Posted at 7:09 PM on September 16, 2007
by Steve Rudolph
The Twins revealed last week that Francisco Liriano will throw from the mound for the first time since his Tommy John surgery on November 1.
Should Liriano’s recovery continue as planned, look for the Twins to begin shopping ace Johan Santana this winter.
Santana will become a free agent after the 2008 season. By all accounts, the two-time Cy Young award winner can expect $20-$25 million a year in his next deal.
We all know the Twins won’t be the team writing that check. So if they know Santana isn’t part of their future plans, it’s best to trade him before next season rather than during it.
Big deals are rarely made during the season as the team acquiring the superstar is only willing to deal prospects. An off-season move allows them to use free agency to replace any talent they shipped to Minnesota for Santana.
In addition to returning more than a midyear deal, a trade in the off-season would also free up money for the team to make a run at keeping Torii Hunter and sign Justin Morneau to a multi-year deal.
Using Santana to acquire the necessary pieces to retool (like the organization did when it traded Frank Viola and Chuck Knoblauch) is simply the Twins’ way. Don’t expect a new general manager to change that.