fairly impressive haul for Minnesota.  The Twins will also surely be interested in Joba Chamberlain and Robinson Cano, but reports indicate the Yanks will not part with either player.

The other team with the means and the need to make the strongest push for Santana is the Mets.  They will want Santana desperately but a package built around Lastings Milledge will not be enough to beat out the Yankee offer.  The Mets chances may come down to whether or not they are willing to part with 18-year-0ld outfield phenom Fernando Martinez.  There has been indications that they are very reluctant to trade him, but if the difference between getting Santana or not comes down to a far-from-proven 18-year-old, Omar Minaya will be very tempted.

Meanwhile, in LA the Angels and Dodgers have money to spend and, even with the Angel’s addition of Torii Hunter, offenses that could really use the boost Cabrera’s bat would supply.  Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel suggests one possible Angels offer: 2B Howie Kendrick, OF Reggie Willits, C Jeff Mathis, and SP prospect Nick Adenhart.  That would give the Marlins three good, young position players that would be in their Opening Day ’08 lineup, with Dan Uggla moving to third to make room for Kendrick.

cabreraThe Dodgers have been right there with the Angels in discussing their best young, major-league ready talent in a potential deal for Cabrera.  The talks have involved the Dodgers trading OF Matt Kemp, 1B James Loney, 3B Andy LaRoche, and either SP Chad Billingsley or SP prospect Clayton Kershaw.  The Dodgers hiring of a big-name manager like Joe Torre would indicate they are eager to win now, and bringing in Cabrera to a team with a deep starting rotation would go a long way.

With these teams attempting to outbid their nearby neighbors, the stakes are raised higher than they normally would be.  You can imagine an especially tough time for the Yankees or Mets if their cross-town rival brings in the All-World pitcher they so badly wanted.  And the battle for Los Angeles has been going strong since Arte Moreno bought the Angels, opened his big wallet full of cash, and changed the team name to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  The Yankees and Angels appear to be ahead right now and smart money has the two American Leauge teams landing the big prizes.  If so, the 2008 World Series will be a three-horse race between them and the Red Sox.

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5 Responses to Intra-City Wars

  1. Ian says:

    Doubtful the Yanks would move two of the Big Three pitching prospects in any deal or even that the Twins would want that, as their system isnt super rich in hitters…rumblings seem to indicate Melky, Hughes and 21 yr old OF prospect Austin Jackson (call him the Yanks #2 OF prospect) seem to be where negotiations started. Yanks would rather send Kennedy then Hughes, Twins want Yanks #1 OF prospect Jose Tabata if they cant get Hughes in the deal. My guess is Melky, Hughes and Tabata ends up being what they agree on. Then the Yanks sign a CF – Rowand, Andruw Jones, NY Post rumored Arod pal Mike Cameron this morning – to replace Melky and play CF. Jackson wasnt a bigtime prospect until this year when he kind of came from nowhere and flew through the system. The Twins have been hot for him since early last season. Yanks wont discuss Joba or Cano in the proceedings to this point and I doubt that will change.

  2. Doogan says:

    The NY Post mentioned Hughes, Kennedy, and Melky on Monday. I think the Yanks would probably do it, but you’re right, the Twins would probably rather get two bats in the deal. Possible advantage to the Mets with Gomez, Martinez, and Milledge to pick from.

  3. STRI says:

    Not sure where you’re getting your information but the NY media has been reporting for days that the mets aren’t even in the running and that it’s between the yanks (hughes or kennedy or maybe wang + Melky), red sox (Lester and Crisp or Ellsbury), and Dodgers. Also, the mets coming up short has absolutely nothing to do with wanting to hold on to Fernando Martinez. The Twins want at least one young pitcher back and don’t want Pelfrey or Humber so the twins will only make the deal if the mets include reyes, which the team won’t do.

  4. Doogan says:

    This is from on wednesday, the day after I posted this:

    And Keith Law, who writes for and, said this in regards to people doubting the Mets ability to trade for a #1 starter:

    “Ridiculous. I’ve seen that mentioned in some NY papers, and it’s absurd. Carlos Gomez is very highly-rated within the game. Fernando Martinez (who seems to be their one untouchable) is still one of the top 10-12 prospects in the game. Pelfrey hasn’t even turned 24 yet, and he’s still mid-90’s with plus sink. I have no idea why it’s fashionable to bash the Mets young players, but they have plenty of assets to go get another starter. Whether they choose to part with them or not is the question.”

    Not saying you’re wrong, just showing that I’m not completely talking out of my ass.

  5. Ian says:

    From what I have read, seems more likely the Mets might find a match with some of their young players and the A’s for Haren. When Beane told Omar he was no longer crazy for Milledge, the Mets moved him to the Nats for one of the best defensive catchers in the game in Schneider and an upgrade over S. Green in right in Ryan Church. Either Gomez or Martinez with either Pelfrey or Philip Humber seems to be what the Mets are thinking for Haren. Problem for them is, the loser of the Johan sweepstakes (Yanks offering Hughes, Mel and either Austin Jackson or Jose Tabata – now that they have included Hughes over Kennedy they are thought to be the faves, as the Sox wont include Buckholtz or Ellsbury) is gonna go hard after Haren.

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