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Santana reaches extension with Mets

Santana reaches extension with Mets

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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins can now officially start saying their goodbyes to Johan Santana.

Tuesday's tentative trade of the two-time Cy Young Award winner to the Mets for four prospects cleared a big hurdle on Friday as a source confirmed that the Mets and Santana's agent, Peter Greenberg, had reached agreement on a deal that will total six years and $137.5 million. The deal includes an option for 2014.

The contract makes Santana the highest-paid pitcher in history, topping the previous mark set by Barry Zito's seven-year, $126 million from the Giants last offseason. Including the first year, Santana's contract will have him earn an average of $21.5 million a season. That average annual salary is the second highest in the Majors, topped only by Alex Rodriguez's $27.5 million.

In return for Santana, the Twins will receive outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra from the Mets.

For the deal to become official, Santana must formally waive the no-trade provision in his current contract and the left-hander must pass a physical.

"Negotiations between the Mets and Johan's representatives have concluded," the Twins said in a statement released Friday. "Johan will take a physical [Saturday] in New York. And any potential deal would be finalized [Saturday]."

Santana's new contract was struck following three days of intense negotiations between Santana's camp and the Mets.

The two sides were unable to agree to a deal by Friday's original 4 p.m. CT deadline, reportedly due to differing desires on the length of the contract. But the Mets asked for a two-hour extension, which was granted by the Twins and approved by the Commissioner's Office.

The announcement on Friday ended what has been a tumultuous week for the Twins.

News of the trade first broke on Tuesday afternoon courtesy of usatoday.com. As part of the agreement, a 72-hour negotiating window was imposed for the Mets and Greenberg to secure a contract extension.

Willis, Cabrera

After that, it became a waiting game for the Twins. Reports of the negotiations between the Mets and Santana were all over the news, but neither club will comment publicly on the deal until it is finished.

Santana had been on the trading block since mid-November. That's when the pitcher turned down a four-year, $80 million extension offer from the Twins, and the two sides agreed that it might be best to explore trade options.

Following months of talks with other teams, the Twins stepped up their efforts to trade Santana last week. The club approached Santana's three main suitors -- the Mets, the Yankees and the Red Sox -- and asked them to deliver their best offers by Tuesday.

A source close to the trade talks said the ace issued his own deadline to the Twins. Santana indicated to the club that if it did not secure a deal for him by the end of the day Tuesday, he would not waive his full no-trade clause and would remain with the team until the end of the 2008 season. Santana was expected to then file for free agency next fall, leaving the Twins with just two draft picks as compensation.

That pressure likely impacted the package that the Twins received, and reaction to the trade was immediately mixed.

Many writers and fans knocked the Twins' return for its lack of Major League-ready players. Some felt that the club could have received better prospects had the trigger been pulled on a deal at the Winter Meetings in early December.

The Twins instead took a deal from the Mets which they felt included prospects with great potential.

But as is the case with most prospect trades, the outcome of the trade on the Twins likely won't be known for at least a few years.

Of the four prospects coming to the Twins as part of the deal, Gomez appears to be the only one that may have an impact on the club in 2008. The 22-year-old outfielder is expected to compete for the opening in center field left by Torii Hunter's departure, and could provide the team with an option for the leadoff spot.

Humber, 25, could perhaps factor into the rotation race this spring. But the other two pitchers, Mulvey, 22, and Guerra, 18, are at least a season or two away from reaching the Majors.

Santana now becomes the second notable player to depart the Twins organization this offseason. The club lost Hunter to free agency when he signed a five-year, $90 million contract with the Angels on Thanksgiving.

In eight seasons with the Twins, Santana went an impressive 93-44 with a 3.22 ERA. During that time, Santana won Cy Young Awards in 2004 and 2006 and finished third in the balloting in 2005. He was considered to be a big part of the Twins winning four American League Central titles from 2002-06.

In four full seasons as a starter for the Twins, Santana struck out at least 235 batters each year. He was 15-13 with a 3.33 ERA for the Twins last season, which was considered to be a "down" year for the southpaw.

Without Santana, the Twins now face a situation where their rotation could feature no starter above the age of 26. Scott Baker and Boof Bonser are the most experienced of the group, possessing a total of 48 career starts each.

There have been indications that the Twins could now go out and add a veteran starter to the mix for Spring Training. Reports say the club is interested in free agent right-hander Josh Fogg, who was 10-9 with a 4.94 ERA for the Rockies last season.

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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