Recently I asked the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dan Graziano about a realistic scenario under which the Yankees could acquire Johan Santana. His take was a bit different than the standard packages we’ve been hearing. The Yankees have already had talks with the Twins and are expected to make a strong offer.
MLBTR: Give us your take on a reasonable trade package for Johan Santana that the Yankees would consider offering and the Twins would consider accepting.
Dan Graziano: The Twins will need at least one good, proven, major-league player and a couple of prospects in exchange if they decide to deal Santana. Many people have suggested that the Yankees would need to include Robinson Cano in a deal, and that’s certainly possible. But the Twins have a
young player (Alexi Casilla) they believe can play second base, and their greater need may be in the outfield, especially with Torii Hunter now gone off to Anaheim.
To that end, Melky Cabrera might be more appealing to the Twins than Cano. Let’s assume the Yankees don’t want to include Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes in the deal (though Santana might be the only player for whom they’d consider dealing one of those guys), and that Brian Cashman also wants to hold onto Ian Kennedy. The next best pitcher in the Yankees’ system is probably Alan Horne. I’m thinking the Yankees could offer a package of Cabrera, Horne and outfield prospect Jose Tabata for Santana. That could be appealing to the Twins, though they might ask for a better pitcher than Horne (or another, such as Marquez, in addition to him), though it would depend on the packages being offered by other interested teams such as the Mets and Red Sox.
The thing to remember in dealing with the Twins, however, is that they might not always be after the prospects everybody knows about. The Twins pride themselves on being able to identify and acquire big-time prospects at the Class A level. Players who have come to the Twins’ system at the A-ball level over the years include Jason Bartlett, Lew Ford and Joe Mays, as well as Johan Santana himself and a skinny little hitter whose name at the time was David Arias but later changed his last name to Ortiz and went on to achieve some measure of fame with the Boston Red Sox.
Earlier this year, when the Mets and Twins were talking trade for Luis Castillo, we were trying to figure out who the Mets might have to give up. We were thinking of usual suspects like Kevin Mulvey and Phil Humber, but the Twins ended up dealing Castillo for AA catcher Drew Butera and Class A outfielder Dustin Martin. These were guys I didn’t know much about, but I’m not going to be surprised if Dustin Martin ends up being a good big-leaguer someday. The Twins’ scouts can spot talent when it’s very young. So there may be some players in the Yankees’ system (and in those of other interested teams) that the Twins would like and we don’t even know about yet.