Twins’ Santana on Angels’ list

Times Staff Writer

The Angels, figuring you can never have too much of a good thing, have added Minnesota Twins ace Johan Santana to their winter shopping list.

Though their top priority is acquiring a big bat -- they remain in talks with Florida about Miguel Cabrera and Baltimore about Miguel Tejada -- the Angels, according to baseball sources, have also inquired about Santana, for whom the Twins are fielding offers.

The Angels have six big league starters in John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar, Jon Garland, Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana, but they don’t want to miss an opportunity to bring a left-hander they consider to be the best pitcher in baseball to Anaheim.

Plus, the Angels almost certainly would have to send one of their top young pitchers -- Weaver, Saunders or Santana, and possibly top prospect Nick Adenhart -- to Minnesota in any deal for Santana, a 28-year-old who has a 93-44 record and 3.22 earned run average in eight seasons.


Santana is owed $13.25 million in 2008 and is eligible for free agency after the season. He has a full no-trade clause, and any team trading for him would probably be granted a 72-hour window to sign him to an extension. Santana, who recently rejected a four-year, $80-million offer from the Twins, is believed to be looking for a deal in the seven-year, $150-million range.

There is some question as to whether Santana, a two-time AL Cy Young Award winner, would approve a deal to a West Coast team, but the Angels’ recent signing of former Twins center fielder Torii Hunter to a five-year, $90-million contract would make them more attractive to Santana.

The Twins are looking for a third baseman, a center fielder and a pitcher in return. They covet Angels third-base prospect Brandon Wood, but the Angels are reluctant to trade him. Minnesota is believed to have some interest in center fielder Gary Matthews Jr., who was drafted by the Twins out of high school, and outfielder Reggie Willits. Matthews, however, also has a no-trade clause.

The Yankees, Mets, Red Sox and Dodgers are reportedly interested in Santana. Another reason the Angels are interested in him, according to a source, is they believe they won’t have to give up as much in talent for Santana as they would for Cabrera, the Marlins slugger.