Victory No. 84 in the books, and the Seattle Mariners are looking toward the future – and what it might take to land Johan Santana.
Minnesota’s ace and annual Cy Young Award candidate is under contract for one more season with the Twins, who don’t believe they can re-sign him. That being the case, they’re looking for the best package of great young talent they can find.
They’ve had scouts study minor league systems and looking over September rosters, and the Twins know what they want from Seattle – a package that starts with Adam Jones.
Jones is the type of player who could help off-set the possible loss of free agent center fielder Torri Hunter.
The Mariners, before going too far down the trade front, would have to get permission to sign Santana to a contract extension.
Could such a deal happen? It could, although losing Jones and two other prime young prospects would hurt. But a rotation with Santana and Felix Hernandez at the top would be the most formidable one-two punch in franchise history.
Given the bleak free agent market for pitching this winter, a deal is the only way the Mariners are likely to improve a rotation that’s cost them October. Dangling Jones and other youngsters at Minnesota could turn Seattle into an instant contender for 2008.