Mets’ Johan Santana Could Be Deadline Option for Yankees

johan-santanaThe Mets are in trouble. They’re being sued for $1 billion, are trying to sell part of the team just to cover their expenses, took out a $25 million loan back in November and are asking for another one worth at least $10 million now. The team hasn’t improved much, if at all, this offseason and despite having a beautiful new stadium they will be playing in front of a lot of empty seats.

To say their finances are in bad shape is an understatement. They insist their off the field troubles won’t effect their off the field issues, but that’s not the case with teams that need multiple loans just to stay afloat during the offseason. It seems ever more likely that the Wilpon family eventually need to sell the team and it is more possible that they will have to eventually hold a fire sale just to stay afloat before then.

This brings us to Johan Santana. If the Mets are going to dump off some of their more expensive pieces Santana fits this bill pretty well. The problem is that he is overcoming a shoulder surgery that ended his 2010 season. Before they can deal him, Santana will have to prove he is healthy otherwise no other team will want him.

Even if he pitches in a game or two, there is likely to be some performance drop-off due to the surgery and even if there isn’t questions will not be answered about his shoulder. That would make him a cheap option in the sense that he wouldn’t cost a lot of draft picks to obtain. He still would cost a bundle in salary as he’s owed $72 million over the next three years.

That would make any trade rather tricky. If the Mets are going to be looking to move him they’re going to try to get rid of as much salary of his as possible. If the Yankees are interested in him, they probably wouldn’t have to deal much to get him, but the issue will be how much of his salary they take on. A lot of Yankees fans have a head in the sand ‘it’s not my money’ mentality, but in this instance taking on as much as $72 million for a pitcher coming off of shoulder issues would severely limit their financial flexibility if it didn’t work out.

The way the two sides would have to work out a deal Santana would have to come back and pitch well enough to justify a sizable financial risk for the Yankees to take on. On top of that the Mets might also have to swallow a chunk of Santana’s salary so the Yankees aren’t forced to carry the full $72 million. Only if the Mets ate an exceptionally big chunk of his salary would the Yankees have to include any prospects of real value.

This might sound like it is a pretty easy and straightforward deal, but it isn’t. Both sides are going to come to the table with totally different ideas of how to negotiate his salary. There is also the idea to consider that the Yankees and the Mets trade much, or at all. The last trade between these two teams was when Mike Statanton was sent back to the Yankees in December of 2004 for Felix Heredia. They haven’t so much as negotiated on a possible deal since then.

So while it is a possibility that a deal could be worked out between the two sides, it would be extremely complicated and both sides would have to be motivated to do it. The Mets will have to be desperate to move payroll and the Yankees must be desperate to acquire another starter. Even if those are the conditions, a deal still might not get done. We are, after all, talking about a pitcher coming off shoulder surgery who is owed $72 million who might not be much better than Freddy Garcia once he returns to the mound.

What do you think? Would you trust a post shoulder surgery Santana? How much of his salary would the Mets have to eat? Could the two sides even work out a deal?

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.

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10 Responses to Mets’ Johan Santana Could Be Deadline Option for Yankees

  1. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    I agree that the Mets would have to pick up a good chunk of the salary and the Yanks could not give too much in the way of prospects. Also, he has an additional $5.5 million buyout not included in the $72 million mentioned or a $25 million year in 2014 if he hits certain performances.

    Picking him up may allow the Yanks not to have to pay crazy money to keep CC.

  2. Patrick says:

    If I were to set an over/under on the Mets being sold/taken over by MLB, I would take the under. The Wilpons are like Baghdad Bob, insisting that everything is ok and tanks are not rumbling through the city.

  3. I'd much rather see the Yankees overpay CC than overpay Santana at this point. Shoulder surgery is nasty stuff. Santana may never be quite the same pitcher again.

    • Mindkind says:

      Agreed. Let go off CC to pay Santana? That is not a smart baseball decision. At this point I'd pick up Santana to be a nice piece of the rotation, but not to replace CC.

  4. john says:

    He is hurt way too much for that money and what theyd have to give up to get him. that said this is a Cashman special. Get an overpayed oft-injured guy. Like Rob said shoulders are nasty business and hard to comeback from. Pass on the Johan. Have a great night everyone

    • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

      How is he “hurt way too much”? In the past 7 years, he’s averaged 32 starts and 216 innings per season. He’s missed a few games over the last couple of seasons but even with that, paying $16M per season for him (assuming the Mets pick up the rest)is a BARGAIN.

      • john says:

        you have to assume the Mets pickup the rest. that may not happen. I just do not trust Santana. No Thanks he may have made 32 starts a year but its the shoulder. You can never predict what will happen. Look at Garcia he went from front line starter to hanging on almost overnight.

        • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

          Garcia is a borderline has been/never was. He’s never remotely come close to being the type of pitcher Santana has been. And you’re right in that the Mets would have to pick up some of his contract, which I think they would be anxious to do considering they don’t have a great team and they are in a dire financial situation. The only issue is how many other teams would be in line. You’re also very correct in that you can never predict what will happen, which is why I’m becoming more and more abhorrent of the idea of giving CC a huge new deal that will take him into his late 30s.

  5. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    There's no question that Santana is not the same pitcher he once was. But he is still pitching VERY effectively and being able to throw a lot of innings. Would one rather be on the hook for $45-50 million (assuming the Mets pick up a third which they probably will have to) for 3 years or take CC at $140-160 million over 6-7 years? I would personally rather have Santana if the decision were being made in a bubble with no other considerations.

    Much of how I feel about CC and his opt out (regardless of Santana) will depend on how their prospects progress and how well Burnett bounces back and Hughes development.

    • David K. says:

      But keep in mind that Liriano might be obtainable from the Twins. Might as well pass on Santana and give an extra prospect to get Liriano. You know the Twins will trade Liriano either this year or next. It’s beginning to sound like they really want to get rid of him this year. I’d much rather take a chance on Liriano than Santana at this point. Santana’s best days are definitely behind him. His velocity has declined a lot from his salad days in Minn. Although he might end up having a decent year again, the shoulder surgery is a huge question mark. You’d have to see almost a half season to be sure he’s o.k.

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