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Race for the Ace
2007-11-28 05:59
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Here's a shocker. There are a couple of few other teams interested in the services of one Johan Santana. The Mets for one. I actually think the Mets will end up with Santana before all is said and done. As far as the Yanks are concerned, man, I don't think anyone is untouchable in a Santana deal--Hughes, Joba, Melky, and on down the line.

Comments (102)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-11-28 06:12:01
1.   liam
nathan is apparently on the block as well... would anyone be averse to putting together a painfully good looking package of prospects for both? how would that be for a winter!

trading the two together inherently decreases their respective values, but the dreamers can dream.

2007-11-28 06:34:05
2.   rsmith51
It doesn't seem like the Mets have enough blue chips to get Santana. The Mets might be better off going for Nathan.
2007-11-28 06:45:07
3.   Bob B
Apparently Chamberlain and Cano are untouchable according to the Star Ledger. It also appears its between the Red-Sox and Yankees for Santana's services.
2007-11-28 07:04:40
4.   wsporter
My sense of this is that these blue chip packages being bandied about are simply nuts. The Twins have a problem in that Santana has a full NTC and can veto a deal to any location he doesn't like. So the Twins leverage is undercut severely. The other teams realize that, if they sit back and wait, the Twins will have to either drop their price to place Santana in a location he will accept or hold him for the season and reap one last season of Santana and Liriano, the potential of a first round draft choice and the surety of a supplemental pick.

The teams who desire Santana want to minimize the value of the package of players they will have to offer in order to simply obtain the privilege of negotiating a multi-year contract with him. In fact I think it quite reasonable to argue that they would rather try to negotiate with and obtain Santana next year as a free agent then give up a bevy of players to negotiate a huge deal with Santana and get him now. Additionally, the longer the Twins hold out the more attractive it becomes to them to hold Santana for the season. It seems to me that the logic of this may drive everyone to do nothing.

For teams like the Yankees, there is lots of sense in low balling all the way through this thing. The Twins only hope of obtaining a set of top flight prospects and young major leaguers is to set the teams in competition against each other. Yet in this situation I don't think there are any rules against the teams in competition for Santana talking to each other publicly to hold the bids low and preventing that from happening.

I could be wrong (as I often am) but I just don't see the Twins landing one of these premium packages for Santana because I think they're dealing from a weak hand. Their only real strength here is that they currently hold the player under contract for one year and that leverage weakens with each passing day. I sure as hell hope we don't win the "shmuck award" by jumping first with an inflated bid. I say patience is the best ploy right now and if we exercise it we may find that at worst we end up with the big three and the little two in pinstripes as well as Santana to boot, in the 2009 season.

2007-11-28 07:22:31
5.   williamnyy23
Santana is clearly a great pitcher, and might very well be worth the rumored packages, but the claim that "there has never been a pitcher quite like him" is absurd.

For his career, Santana's ERA+ is 141 in 1,300 IP at AGE 28. That's great. It really is. But, it's no better than Roy Oswalt (ERA+ of 143 in 1,400 IPs; AGE 29) or Brandon Webb (ERA+ of 144 in 1,100 IPs; AGE 28). To be honest, it's not light years ahead of Carlos Zambrano (ERA+ of 130 in 1,200 IP; AGE 26). Santana is probably the best pitcher in the game right now, but he isn't head and shoulders better than the names above (as well as a few others I might not have mentioned).

As for the comparison to Pedro, well, that's beyond absurd...it's just plain stupid. Even into his decline phase, Pedro's ERA+ is still an astounding all-time best 161. Also, on a year by year basis, Pedro's ERA+ blow Johan out of the water. Fomr age 24-28, Santana's ERA+ was 148, 182, 155, 161 and 130. Pedro, over the same same span, was 117, 219, 163, 243 and 291!

Clearly, Pedro is the only pitcher worthy of the claim "there has never been a pitcher quite like him."

