In any Santana trade, the Twins might want an established star, such as Robinson Cano or Jose Reyes, along with multiple prospects. But that is a pipe dream.
Christensen blogged today that he's been getting nasty emails and such from people disagreeing with him. He defends his column by noting that he's repeating what some major league execs have said: that Santana's pending free agency after 2008 places him in less demand because the team acquiring Santana could lose him after a year. Christensen goes on to say that other pitchers who've been mentioned as available, especially 2007 breakouts Eric Bedard of Baltimore and Dan Haren of Oakland, are not pending free agents and would therefore be more attractive to teams willing to give up prospects for a top pitcher.
The logic is flawed, though Haren/Bedard make it less so. In an attempt to dismiss Haren/Bedard, let me just say that neither has nearly the track record of Santana, nor has either proven to be over the injury nexus that all pitchers must endure. Bedard was shut down this past year, albeit with an oblique injury, and Haren tired considerably in 2007. Santana is through the injury nexus and has proven he can put up amazing numbers all season for five consecutive seasons. They are different products.
As far as the haul made by the Twins and how it's affected by pending free agency, the point is that the Twins are not trading a 2008 FA to be. They are trading a pitcher who will have agreed to a contract extension, and the money, at least for the teams in the hunt, is not all that out of whack for the product.
If the Twins can't make a haul, then there is no reason to trade him. What is wrong with giving Santana the money he's asking for? If the Twins can extend him four years at $20 million per, then they can extend him for six, where that money is even less at the end of the contract (inflation). Who's to say the Twins can't work out a deal that gets rid of the strictest "no-trade" clauses?
Seriously, what risk do the Twins have by adding six years, $126 million without the strict no-trade clause (perhaps have a salary enhancer if dealt)? The risk is an injury risk, and Santana really is past that point, unlike where Joe Mays was when the Twins gave him "big" money.
I see no reason the Twins shouldn't get whatever they ask for.
Oh, and Joe C. keeps mentioning Robinson Cano as a star the Twins might get in trade. He looks good for the Yankees, but anybody who's watch Cano knows that he's a guess hitter who can only hit straight fastballs, unless of course he guesses right. He's hardly a star. Put him in the Twins lineup not surrounded by stars up and down, and you have a different hitter.