The polls are now closed and well over 100 people have spoken. The second most popular selection in the poll was that neither Red Sox package of prospects was worth giving up for Santana. But 26 more voters (and 50% of the voters overall) said that they'd give up the Lester, Lowrie package for Santana. Only 9% of voters, however, were willing to give up Ellsbury and Lowrie in a package for Santana.
And I have to say that I actually agree with the results. While I would much prefer that the Red Sox keep Ellsbury, I would be happy with dealing Lester, Lowrie, Crisp and Masterson for Santana. I'm fully aware that Santana will come with a steep price tag, and I expect Lowrie to be a pretty good middle infielder for years to come. And Lester could potentially be a front of the rotation starter who costs more than $25 milllion a year less than Santana. But the addition of Santana to a Red Sox rotation consisting of Beckett, Matsuzaka, Schilling and Buchholz, is just too exciting to pass up. I don't think it's realistic to expect even the best of pitching prospects to be as good as Santana. A pitcher of Santana's caliber only comes around once an era, not once every few years.
If the Red Sox were to acquire Santana, I wouldn't expect him to put up 2004 numbers. He's not going to put up a WHIP of 0.92 facing AL East hitters in Fenway Park. And I doubt that Santana will ever strike out 265 batters in a season again. But I would expect Santana to be one of the best three pitchers in the American League over the next five years. And that would give the Red Sox an absolutely lethal pitching rotation.
Of course, Santana would take up quite a bit of payroll. And there is a rather high risk in taking on a six or seven year contract with any pitcher. Just Thursday, Buster Olney said that he heard from a talent evaluator who suspects that Santana might have a health issue. But that is of course speculation at this point. Most talent evaluators probably have a different explanation for Santana's sub-par season last year.