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Santana Sweepstakes

The contest for Johan Santana has broken down to a two team race. And when you know the final result of the deal will be paying a guy over 20 million a year, the Red Sox and Yankees are involved.

The initial offer from the Yankees was Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera, and one or two propspects.

The Red Sox first offered Jon Lester, Coco Crisp and prospects.

Since, the Minnesota Twins have been bouncing back and forth between the Red Sox and Yankees, each time the deals being upped. The Twins stance of wanting two high level prospects hasn’t changed. But as of yet, neither club has offered two.

The Red Sox have said they are willing to offer Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, or Jacoby Ellsbury but not two of them. Similarly the Yankees are willing to offer Ian Kennedy, Philip Hughes, or Robinson Cano but not two of them.

In the most recent developments, the Red Sox offer has been clarified in being Jon Lester, Coco Crisp, minor league SS Jed Lowrie and a 4th prospect. The Yankees have since changed there offer from including Ian Kennedy to Philip Hughes. This the Twins said would give them a competitive offer to the Red Sox.

Today, the Twins and Red Sox are meeting to discuss their Santana deal further.

If The Red Sox were to include Buchholz or Ellsbury they would definitely be in lead for Santana and be the preferable deal. The Yankees could then counter with including Ian Kennedy also. Hank Steinbrenner has said he wouldn’t include both in a deal. But he has already said he won’t do something this off-season and flip-flopped, ala A-Rod. This bidding war looks far from over. Look for these deals to get a lot closer over the Winter meetings.

As far as the money goes, Santana holds a no-trade clause and would only agree to be traded if he could get 5-7 years between 20-25 million dollars. Johan wants 25 million dollars but it’s expected the deal can be talked down. Also the shorter the deal the more money would be expected. If it were 5 years its expected to be around 25 million. If it were extended to 7 years a 20 million dollar average would be expected. Luckily both the Yankees and Red Sox won’t have much of a problem extending it to a pitcher of Santana’s caliber.

My bet is the Yankees end up getting Johan. The Yankees can take more of a hit in the prospect side and money side. If they have to give away their prospects they can just fill them with expensive FA guys. And they definitely wouldn’t have a problem paying Johan Santana whatever he wants. It’s what another club would give him anyway. It all has to do with money. An with the Yankees already being a powerhouse, it’s only going to get worse for baseball when the Yankees move into their new stadium in 2009.

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