Now that the whole A-Rod contract is kind of sorted out, and there’s nothing new on the Miggy front, I guess Johan Santana would be the top chip on the trading block. He’s a free agent at the end of the season, which puts new GM Bill Smith in the toughest of spots. Does heÂ trade Johan now, during the season, or not at all?
You’re likely to get more for him now than you would during the season because the team that acquires him will have a full season of Santana starts, rather than a half-season. But letting Santana goes is the same thing as flushing the season down the drain. Trading him at the deadline would net you a lot in return because he could easily put any contender over the edge, and even mean win a World Series win for the right team. But trading him at the deadline also means you’re giving up on the second half of the season, which could be a mistake, given what the Rockies showed us this year.
I think I would hang onto Johan as long as possible if I’m Minnesota. With Francisco Liriano coming back this year, the Twins have the potential to be a contender. If Liriano’s anywhere near his form of two years ago, you’re talking about winning 50-55 ballgames that he and Johan start. Adding in Matt Garza, Boof Bonser, and maybe Kevin Slowey to the mix, you’re dealing with a pretty good staff. Sure they lost Hunter and their offense took a step back last year, but it won’t take many runs to win games with those pitchers on the hill.
I’ll say this much for Minnesota: trading Johan now isn’t the end of the world. It would only mean the end of playoff contention for the Twins for the next three to four years. Hunter’s gone, Johan soon to follow, and Nathan shortly thereafter. Maybe Minnesota only has the money to keep Mauer. They have a new ballpark opening soon, but what will be playing in it? The future does not look bright for the Twins. Keep Santana this year — it’s now or never.