Friday, February 1, 2008

AL Central Teams Chip In To Pay Santana's New Mets Contract

New York, NY (Feb. 1) - Eager to be rid of Minnesota Twins lefty Johan Santana, the other AL Central teams plan to "pass the hat" and take up a collection to help pay for the Cy Young winner's new contract with the New York Mets.

"We're happy to help," said Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski of the gesture, in which his team plus the Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, and Kansas City Royals will each "pony up some dough" to better facilitate the Santana trade.

The Twins have agreed to ship Santana to the Mets for a bunch of prospects, but the deal has been hinging on the Mets' ability to meet Santana's salary demands. Reports have Santana asking for as much as $150 million over six years.

"We've already raided petty cash and secured a loan," a spokesman for the Indians said. "We can kick in maybe five, six million."

The Royals are set to hold a bunch of car wash fundraisers this weekend in their Florida spring training home, plus there are an "inordinate" number of empty cans and bottles that the team has been meaning to get to, that can add to the team's contribution.

The White Sox plan to sell a bunch of memorabilia on eBay to raise their portion.

The idea to help the Mets with Santana's salary came after an awkward moment Dombrowski recently shared with Mets GM Omar Minaya.

"We were in an elevator," Dombrowski said. "And we're both looking at the floor number change, like you normally do when there's nothing else to say. Then all of a sudden Oscar sighs and says, 'Whoo...this Santana deal...I'm not sure how I'm going to pay his contract.' "

After an uncomfortable silence, Dombrowski said Minaya glanced over at him and after the two made eye contact, "I had to say something. So I told him I could see what we could do," Dombrowski told his Mets counterpart.

Once the teams' money is pooled together, it will be presented to the Mets at a press conference with one of those big, pretend checks, with all the Central clubs' GMs sharing the podium with Minaya, Santana, and some guy who works for the company that makes those big, pretend checks.

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