Yankees Rumors & News
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As the Red Sox rode their ace starter all the way to a World Series victory the Yankees were at home wondering what happened to their “ace” against Cleveland.

Johan SantanaJosh Beckett led the Red Sox through the playoffs going 4-0 while allowing 2 or fewer runs each time out. In contrast Chien-Ming Wang pitched 5.2 innings and allowed 12 runs in two starts.

It may not be fair to apply the ace label on Wang, but in reality he is the front-end of the Yankees rotation. Combine that with the fact that the Yankees are going to rely on three pitchers under the age of 25 to get the bulk of their innings next season and even Hank Steinbrenner admits next season is a transition year.

But we all know that he can’t be serious. For the Yankees it has always been about the World Series and never about rebuilding. Now facing the possibility that things may get even worse if Andy Pettitte decides to retire next season the Yankees entered into talks with the Twins about bringing their ace, Johan Santana, to New York on Monday according to ESPN.

“I don’t want to get into that at this point, as far as what they want, what we’re willing to give and all that,” Steinbrenner told ESPN. “It’s preliminary right now.”

It may be preliminary, but they are likely going to ask for Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera among other prospects according to Sports Illustrated. The Twins are said to not be interested in Wang, at least according to the NY Daily News.

Who the Yankees are ultimately willing to part with has yet to be seen. It might include Joba Chamberlain even though they insist he is untouchable, but Cabrera is likely to be involved in any deal that does happen. This is due to the hole that Minnesota now has since the departure of their all-star centerfielder Torii Hunter.

“If we make a trade for anybody, it’s going to be fair for both sides,” Steinbrenner told the NY Times. “We’re not looking to rob anybody. We’re also not going to give up all of our future for one player, even if it is a pitcher.”

Melky CabreraIt’s not like the Yankees don’t have options to replace Cabrera either. Johnny Damon could easily play next year in center which would put Hideki Matsui back in left. If they don’t want to risk having two injury prone players in their outfield they could sign one of the available free agent centerfielders, Mike Cameron, Aaron Rowand, or Andruw Jones.

Things become slightly complicated because of Santana has a full no trade clause in his contract. After a deal with any team is reached he would probably require an extension to waive the clause, which is likely to be for about six years and at least $25 million per season. It is scary to think that the Yankees could have over $50 million a year tied up between two players (Alex Rodriguez being the other) on their roster, but it is unlikely this will keep the Yankees from making the deal.

The Yankees are obviously not the only team interested in acquiring the soon to be 29-year old lefty, but both Los Angeles teams seem to be pursuing offense more aggressively. The Mets are involved, but might have to part with Jose Reyes in order to become serious contenders and also seem to be targeting Oakland starters Dan Haren and Joe Blanton instead. The only other real threat to acquire Santana is the Boston Red Sox who have also entered into talks with the Twins according to the Boston Herald.

Whatever happens it is not likely to take place until after the winter meetings which end December 6. Any deal that does go down is likely to surprise fans in one way or another. A team may decided that it has to have him and offer the Twins a package they can’t refuse, but at the same time trading for Santana doesn’t even guarantee that a team gets 34 starts out of him which may cause offers to be smaller than expected.

And of course there is still a chance, however small and unlikely, that he signs an extension with Minnesota.

Rob Abruzzese’s articles can also be read In The Dirt

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