Sad, but true

The Star Tribune's Jim Souhan brings out the truth of the matter: If Johan had wanted to stay in Minnesota, he would still be in Minnesota. In fact, he wanted out. There was never a back-and-forth negotiation between Santana's agent and the Twins after Santana rejected the Twins $90 million offer. Santana had started to make noises about leaving last August, saying he wanted to go to a team determined to win a World Series soon.

I feel jilted.

However, you don't want a guy in a position of wanting out to be on the team causing distractions. Ron Gardenhire had told Twins upper management that he wanted the matter resolved because he didn't want a repeat of last year when he considered constant speculation about Torii Hunter's future, fueled in part by Hunter himself, to be a distraction.

Remember when the Twins traded Frank Viola to the Mets for four prospects (prospects who were much farther along than the ones the Twins are getting for Johan)? Soon, the Twins won a World Series without Viola and with contributions from three of the people they received in the trade, Kevin Tapani, Rick Aguilera, and even to some extent David West.

In Kent Hrbek's book, he makes the point that whatever the Twins got for Viola, it did the team good to get rid of somebody who was already dreaming of playing in New York. It was a distraction to the team. Viola, years later, said his demanding of a trade was a mistake. Tough beans. He wanted to play in New York, and he got his wish.

I really don't think that the Twins got much at all for Santana. These players might just disappear, like most prospects do. The percentages of minor leaguers who make the bigs is very small, and these guys from the Mets minor league system haven't shown anything to justify any hype.

Bill Smith made a good calculation: Never before had the Yankees and Red Sox called a truce when it came to getting the best player on the market. No, they always fought to the finish, handing out bank-breaking contracts and handing over their minor league system if that's what it took.

Sometime a little after Christmas, both the Yankees and the Red Sox started seeing the sense in keeping their own players, promising rookies who might take a while to develop. The end came for the Twins strategy last week when Brian Cashman, Yankees GM, and Theo Epstein, Red Sox GM, appeared on the same stage at a seminar and agreed that grooming younger players was the wiser strategy.

If George Steinbrenner were still on the scene (he is suffering from some form of dementia which comes and goes, but which has forced him out of the decision making), Bill Smith's hopes of playing of the big kahuna's against each other might have worked.

In any case, he got four players for one year of Santana, which is more than the Twins got for Torii Hunter.