2007-11-28 07:29:13
6.   ms october
4 i agree with a lot of what you are saying - but i think as 3 pointed out since it is both the yanks and red-sox involved - the twins other strength is that one team (and my guess is it is more the yanks than the red sox) MIGHT do what it takes to keep the other team from getting santana. the red sox know they have an ace in beckett. the yanks know they have a very, very good, but probably not an ace in wang - and hope they have in ace in joba and perhaps even hughes (probability not as high, but you never know) but santana is more the sure thing, especially for the next few years. also, a lot of it is just posturing, so who knows, but it seems the red sox are more likely to hold on to buccholz/ellsbury than the yanks are with hughes/melky, but the buccholz/ellsbury package will be more valued than hughes/melky.
so all of this is to say that although the twins aren't necessarily dealing from a position of strength - in some ways the yanks might not be either.
2007-11-28 07:30:05
7.   williamnyy23
4 The problem with your suggestion is there is no way teams such as the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets will cooperate with each other. In fact, it would be in their interest to make sure whoever gets him winds up overpaying. I personally don't think the Mets prospects are that good, but a bidding war between the Red Sox and Yankees still could be enough to get the Twins what they want.
2007-11-28 07:32:33
8.   williamnyy23
6 I am not sure Buccholz/Ellsbury would be more highly valued. Going into this September, neither was really considered a prime, top grade prospect. Hughes, on the other hand, was universally thought of as one of the top prospects in the game. I think any package with Hughes would rate well.
2007-11-28 07:37:05
9.   Raf
5 Even though he was on the "other side," I always marveled at how absolutely dominant Pedro was. And the Sox got him for Pavano (was he the Sox top prospect at the time?) & Armas.
2007-11-28 07:37:42
10.   ChuckM
Snatana doesn't have a full no-trade. He needed to finish in the top 3 in the Cy voting for that. He has a partial no-trade list of 12 teams for 2008.
2007-11-28 07:38:14
11.   Cliff Corcoran
3 I'd be tempted to add Hughes to that list of untouchables. It's been extremely gradual, but Stantana's hit, homer, and walk rates have all gotten worse in each of the last two seasons. If that trend continues, the gap between him and Hughes may not be that much as soon as 2009. Melky's a great fit for the Twins, so a package of Melky, Kennedy and someone like Jeff Marquez or a projectable low-minors prospect who's too far away to bank on (but not Austin Jackson if Melky goes in the deal and I'd trade Melky over Jackson) I could do, but Joba, Hughes, and Cano should remain in pinstripes no matter what.
2007-11-28 07:38:18
12.   Shaun P
4 MFD, your logic makes sense to me, but as they say, logic doesn't sell newspapers.

7 I think both the Yanks and the Sox are smart enough to understand and take advantage of the Twins' lack of leverage on their own, without worrying about what the other team does. I don't think either will blink; I think Santana stays put.

Besides, the Twins and Santana aren't apart on money; they are apart on years. Santana will take the $20M/season the Twins are offering. He wants a 6 year deal, but so far the Twins have only offered 4. In that context, getting a deal done should be easy.

2007-11-28 07:38:34
13.   RIYank
I'm against dealing Hughes plus any important player for Santana. Because I'm not at all confident that Santana will be a better pitcher than Hughes in 2010, let alone 2013. Extra talent dealt and huge piles of money tip the balance away from acquiring Santana, in my opinion.

If it were Phil for Johan straight up, that would be worth it, though it still wouldn't be a no-brainer (because of the money and the expectation for the late years of Santana's contract).

2007-11-28 07:38:54
14.   ms october
8 i agree with you - and i know the twins are one of the better talent evaluators, but teams still have a tendency to value "the recent" which would tilt it to b/e. also, and i know many people are going to jump on this, but there is some merit in these opinions, but every espn chat i have read with keith kaw and jim callis rank buccholz ahead of hughes.
2007-11-28 07:39:50
15.   rconn23
Could not agree more with you williamnyy23.

These fans that are so eager to trade the farm for Santana have overstated his value. It doesn't mean that he's not great. But they've inflated his value to that of vintage Pedro, and that he ain't.

I want Santana because he is a No. 1, just like Hallday, Oswalt, Beckett and, C.C and Peavy are No. 1s.

But to inflate his value, and say he is far and away the best pitcher in baseball simply isn't true.

Listen for Pedro in '99, I would trade the farm. For Santana in '08, I trade IPK, Melky and Horne or possibly Hughes and Melky with no third prospect. If that doesn't get it done, so be it.

What the rotation needs is an innings eater to save the bullpen. If Billy Beane is having a firesale, try to trade for Blanton, who is a very good young pitcher - or Haren, who is an ace. It will cost a little less in prospects that Santana.

