Frankly, I’m surprised with the weather considering all the hot air emanating from the good folks in MLB. Here are some Chinook type blasts of recent days (daze?):
"I've felt we had a deal with them twice."--Angels owner Arte Moreno ripping the Florida Marlins for not finishing a deal for third baseman Miguel Cabrera.
"We'll see how it goes, but this is not an act. It's not a bluff. It's just reality, because as much as I want Santana, and you can make that clear -- for his sake, to know that I do want him -- but the fact is that I'm not going to play the game. We've made them the best offer. And at this point, it's not going to get any better. So they can decide. At this point, it's up to them. I don't think they want to lose us in this thing, obviously. Nobody wants to lose the Yankees in a negotiation."--Hank Steinbrenner on the Johan Santana trade negotiations
"We need to get things straightened out, and not wait around for them to run back to Boston and back to us, and then back to Boston, I'm not going to do that."--see above
While Yankees' deadline may not mean much, I'm thinking Santana's little backhand (stating he will veto any deal after the season is underway) will sting a bit. Mr. Santana is playing some bare-knuckle hardball with the Twinkies to force their hand, taking away the leverage they might have to simply tell other teams they're more than happy to kick back and wait until the trade deadline. If I'm the unholy trinity (Yankees/Red Sox/Mets), I know that threat now isn't worth the carbon-dioxide exhaled making the statement.
A source inside Johan Santana’s laundry has implied that Santana will veto any trade not to the Yankees or Red Sox coupled with a minimum six year extension (shouldn’t he be seeing a doctor or something about those type of side effects? He ain’t Scott Boras y’know). Since the lefty turned down a four year/$80 million offer from the Twins, it’s pretty obvious that he’s looking above the $20 million per neighbourhood.
To me, saying you’ll nix a trade to anybody but the Evil Empires (episode I and II) and insisting on a six-plus year contract north of $20 million per strikes me as a mite redundant.
Another source, seen frequently in Santana's bathroom mirror, has also stipulated that he will also axe a trade deadline deal. Here Santana is pulling a Ken Griffey Jr. (remember him?) trying to force the Twins to trade him post haste while tying Minnesota’s front office hands. He has dramatically increased the two-headed financial hydra’s leverage by structuring a scenario where it is now or never. It lessens the need for both clubs to include their crown jewels in any trade package knowing that the Twins’ choices consist of accepting the players offered or taking the draft picks after Santana becomes a free agent.
The only thing the Twins can hope for is that one of the two bidders will include a jewel simply to keep the other club from getting him. The Yankees have set Monday as the deadline for a Santana deal which means that the drop dead date will be today, December 10, December 17, December 24, December 31, January 7 … but it will be on a Monday; ol’ Hank wouldn’t lie to you.
Of course, both clubs have viable fallbacks with the loser becoming front-runners in the Danny Haren/Erik Bedard sweepstakes. Further, the Crimson Hose have opened a dialogue with the Milwaukee Brewers regarding Ben Sheets. It would be in poor taste to write that Boston will ‘Sheet’ themselves if the pinstriped empire land Santana so I won’t go there.
Meanwhile, with all this activity going on in Nashville, keep your eye open for J.P. Ricciardi as he will doubtlessly be enjoying a good scratch including the difficult to reach places in the meantime. Once that task is accomplished to his satisfaction he can be expected to yawn, stretch, use the loo and see if he can download any Shania Twain tunes into his laptop while waiting for the next Royce Clayton to fall into his lap. Should such a deal not materialize he will spend any remaining time playing rock-paper-scissors by himself until the meetings wrap up. He’ll return to Toronto saying that while nothing he planned had materialized, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be a deal between now and opening day. Even if that doesn’t happen, he likes the Jays chances in 2008 regardless.
Getting back to Arte Moreno’s remark about the Marlins seemingly reneging on a couple of deals for Miguel Cabrera, I can’t help but wonder if there’s any validity to it. It doesn’t strike me as something GM Larry Beinfest would do but it sure smells like the work of Jeffrey Loria and/or David Samson (either that more my big black Lab just broke wind again). The alleged packages sounded reasonable enough so I wonder what’s holding it up?
I like the idea of the future Cabba the Hutt protecting Vladdy Guerrero in the Angels lineup. It offers a certain symmetry--two clubs with an all-world talent (the Expos and Marlins), run by idiots and urinating of the fan base in an attempt to drive a franchise into oblivion trying to secure hundreds of millions of dollars not belonging to them. In both cases, both end up in a nice market where they can’t do a lot of damage to the Blue Jays and Phillies.
This smells like the work of the craptastic duo (or my Lab just detonated another digestive chemical weapon) at any rate.
The Raine(s) Men…
Tom Tango’s work continues on Tim Raines - Hall of Fame, 2008. So far, our “Dweeb Team” has the following members (from the sites “About the Authors” page):
The Hardball Times' John Brattain can also be read at Sympatico/MSN Sports where more likely than not, he'll be complaining about the Toronto Blue Jays. John's work has also been featured at HardballTimes.com, About.com, MLBtalk, ESPN Insider, Yankees.com, Replacement Level Yankee Weblog, TOTK.com, Bootleg Sports, Baseball Prospectus, The Baseball Analysts and The Baseball Journals. You can hear him every Wednesday at 4:40 PM EST on ESPN 1450's The Mike Gill Show. He also is a frequent guest on The Jed Donahue Show on WTKT-AM 1460.
Craig Burley is a full-time attorney and spare-time baseball researcher, blogger and writer who has been a staff writer for Baseball Think Factory, the Hardball Times, and Batter's Box Interactive Magazine. He was a longtime Expos fan and is currently writing a book comparing the cultures of baseball and cricket.
Jonah Keri is a writer for ESPN.com and a contributor to multiple other publications, including Investor's Business Daily, the New York Times, the New York Sun, YESNetwork.com and Salon.com. He's also the editor and co-author of "Baseball Between the Numbers: Why Everything You Know About the Game Is Wrong". You can reach him at email@example.com.
Tom M. Tango (aka Tangotiger), co-author of The Book—Playing The Percentages In Baseball, runs the Tango on Baseball website, where one will find a large number of research pieces devoted to sabermetrics. His inspirations have been Pete Palmer and Bill James, and is thankful for the generosity of Retrosheet and Baseball1 in providing data to the public. He works as a consultant for major league teams in hockey, and has worked as one in baseball. Born and raised in Canada, he now resides in New Jersey with his family.
If you’d like to join the effort, drop us a line. Many hands make Tim Raines a Hall of Famer (we hope). I have still got a Raines column in the hopper at MSN Canada--I’ll post the link when it goes live--hopefully soon.