Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Minnesota finally pulls trigger, deals Santana to Mets

NEW YORK ? Johan Santana is a contract extension and
physical from going to the New York Mets.

After months of deliberation, the Twins reached a
tentative agreement Tuesday to part with the two-time Cy Young Award winner for
outfielder Carlos Gomez, and pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin
Mulvey, two people familiar with the deal said, speaking on condition of
anonymity because no announcement had been made.

“If it’s true, obviously, you’re getting arguably the
best pitcher in the game,” Mets third baseman David Wright said.

The next step is for the Mets to negotiate a contract
extension with Santana, who is eligible for free agency after this season. The
three-time All-Star is owed $13.25 million this year and likely will seek an
extension of five-to-seven years? worth at least $20 million annually.

New York and Santana have until 5 p.m. EST Friday to reach
an agreement, a baseball official told The Associated Press, also on condition
of anonymity. If the Mets and Santana strike a deal, the players would have to
pass physicals and the pitcher would have to formally waive his no-trade

The Mets emerged as the top candidate for a trade after
the winter meetings, when the New York Yankees withdrew their offer, which
included pitchers Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, and the Red Sox refused to
improve their proposals, which would have sent pitcher Jon Lester or outfielder
Jacoby Ellsbury to the Twins along with prospects.


Minnesota general manager Bill Smith called teams last
weekend and asked them to make their best offers. Smith informed the Mets on
Tuesday that he was accepting their proposal, which included their Nos. 2, 3, 4
and 7 prospects, according to Baseball America’s ranking. New York did not
include its top farmhand, outfielder Fernando Martinez.

A left-hander who turns 29 in March, Santana gives the
Mets a replacement for Tom Glavine, who left New York to return to the Atlanta
Braves. New York, trying to bounce back from a record-setting September collapse
last season, has a projected rotation that also includes Pedro Martinez, John
Maine, Orlando Hernandez and Oliver Perez.

Santana is 93-44 with a 3.22 ERA in eight major league
seasons, winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2004 and 2006. He has been less successful
in the playoffs, going 1-to-3 with a 3.97 ERA.

“For our younger pitchers to develop under a guy like
Pedro, a guy like Johan, you can’t ask for any better situation,” Wright
said. “He’s going to go out there, and he’s going to give you seven or eight
innings every five days, and he’s going to get you a win. That’s just what it
comes down to. I’ve gotten a chance to get to know him a little bit the past
couple years. He seems like a great clubhouse guy. He’s going to fit in
perfectly with the chemistry that we have.”

With Santana gone, there is a big opening in the Twins’
rotation. Francisco Liriano is on track to return after missing last season
following elbow surgery, but Carlos Silva signed with Seattle as a free agent,
leaving youngsters Scott Baker, Boof Bonser and Kevin Slowey as the starters
with the most experience.

Humber, a 25-year-old right-hander, has made one start and
four relief appearances for the Mets during the past two years, and went 11-9
with a 4.27 ERA last season for Triple-A New Orleans. The 22-year-old Gomez
batted 0.232 in 125 at-bats with New York last year and 0.275 with 19 steals in
the minors.

Guerra, who turns 19 in April, was 2-6 with a 4.01 ERA at
Class A St. Lucie, and Mulvey, who will be 23 in May, was 12-10 with a 3.20 ERA
in 26 starts at Double-A Binghamton and one at New Orleans.

The tentative agreement was first reported by USA Today on
its website.

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