|New York Mets, Minnesota Twins reach tentative deal for Johan Santana|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 29 January 2008 13:16|
After months of deliberation, the Twins agreed to part with the two-time Cy Young Award for outfielder Carlos Gomez, and pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey, two people familiar with the deal said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made.
``If it's true, obviously, you're getting arguably the best pitcher in the game,'' Mets third baseman David Wright said.
The next step is for the Mets to negotiate a contract extension with Santana, who is eligible for free agency after this season. The three-time All-Star is owed $13.25 million this year and likely will seek an extension of at least five years worth $20 million annually.
Teams are given 72-hour windows to reach agreements on contracts in tentative trades. If the Mets and Santana reach an agreement, players would have to pass physicals and the pitcher would have to formally waive his no-trade clause.
The Mets emerged as the top candidate for a trade after the winter meetings, when the New York Yankees withdrew their offer, which included pitchers Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, and the Red Sox refused to improve their proposals, which included pitcher Jon Lester or outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and prospects.
Twins general manager Bill Smith called teams last weekend and asked them to make their best offers. Smith informed the Mets on Tuesday that he was accepting their proposal.
A left-hander who turns 29 in March, Santana gives the Mets a replacement for Tom Glavine, who left New York to return to the Atlanta Braves. New York's rotation also includes Pedro Martinez, John Maine, Orlando Hernandez and Oliver Perez.
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.
e gotten a chance to get to know him a little bit the past couple years. He seems like a great clubhouse guy. He's going to fit in perfectly with the chemistry that we have.''
With Santana gone, there is a big opening in the Twins' rotation. Francisco Liriano is on track to return after missing last season following elbow surgery, but Carlos Silva signed with Seattle as a free agent, leaving youngsters Scott Baker, Boof Bonser and Kevin Slowey as the starters with the most experience.
Humber, a 25-year-old right-hander, has made one start and four relief appearances for the Mets during the past two years, and went 11-9 with a 4.27 ERA last season for Triple-A New Orleans. The 22-year-old Gomez batted .232 in 125 at-bats with New York last year and .275 with 19 steals in the minors.
The tentative agreement was first reported by USA Today on its Web site.
AP Baseball Writer Mike Fitzpatrick in New York and AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell in Minneapolis contributed to this report.