2007-11-28 07:40:34
16.   Shaun P
10 Actually, he needed to finish in the top 3 in Cy Young voting in either 2006 or 2007 to get the full no trade - since he won it in 2006, he's got it.
2007-11-28 07:40:56
17.   RIYank
Okay, Cliff 11 got in ahead of me 13 with more details.

By the way, I don't think it makes any difference whether Santana has a no-trade veto. Even if he has none in his contract, he can effectively veto any trade by declining to sign a new contract with the team the Twins want to trade him to. Obviously nobody is going to part with significant young talent of the kind the Twins insist on if they only get Santana for one year.

2007-11-28 07:41:43
18.   wsporter
7 I see your point. What bothered me about it when I was thinking about this was one would have to assume that that teams such as the Sawx don't really want Santana or they would be ensuring that the price they would potentially pay for Santana is inflated as well by following such a course. If they don't want him I can't see them risking a bid that might actually be accepted and then running a sham negotiation on a contract with Santana in order to blow the deal up.

There's no doubt we don't want to see Santana headlining on Yawkee Way so that posses a problem and it may well be the only hope the Twinkees have in starting a bidding war. I think the Sawx are actually playing this smart by talking about who is not going to be included rather than discussing who they might include. If we would stick to that as well I think there's a good chance he either hits free agency or the compensation to the Twins is greatly reduced from the blue chip loaded packages that appear to be in play.

2007-11-28 07:41:47
19.   ms october
15 very well put. and i have long wanted to hear what beane wants for blanton or haren which as you state are both substanial innings pitchers.
2007-11-28 07:41:57
20.   RIYank
Oh, and I agree with Cliff and rconn about what would be a reasonable trade for Santana.
2007-11-28 07:51:00
21.   Alex Belth
No matter what happens, I don't think any trade for Santana will end up being "reasonable." Someone is gunna overpay...
2007-11-28 07:51:43
22.   Bob B
If the Yankees do trade Melky in a package, They're looking at Aaron Rowand, the Phillies Free Agent, for Centerfield.
2007-11-28 07:52:02
23.   wsporter
I think Cliff's package is about what I have in mind if it goes off now. I'd have a list of potential Low A, A and AA guys that I wouldn't toss in as well including but not limited to Tabata, AJax, Betances, Heredia, Melancon, Montero, Sanchez, Garcia, Cervelli, McCutchen, Nova and Abe Almonte. Other than that I'd say "pick one in addition to Cliff's list" also understanding that guys from last years draft aren't tradeable yet.
2007-11-28 07:58:48
24.   Nick from Washington Heights
Did the Sox overpay when they sent Hanley to the Marlins for Beckett and Lowell? In essence, how big a hit does a big market team take when it trades an actually cost-controlled young super star for more expensive older stars? The Sox won their world series, still have roster flexibility, etc.
2007-11-28 08:10:32
25.   williamnyy23
9 Before the Pedro deal, Carl Pavano and Nomar were the Red Sox two top prospects. According to Baseball America, Pavano was the 17th ranked prospect in the game (he moved up to number 9 in 1998).

As for Armas, he eventually cracked the top 30 in 2000 (he was ranked #27), but as a 19 year old at the time of trade, was far less projectable. Of course, the Red Sox only had Armas because they acquired him from the Yankees in return for Mike Stanley. So, in many ways, the Yankees faciliated the Sox' Pedro acquisition.

2007-11-28 08:12:53
26.   williamnyy23
14 I'd have to see the context of those chats. For most of the year, Keith Law was a big Hughes proponent, but he did back off some after the injury. I am not sure how most agencies view Buccholz and Hughes now, but they weren't even in the same ballpark before last April.
2007-11-28 08:18:50
27.   williamnyy23
23 The Yankees really do have several highly touted prospects, so they might be able to get away without dealing Hughes and Chamberlain (although I think that puts everyone else on the table). Quite frankly, I think a deal of Kennedy and Cabrera as well as Tabata/Jackson and Sanchez/Horne/Betances would be a pretty steep price...one that the Twins would have to think about it. I also don't think Boston could go four deep like that (both LA teams probably could). The question then becomes, is saving Hughes worth giving up more prospects?
2007-11-28 08:23:46
28.   williamnyy23
24 That's an interesting question...I think the answer is yes and no. On the one hand, Hanley Ramirez is one of the best young position players in the game. He could probably land Johan straight up right now. Considering that Santana is better than Beckett, I'd think you'd have to say that the Red Sox overpaid (ignoring Lowell's contribution because the Marlins would have given him a way in a separate deal anyway).

