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Inside Baseball

Down The Line

August 05, 2007|Bill Shaikin

Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don't make. The Twins traded second baseman Luis Castillo to the Mets for two prospects, and the loss of Castillo frankly won't make much difference in whether Minnesota can catch the Tigers or Indians in the AL Central.

But the trade turned the best pitcher in baseball against the people running his team, and that could make a world of difference in the future of the franchise.

"If you only worry about the future, then I guess a lot of us won't be part of it," Johan Santana told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Build the ballpark, rebuild the team?

The Twins have won their division four times in the past five years, falling short of the World Series every time. They could have used a hitter this summer, but they subtracted one, saving $2 million.

"It's never going to be beyond this point," Santana said. "It doesn't make any sense for me to be here, you know?"

The two-time Cy Young Award winner can file for free agency after next year, and maybe the Twins have no chance to keep him beyond then anyway, not when $150 million might be in his future, from the Yankees or Mets or Tigers. Maybe the Twins trade him this winter -- how about him on the market instead of Kyle Lohse and Matt Morris? -- instead of losing him next year for two draft picks.

But the Twins are about to break ground on a new ballpark, to be built largely with public funding. You know the old argument: Build us a new ballpark with your money, so we can make the money we need to compete.

If that ballpark opens in 2010 and Santana is not pitching there on opening day, that argument is going to sound mighty hollow.


And he plays in a pitchers' park

The Giants didn't much care that Barry Bonds did not catch Hank Aaron for the all-time home run record last Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

"It's a matter of time as far as Barry Bonds getting the record," Giants Manager Bruce Bochy said. "It was more important for us that Zito go out there and get a win."

That's Barry Zito, whom the Giants signed for $126 million last winter for his durability, and for his ability to win. His Dodger Stadium victory was his second in 10 starts, he has completed six innings twice in 10 starts, and his 5.12 earned-run average is the highest among San Francisco starters.

"The contract is going to be there the whole time," Zito said. "People are going to have expectations. They should."


Darren Dreifort actually started that game for L.A.

This comes six years too late for the Dodgers, but the Giants promise they won't stop the game for an extended celebration should Bonds set the record in San Francisco.

"It won't be a Terry Adams moment," Giants executive vice president Larry Baer said.

After Adams gave up Bonds' 500th home run on April 17, 2001, the Giants forced the Dodgers to stand in the field for nine minutes during an instant party. Adams and the Dodgers fumed, and even the Giants were embarrassed in retrospect.

"That stupid celebration" is the term Giants owner Peter Magowan used last year, to the San Jose Mercury News. Baer said the Giants would commemorate the record with a planned ceremony -- before or after a game, not during one.


Hope it doesn't mean six more weeks to 756

Bonds was on his way out of Dodger Stadium the other night when he opened a door, only to find about 100 media members waiting to use the same door to enter the Giants' clubhouse. Bonds popped his head out, then popped his head back in and shut the door.

"Six more weeks of winter," cracked Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.

-- Bill Shaikin

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