December 26, 2007

Mid-day update: Twins lowering return demands for Santana?

Hello everyone! Hope you guys all had a great few days spent (hopefully) with friends and family. It's definitely the best time of the year. Now on to baseball...

According to the New York Times, the Twins are no longer demanding pitcher Ian Kennedy in a trade for Johan Santana that would likely involve center fielder Melky Cabrera and pitcher Phil Hughes. Insead, the report states that the Twins will probably go back to the offer that the Yankees (reportedly) offered at the Winter Meetings that would include both Cabrera and Hughes, along with another pitcher named Jeff Marquez. It's unsure if a player would also be involved as the first (rumored) offer also involved shortstop/third baseman Mitch Hilligoss as well.

This is not a bad deal by any means, so Twins fans should not be alarmed by this. Honestly, I new the Twins would likely be the team to lower their demand as I thought that the Yankees including Kennedy along with Hughes (with no other players) was still a bit of a stretch.

Readers know that I'm very high on Phil Hughes and I also am fond of Melky Cabrera as well. I'm not that high on Marquez, but he is a fairly good, young pitcher who could be ready to taste his first experience in the Big Leagues sometime later this season. Both Hughes & Cabrera would likely start the season in the starting rotation/lineup.

I'm not sure about the Twins demanding another player besides Marquez. I think Hillgoss would be a good addition, although I think the Yankees may try to "pawn" off a high-salary player such as Hideki Matsui or Kei Igawa on us instead. Now, I doubt they'd just add Matsui if Marquez was already involved, and I'm not even sure what the Twins would plan on doing with him, but it is a known fact that the Yankees would like to shed some salary before or as they acquire Santana.

However, another bit of speculation on my part. If the Twins really are lowering their demand, they should ask for Edwar Ramirez who would be a great addition to our bullpen if we wanted to later explore a deal with Joe Nathan. In 268.1 innings pitched in the minors, Ramirez has a great 12.19 K/9 ratio. He also has a respectable 2.85 BB/9 ratio to go along with his 2.45 ERA. He pitched a little for the Yankees in '07, but had an 8.14 ERA in 21.1 innings pitched. He did however manage to strike out 31 batters as he struggled.

This is a very interesting development and it's making me a little excited about the prospect of bringing in Hughes, who I think would be a very good replacement for Santana.

Stay tuned, nothing "officially" can happen until after the New Year as the Major League offices are closed through the holidays, but we may be getting closer to a potential deal. Another thing is we all need to take these things with a grain of salt as it seems like every day a new scenario is arising in these trade talks. But this does make a little sense.