On the other hand, the Red Sox did win a World Series thanks mostly to Beckett's contribution, so at least for now, I think it winds up being a deal with which everyone is happy.

2007-11-28 08:29:07
29.   ms october
26 yeah - keith law was a little down on him after the injury, even writing a story about his mechanics. as far as the context - there wasn't much of any - it was more those rank the following guys or "lightning round" with them having buccholz over hughes.
i am higher on hughes than buccholz, my only point is what the twins would think - and especially if the combo of b/e would be rated higher by them then h/melky.
2007-11-28 08:33:32
30.   williamnyy23
29 Unfortunately, the Twins are one of the more savy organizations, so it's likely they will make informed opinions. I say unfortunate, because they are less likely to accept snake oil. For all the bad press the Twins received about letting Hunter go, I think that decision exemplifies this point.
2007-11-28 08:39:12
31.   ny2ca2dc
29 Well, Kevin Goldstein/Baseball Prospectus have the Yankees up next for their top 11 prospect review. Hopefully it's coming today! Hughes won't be on it, but we can review the reports on Joba and Kennedy etc.
2007-11-28 08:39:25
32.   Zavo
24 I think the main difference with the Beckett deal is that he was cost controlled for a little while with the Red Sox. (And the Sox were also smart in signing him to a very favorable longer term deal). Granted, he wasn't as proven a talent as Santana. He was a good deal younger though so the Sox were getting his prime years.

The Yankees, or whoever trades for Santana, is not only trading large amounts of talent, but will then have the pleasure of paying Santana over $20 million a year over the next 6 or 7 years. Basically paying him for what he accomplished for the Twins, the end of his prime, and his decline years.

I would love to have Santana, he would certainly be the ace the Yankees need, but Hughes, Joba or Cano are a large price to pay in talent to then have to pay lots of cash. I would be all for a deal involving Kennedy, Melky, Tabata, or any of the other guys on the farm (other than Austin Jackson). Granted, I think the Twins can get more than that from someone else.

2007-11-28 08:48:51
33.   markp
I posted this early this morning. It's the number one reason I don't want to trade for him:
Santana's comps through age 28:
1. Tim Hudson (949) active
2. Roy Oswalt (940) active
3. John Candelaria (935) A bit of a hiccup at age 26, but otherwise a brilliant pitcher until age 30 then he was below league average.
4. Juan Pizarro (931) A terrific pitcher through age 27, then not so much
5. Bob Welch (929) A great pitcher through age 30 and had a couple of solid years at 33 and 34 then he was below league average.
6. Mike Mussina (928)I'm a big fan, but his last really good year was at age 32.
7. Kevin Appier (927) Another guy who was brilliant until he hit 30, then he was anything but.
8. Jack McDowell (921) Solid until he got to be 30.
9. Kevin Millwood (915) Two outstanding years and one very good one. Since he's turned 30 he's been less than league average.
10. Sid Fernandez (915) Another guy who was brilliant through age 30 then hung on for a few years before retiring.
I didn't pick who the comps were, baseballreference.com did. I don't completely agree with all of them, but the vast majority of those guys aren't really that much different than Johann, and almost every one was done being anywhere near great before their 31st birthday.
Santana's numbers have declined a bit every year since 2003, especially his WHIP and his HRs allowed. He isn't nearly worth the king's ransom the Twins are demanding and is just as likely going to be the next John Candelaria or Juan Pizarro (one of my favorite pitchers to watch way back when) as he is to become David Cone II.
(reason one-A?):
Whoever said Pedro Martinez is a good comp should take a closer look at their respective stats. Santana's highest ERA+ is 182. Pedro had a seven year stretch when he averaged 200. Pedro is light years ahead of Santana (and almost everybody else.)
2007-11-28 09:03:41
34.   JL25and3
33 I don't think those comps really have significant predictive value. They're really just a fun toy, no more.
2007-11-28 09:04:37
35.   JL25and3
OK, scratch one or the other "really."
2007-11-28 09:07:56
36.   JL25and3
I'm willing to give up a substantial package for Santana, because I think he's that good. But I wouldn't sign him - or any pitcher - for 7 guaranteed years.

