Getting Johan Santana
Can we get the best pitcher in baseball?
All the reports today make it seem like the Twins are dumb enough to take a pile of second-rate prospects from the Red Sox. Some useful players to be sure, but no high ceiling players, certainly.
Can we top their offer? Almost certainly. A WWW offer (Weaver, Wood, Willits) is better than what has been offered. We could include Ervin Santana just so the Twins fans who bought Santana jerseys don't have to recycle them. That's probably too rich an offer, but one the Angels could afford, in fact it wouldn't hurt the 2008 25 man projected roster at all.
Right now I don't have Wood on the opening day roster. Willits almost certainly would be, but the Angels will have to move Juan Rivera first, unless they can keep 6 outfielders. Santana right now is probably in the pen due to a surplus of starters, and while Weaver is a fine, established starter, Johan replaces him. Right now I have the Angels 25 man roster at just under 120 million.
The players I have are: SP Garland, Lackey, Escobar, Saunders, Weaver
RP: Ervin, Mosely, Oliver, Shields, Speier, K-Rod
C Mathis, Napoli
IF Kotch, Kendrick, Izturis, Figgins, Aybar, Morales, Quinlan
OF Vlad, Hunter, GA, Rivera, Matthews
I'm estimating the contracts for arbitration and other pre-free agency players.
Add Johan (13.3 million), subtract Weaver and Santana (adding Bootcheck into the bullpen) and we're at 130 million. Is this acceptable to Moreno?
What about future years? Santana will get 20-25 million per season. For 2009, Garland, Anderson, Rivera, Quinlan, Oliver, Figgins, and K-Rod will be free agents. That's a lot of money coming off the books. If the Angels needed to cut back payroll, they could get back under 120 million even if Santana is making 25 million that year: Adenhart replaces Garland as the #5 starter, Shields becomes closer with young cheap arms filling in, Kendry Morales becomes the fulltime DH with Vlad-Hunter-Matthews in the OF, and Sean Rodriguez or Dallas McPherson takes over at third. I'm factoring in increase arbitration awards at this point for Howie, Kotch, Napoli, and Maicer.
That's a lot of ifs, and depends on a lot of young players panning out. The team could decide which hole the youngsters are least capable of filling, and either get a free agent 3B, Adam Dunn to DH, or keep K-Rod to close, and stay around 130 million. Or else maybe baseball spending keeps getting crazier, to the point where going to 150 million is no big deal, and the Angels could throw money around to upgrade all those holes.
I don't think getting Santana would be prohibitive. Is it a good baseball move? My gut instinct is yes. Simply there are few times when you have a chance to get a player as great as Santana. When you have the chance, you do it. Last time a player this great was available was 2004 and we got Vlad. The cost isn't really that different, 25 million is the new 15 million. We had too many corner OF then, Salmon had still played well in 2003, GA was coming off an all star season, and we just signed Jose Guillen.
We didn't need another outfielder, just like now we don't need another starter. But if you have a chance to get a Hall-of-Fame caliber player, you do it. I don't think we'll regret it if we do.