End of day odds & ends

  • Ensberg agrees to deal, joins candidates for Yankees’ first base job
  • Mets, Santana making progress
  • Scrutinizing the Santana deal (Buster Olney’s blog, Insider access required)
  • Lotsa stuff on Top Prospects out today, too.

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    Can the Mets actually not close the deal?

    Santana’s agents, Peter and Ed Greenberg, are believed to be looking for a six-year extension in the range of $150 million — a figure that would include an upfront payment that would boost Santana’s 2008 salary ($13.25 million) to beyond $20 million.

    Buster Olney blogged yesterday about the incredible leverage Johan wields in this case. The Mets knew this. Will the unthinkable happen?

    Could this resemble another landscape/history changing deal that also failed to reach the finishline? Could the Yanks swoop in if the Mets deal fails, offering the deal that they’d want to do, and steal Johan, just as they did with ARod in early 2004? Could you imagine?
    I highly doubt the Mets fail to sign Johan, so it’s nothing more than a fun exercise in “what if’s”. But, WHAT IF!?!?
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    Royals were thisclose to landing Johan?

    The first person who texted me – the one who actually told me about the deal – is a friend of mine who is a scout. He HATED this deal for the Twins. “What in the hell are they doing?” he wrote, though he can’t really spell, at least on a phone, so it came out more like “Wat in the hel r they doooing?” His big problem is that he’s seen Gomez, the centerpiece of the deal, and doesn’t like him at all. Gomez is a 22-year-old outfielder a whole lot of speed and a body that projects powers. That part sounds good. But my friend thinks he had no plate discipline, swings and misses a lot and, like a lot of those toolsy guys, won’t ever hit enough – reminds me a lot of an old Royals prospect who was, coincidentally, also a Gomez, Alexis Gomez. Had lots of tools. And he might be a carpenter now.

    Great stuff.… Click here to read the rest

    Hank praises Mets; shoots death glare at Cashman

    instant column!

    Asked yesterday if he was tempted to top the Met offer, Steinbrenner, the senior vice president, said in a brief telephone interview, “I don’t want to comment now. We’ll see what happens.

    He added, “There was nothing to get involved in. The trade’s done. That’s it. Any other opinion I’ve had, I’ve already stated.

    Asked for his view of the deal the Mets made, sending four prospects to Minnesota for Santana, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, Steinbrenner said, “I think the Twins did what they needed to do and I think the Mets made a good deal.

    How painful must that last comment have been for Hank to mutter. I can hear his teeth grinding from here. I can’t help but wonder if he gives Cashman and lil’bro Hal ice-stares of death when passing in the hallway. I truly wonder if Hank believes Cash & Hal and has bought into this new philosophy or if he’s given in on this and will blow a gasket during the first 3 game losing streak.

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    Great moments in beat writer history

    It was the 18th annual PirateFest. It’s a courageous act, celebrating baseball in Pittsburgh, considering the Pirates suffer from one of the lousiest fan bases in all professional sports.

    There, I said it. And, no, I’m not about to backpedal or apologize for characterizing most of the team’s followers as whiny, loudmouthed louts who are too insecure to appreciate what being a fan is really about.

    Not sure what writer Mike Seate was trying to do, but sure seems like good times in Bucco-land!… Click here to read the rest

    The Santana yo-yo

    This was late Monday night, about 12 hours before the Mets would pounce upon their most dramatic trade in recent history. Twins’ general manager Bill Smith, in a panic to move Johan Santana, called the Yankees and admitted surrender: Phil Hughes was no longer a prerequisite, he said. Instead, the Twins asked for Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera and a top prospect. Would the Yankees still be interested, Smith wondered?

    Obviously, the Yanks passed. Dollars aside, I am not sure that was the right decision after all. I’ve yo-yo’d on this for a while. I’m happy that we kept the kids, but there’s a seed of doubt after reading that paragraph above. That would be a deal to take, not to pass on.

    What would the team look like today, had the Yanks agreed to these terms? Well, we’d have to sign a 4th OF, preferably one with speed/youth, like Corey Patterson. He’d be a part time starter in CF, moving to LF or RF at times to spell Abreu and Matsui or Damon (in CF).… Click here to read the rest

    CSI: MLB Umpires

    Lamell McMorris, a spokesman for the World Umpires Association, told ESPN.com that baseball investigators have gone into neighborhood homes in recent weeks and asked a series of provocative and potentially defamatory questions about umpires.

    According to the WUA, neighbors of Greg Gibson and Sam Holbrook — MLB umpires who live in Northern Kentucky — were asked if the two men are members of the Ku Klux Klan.

    The KKK? Geez. Oh, by the way, this is not the first time the ump’s union has raised objections into the “interrogation methods” of MLB.

    At least we can give Bud Selig some credit for getting out in front of any potential umpiring conflicts of interest, particularly in light of the Tim Donaghy mess in the NBA. Doesn’t give his henchmen the right to ask those sorts of questions, I think, but good that the umps are held to a higher standard.… Click here to read the rest