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What's Too Much for Johan Santana?

I've speculated before that if Johan Santana leaves the Twins without a serious contract offer, that Carl Pohlad should never leave his house again. Ever. And if he has a butler or something, he probably needs to try to get someone he trusts to build a robotic one. And put a 25 ft electric fence around the border of his property. And dig a moat. But he shouldn't dig it himself, because someone in a tree just outside the fence with a rifle will shoot him.

All that aside, a survey of Twins blogs should make you aware that fans of that team are as knowledgeable if not moreso than any other fanbase in the league. Aaron Gleeman, SB Nation's own Twinkie Town and Stick and Ball Guy are just three examples. Would the fanbase as a whole be accepting of a Santana-free roster in return for a king's/fool's ransom of prospects in return? I can't answer that question, but I thought it'd be fun for all of us to speculate on the kind of package the Sox might have to send to the Twins if he were on the block this winter.

According to Buster Olney via MLBTR, it would take "three prospects plus a young big leaguer" to get a deal done. In order to minimize fan dissonance, I have to assume that the Twins probably aren't interested in anyone below AA, though I would guess Lars Anderson might still come up in conversations. Most of our best prospects are pitchers, which is a lot like the Twins situation. However, acquiring some of ours means they could mix and match, keep who they want and use the others to try to acquire position talent from the Devil Rays or something. Now I'm getting ahead of myself.

Red Sox prospects that have value to other teams:

  • Clay Buchholz, SP: Obvious reasons here. A good young SP with less mileage on his arm than most other 23 year olds.
  • Michael Bowden, SP: Have to be fair and say his stock has fallen a bit. However, he doesn't turn 21 until September, and he has struck out 45 in his last 50 2/3 at the AA-level.
  • Justin Masterson, SP: Will turn 23 in March next year. He has had a couple rough starts lately for Portland (both 5 IP, 8 or more H, 2 BB, and 7+ER). Hopefully this is just hurried market correction, because he's still got 51 Ks in 49 IP, almost 4 GBs for every FB, and a 1.04 WHIP. Unless he puts up a few more stinkers, he's probably past Bowden for the moment.
  • Jed Lowrie, SS/2B: Jed has hit for power and average at Pawtucket, at near the same clips he did in the Eastern League. However, he's only walked 5 times in just under 110 PAs. His track record suggests this skill will return. With Jason Bartlett coming into his own, he'd probably fill the 2B hole for the Twins if included.
  • Lars Anderson, 1B: A hitting line of .290/.384/.447 is very encouraging for the not-yet 20 year old. Have to assume the slugging will rise as his body continues to fill out. It is hard to see how he'd fit in the Twins future with Morneau blocking him at 1B, though presumably he'd make a pretty good DH in a couple of years. He could also be hung onto for a year or so and then flipped.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury, CF: What's lacking from Ellsbury is anything resembling power. I would have thought his speed would turn some of his singles into doubles, but that hasn't happened yet. Nonetheless, he's a legitimate top of the order option with his patience and speed (30 for 36 in SBs, 83% success rate), and can run down anything in the outfield.
Young Big Leaguers:
  • Coco Crisp, CF: I won't bore you with stats, though looking through them makes it quite clear that a few ML CFs are in a class of their own defensively, and Coco is one of them. He's slumped a bit the last couple of weeks, but his 2nd half batting line suggests that he's getting back to being the player he was in Cleveland, finally. (.283/.366/.394)
  • DP, 2B: Perish the thought, right? Well, when looking at the Sox roster for Young Big Leaguers, he fits the bill. Pedroia's batting line: .324/.394/.447 is impressive for his rookie season, though despite his obvious skill and fan-favorite status, I doubt very much that he'd be labeled as untouchable.
  • Kevin Youkilis, 1B/3B: It's that second position that's important, as Youks certainly wouldn't supplant Justin Morneau at 1B. He's been horrid in the 2nd half (.209/.325/.328), though thankfully still walking enough not to cause a lot more PT for Eric Hinske. This one seems unlikely because his 2nd half stats are there for everyone to see, and filling both the 3B and 1B holes this winter seems unlikely. Also not as young (29 to begin next season) as he seems sometimes.
If Olney is correct, then I have to think that Buchholz, Bowden OR Masterson, Lowrie, and Crisp would be the likely package going to Minnesota. Worth it to us? To them? Are those 4 players worth potentially only one season of Santana? Will they trade him at all anyway?

Your potential packages and answers to my questions in the comments.

P.S. One more question: Did I unfairly leave Brandon Moss out of the conversation?

[editor's note, by Allen Chace] There is a game story for last night, but I wanted to see if there was any more interest in this topic.