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Mets, Twins agree to Santana trade

Extension will seal deal for two-time Cy Young winner

Posted: Tuesday January 29, 2008 4:35PM; Updated: Tuesday January 29, 2008 9:30PM
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Johan Santana
Originally considered a darkhorse for Johan Santana, the Mets beat out the Red Sox and Yankees for Minnesota's ace.
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By Jon Heyman, SI.com

The Mets and Twins have tentatively agreed to a trade that would send star pitcher Johan Santana to New York, contingent upon the Mets agreeing with Santana on a multiyear deal, SI.com has confirmed.

The Mets agreed to send young outfielder Carlos Gomez plus pitching prospects Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra to Minnesota, providing they can lock up the two-time Cy Young award-winning Santana to a multiyear deal and he waives his no-trade veto powers.

The Mets now have a 72-hour window -- until 5 p.m. ET Friday -- to try to negotiate a long-term deal with Santana. People familiar with the Mets' thinking say they'd like to keep it to a five-year contract, while Santana is believed to be seeking a deal for six or seven years at more than $20 million per year. However, there appears to be optimism that a contract can be agreed to, possibly by giving Santana a high annual salary.

At the annual Baseball Assistance Team fundraising dinner Tuesday night in New York, Mets GM Omar Minaya wouldn't say much.

"It's out there, but the bottom line is that we're trying to look at ways at improving our club," Minaya told The Associated Press. "That's all I'm going to be able to say about it right now."

Santana is to make $13.25 million in 2008, as provided in his Twins contract, and might be amenable to a five-year extension on top of that, should the money be right. If the Mets add five years at $24 million a year, that would bring Santana's total package to $133 million, which is more than Barry Zito's record $126-million deal.

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 1-3 with a 3.97 ERA.

The Mets have been desperately seeking a No. 1 pitcher. The acquisition of Santana would give them that, and also a reason to forget the team's memorable collapse in 2007. With Santana, the Mets would have a projected rotation that also includes Pedro Martinez, John Maine, Orlando Hernandez and Oliver Perez.

"They have to sign him,'' one competing executive said. "How can they not sign him?''

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