Pitching market heats up
Bedard, Haren moves could follow Santana trade
Posted: Monday December 3, 2007 10:48AM; Updated: Monday December 3, 2007 7:48PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. --Superstar pitcher Johan Santana is still more likely than not to be traded here -- perhaps even by the end of the day Monday -- and once Santana's gone, attention will then turn toward Dan Haren, the A's fine and inexpensive right-hander, and Erik Bedard, who is maybe as talented as any starter outside Santana and maybe Josh Beckett.
The starting pitching market is where it's at down here at the winter meetings.
Speaking about the sometimes overlooked left-hander Bedard, one scout said, "Top five ... he's one the top five starters in the game.''
The Mets' proposed trade for Bedard, apparently made a couple weeks ago, was comprised of outfield prospect Carlos Gomez, pitching prospect Philip Humber and reliever Aaron Heilman and still barely drew a response from Baltimore. Word is, the Orioles aren't in love with Humber. And yet, a Mets person said they believe they are still alive for Bedard.
The Dodgers plus the losers in the Santana Sweepstakes -- the Yankees or Red Sox and likely the Mariners -- could also get involved for Bedard. The Bedard derby could go on for weeks, though, as new Orioles de facto GM Andy MacPhail is, in the words of a competing GM, "as methodical and deliberate as they come.''
Twins people apparently won't have such an option with Santana, as the Yankees set a Monday deadline for the Twins to accept the proposed trade of top young pitcher Phil Hughes, center fielder Melky Cabrera and a third "mid-range' prospect from a list. The Twins acted like the deadline was no big deal, but Red Sox people seem ready to bring this to a head, as well, so Monday may be the day.
While Minnesota says they could still hold onto Santana, most people here believe they will deal him, and if they have any fear that the Yankees will stick to their Monday deadline, they may well have no choice but to make their best trade before Tuesday.
To get the most back, the Twins probably need both the Yankees and Red Sox in the mix since those are two teams that can afford Santana in terms of prospects and money. And just as important, those are two teams he'd waive his trade veto powers to join. If anyone else gets Santana now -- and the Mariners and Dodgers have inquired -- it will be a shocker. Either the Yankees or Red Sox is expected to work out a five- or six-year contract for Santana after completing a trade.
The Yankees remain the favorite since they are needier than Boston, which already has superb starting pitcher. The Yankees' need is so great, in fact, it's hard to believe they are playing hardball. Beyond the Monday deadline, they've told the Twins the third young player going to Minnesota with pitcher Hughes and outfielder Melky Cabrera can't be pitchers Ian Kennedy or Alan Horne or outfielder Austin Jackson.
The Yankees may feel they're already the leaders with Hughes in the mix. So why bid against themselves? The Red Sox have mentioned several good names to the Twins but have yet to combine any of the three top young players requested in tandem -- Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester -- as Minnesota requested.
The Yankees apparently believe they have lead. And thanks to their gambit, they should find out by late Monday whether their hunch is correct.