Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bedard/Santana Trades Are Win-Win For Sox

If you're a regular reader here, you know how I felt about the proposed trade for Santana. I didn't like it. So it was with great relief yesterday when I heard that the Mets had landed him.

But it made me curious: why would the Twins take four non-MLB-ready players, none of whom has big upside, over the packages the Sox and Yankees were offering? By all accounts, these offers included four MLB-ready players each, with at least two huge prospects in each deal. Why would they do that?

Here's my conspiracy theory: the Sox and Yanks didn't really have any deals on the table. Here's how it worked: Epstein calls the Twins GM and says, "Look, I don't really want to give up all these guys, but I want the Yankees to think that I'm willing to. So we'll leak a report that we're willing to give up these 5 guys and you say you're considering it. It's a win-win, because you can go to the Yankees and see if you can get something better."

Then Brian Cashman calls and says, "Listen, I'd like to leak a report that we're willing to give up a better package of players than the Red Sox and we want you to say you're considering. It's a win-win, because you can go to the Red Sox and see if you can get something better."

So for about three months they sparred back and forth, hoping the other team would give up a bigger package of prospects and the $120 million or so it'll take to sign him. In the end, Santana ended up going to the National League, which benefited both teams.

And now it appears that Erik Bedard, one of my favorite pitchers, is going to the Mariners. To me, sending Santana to the NL and Bedard to the AL West is a huge gain for the Sox. These guys are two of the best pitchers in the AL and combine to average three wins per season against the Sox. Getting rid of them and replacing them with average to below average pitchers should increase the Sox win total. In theory.

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