Johan Santana Trade: The Phil Hughes Conspiracy

Daniel HainesCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2008

Take heart Twins fans.

Bill Smith is not a moron, and he did not get fleeced by Omar Minyana. He simply accepted the best offer that was available to him.  

Now I’m not trying to argue that the Carlos Gomez package was as good as the Phil Hughes or Jacoby Ellsbury deals. I think that when it came time to make a trade, the Twins found the Yankees and Red Sox weren’t nearly as interested as the media would have had you believe.

While this “conspiracy” theory lacks hard evidence, this is what got me thinking. It was reported that at the last minute, the Twins went back to the Yankees and asked for a package built around Ian Kennedy.

Now Kennedy’s not a bad prospect by any means, he might even grow up to be Mike Mussina. But you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks he’s a comparable talent to Hughes. It’s a known fact that Hank Steinbrenner wanted Santana in the worst way (maybe you can argue that this too was a smokescreen, but the Steinbrenner’s are known for wearing their emotions on their sleeves).

It was also reported that he was more than willing to part with Hughes, but was talked off the ledge by Brian Cashman. So when the Twins came back and offered up Santana for a package based around Kennedy, you’d think Steinbrenner would be chomping at the bit to make a deal. But the Yankees decided they wouldn’t even consider dealing Kennedy.

These are the Yankees so it can’t be the money, especially with Giambi and Mussina coming off the cap after this year.

Maybe I’m reading into this a bit too far, but I’m left to conclude that at the end of the day the only team with serious interest in Santana was the team that snagged him, the New York Mets.