Pretty good article about the Johan Santana trade talks Why won't anyone pony up for Johan Santana? By Sean Deveney - SportingNews Sean Deveney SportingNews.com The Yule logs are but ashes. The fruitcakes are being digested, a process that will continue until July. The Moet bottles are empty, giving off a nauseating, sour smell that really makes you wonder how the stuff possibly tasted good the previous night. Baseball generally goes into hibernation for the last two weeks or so of December. But, alas, the holidays are over. Spring training is but seven weeks away. Let's get that pilot light going on the hot stove again, shall we? We'll start with the biggest question (on-field, at least) looming over MLB: Why the heck hasn't anyone traded for Johan Santana? It's funny, because Santana is widely regarded as one of the top three pitchers in baseball -- if not No. 1. He turns 29 in March. He is 93-44 in his career with a 3.22 ERA. He has pitched 200-plus innings the last four seasons and has struck out 1,381 batters in just over 1,300 innings. He is, by any measure, a top-shelf ace, a general manager's dream. But no one seems to want him. The Twins offered a four-year, $80 million extension, but billionaire owner Carl Pohlad would offer nothing longer, despite the fact that he'll have a new stadium in 2010. The Yankees offered the Twins a package that included outfielder Melky Cabrera and pitcher Phil Hughes, but they refused to include Ian Kennedy and are said to be wary of the luxury tax ramifications that would come with giving Santana the seven-year, $150 million deal he warrants. The Red Sox are offering packages that include Jon Lester or Jacoby Ellsbury, but not both. Word is, they'd prefer not to get Santana but are keeping their noses in the talks in case the Yankees relent and sweeten their offer. Other teams have shown interest -- the Mariners, Mets and Angels -- but they haven't shown the Twins the right offer. Am I crazy? We're talking Johan Santana, right? He's an ace, a durable lefty available in a market in which back-of-the-rotation starter Carlos Silva signed for $48 million over four years. It's the same market in which Barry Zito, coming off three very average seasons, received $126 million over seven years. How is it that teams are not falling all over themselves to get Santana? "I think there are a couple of reasons," says one NL executive. "For one thing, the Zito deal is scary. What if you pay him all that money and he falls apart? And there's free agency. Why clear out your best prospects for someone who you can sign next winter?" Valid points, but again, this is Santana. He is not showing the signs of decline that Zito was showing before signing with the Giants last offseason. And yes, he will be a free agent next winter. The idea, though, is to give him a contract before he hits the open market. It sounds so simple, but no one has done it. The Red Sox won't include both Lester and Ellsbury? Why not? They think they're good enough to repeat as champs next year without Santana? Maybe. But is anyone all that afraid of a postseason 1-2-3 of Josh Beckett (scary), Curt Schilling (will he make it to October?) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (who faded in '07)? Couldn't they use a legit No. 2 to back up Beckett and keep pressure off Matsuzaka? Look, I know Boston fans are caught up in Ellsbury worship right now, but he is not going to hit .353 forever. He is fast and exciting, but Sox fans haven't seen him in a slump, nor have they seen him handle 162 games for Boston. Fans like the energy and enthusiasm he brings. I say, if you want energy and enthusiasm, buy a six-pack of Duracells and watch Regis and Kelly. Ellsbury has very little pop in his bat and, at age 24, that's not going to change. Who's to say he's the All-Star the Fenway faithful envision? As for Lester, he still needs to cut down on his walks and solve his consistency problem. If he does that, he could be a lefthanded ace. Or, the Red Sox could just skip the "ifs" that come with Lester and trade for Santana. A lefthanded ace. The Yankees don't want to give up Ian Kennedy? The guy has tremendous potential, I understand that. Five years from now, Kennedy could be better than Santana. But Santana is in the prime of his career, with several good years ahead of him. It's not as though you're dealing for a 35-year-old. This is the best lefty out there, and he could be pitching in Yankee Stadium. It's a no-brainer. Santana might never lose at Yankee Stadium. And who'd want to face a trio of Santana, Chien-Ming Wang and Andy Pettitte in the playoffs? The Mets won't trade Jose Reyes? For Santana? Reyes is an amazing young talent, but again, Santana is a lefthanded ace. Why is there even any discussion? It's much easier to replace a shortstop than a starting pitcher. The Mets still think they're the class of the National League, but who's their 1-2 punch in the rotation? Pedro Martinez, coming off shoulder surgery, and John Maine? That's not getting you past the Diamondbacks. Might not even get you past the Phillies and Braves in the division. Tom Glavine is gone and, let's face it, Oliver Perez is not going 15-10 again next season. The Dodgers are out, the Angels ambivalent, the Mariners timid. These teams should be faxing a list of their top 10 prospects to the Twins with a note reading, "Take your pick." They should be ponying up a contract Santana can't refuse. I feel bad for new Twins general manager Bill Smith. He already has watched Torii Hunter and Silva leave, and now he is facing a gaggle of GMs struck by a bizarre fit of restraint, even though Smith is trying to move a player for whom teams should be mortgaging the farm (system). Smith is being patient, hoping that, as the offseason dwindles, one of the bidders will crack and change its offer. In other words, now that the holidays are over, Smith is hoping some team will come to its senses and realize he is offering Johan Santana.