I'd offer 5 guaranteed. Years 6 and 7 could have an option that could become guaranteed by (say) top 3 CYA finish in year 5.

Santana almost certainly wouldn't accept that now, but I think that's where I would draw the line.

2007-11-28 09:09:42
37.   williamnyy23
One more thing to think about...I wonder what would a package of Santana AND Nathan would cost? Now that would be a blockbuster...the kind of deal that gets vetoed in fantasy leagues.
2007-11-28 09:12:03
38.   Rob Middletown CT
I totally agree with Zavo.

The key to all of this, for me, is that this will cost the Yankees both talent and $$$ - lots of both. If it were one or the other (preferably $$, not talent), fine. But Hughes, Chamberlain and Kennedy are major-league caliber pitchers right now Yes, they're young and there will likely be growing pains. Yes, it's possible (probable, even) that one, two or all three of them could get hurt, or never reach their supposed potential.

But I'm up for rolling the dice on those guys by keeping them, and hoping that Santana (or CC Sabathia - as unlikely as I think that is) hits the FA market.

2007-11-28 09:18:17
39.   williamnyy23
Too bad Hank can't leak an item to the press saying that the Yankees have dropped out of the race, but would be certain to offer Santana $30/year as a free agent after next season. If you could guarantee he'd be available as a free agent, you could keep your prospects and wait for a year.
2007-11-28 09:24:49
40.   ny2ca2dc
39 I'd be on board for that! Wouldn't it be tampering though?
2007-11-28 09:40:19
41.   markp
I disagree with those comps having no predictive value.
I got the numbers to show how pitchers approaching their 30th birthday are a bad investment if they cost young players who may become stars in their own right.

I expected maybe half losing it by age 35 (with the exception of true power pitchers, which Santana is not), but found that almost all were done by age 31. How can such an overwhelming number not be predictive? And why would anyone want to trade potentially great pitchers in light of those examples? Even if there were only a 30% chance he'd pull a Higuera, the trade still makes no sense.
It's a trade we don't need to make on any level, and one that could set us back significantly.

2007-11-28 09:42:37
42.   MainLineYankee
The Yankees MUST get Santana. It will be a colossal disaster if the Red Sox get him; we can forget about winning the division and possibly even making the playoffs, if that happens. The Twins have the Yankees by the Bosox. From reading all of these posts, it sounds like the Yanks may be offering Hughes, Melky and a grade B prospect to the Twins.
2007-11-28 09:57:06
43.   pistolpete
>> It will be a colossal disaster if the Red Sox get him; >>

I honestly don't believe the Sawx are seriously interested - IMO Elsbury and Bucholz are their versions of Cano and Hughes. They already dropped a ton of money on Dice-K, and in general the problem wasn't pitching - I'd have believed the A-Rod rumors before Santana.

I tend to think the Mets will go all out - they REALLY need pitching.

2007-11-28 10:04:32
44.   markp
I agree about Theo not really being interested.
2007-11-28 10:04:53
45.   ms october
43 i agree about the mets - but they have the least to offer. in a way that's what happens when you let propsects become players.

39 40 hank is so loquacious i'm confident he will find a way.

2007-11-28 10:14:27
46.   ny2ca2dc
Hmm, Pete Abe has an interesting point about Santan:

Here's a little quiz, baseball fans:

This pitcher [Santana] was 3-2 with a 5.70 ERA against teams from the AL East last season (not counting the Yankees).

He was 5-7, 4.04 in the second half of the season, allowing 88 hits (16 of them home runs) over 98 innings. The 33 home runs he allowed for the season were nine more than in any other previous season. Scouts have noticed he appears hesitant to throw his slider.

He has one victory in five career playoff starts.

--

I know this is all small sample size mumbo jumbo, and i've never heard about the hesitance to throw the slider (which would be a huge red flag)... But this is really feeding into my not-wanting-to-deal-Hughes.

2007-11-28 10:15:37
47.   OldYanksFan
Whether 10 or 16 is correct, 17 has the right logic. Santana is in TOTAL control. The Twins are pulling a 'Boras' (asking for the sky). As 4 says, lowballing is the only way to go.

18 I've heard that Ellsbury is untouchable. They said Buccholz also. The Twins need a CF in this deal. Without Ellsbury, I don't know if the Sox can get Santana unless they go way overboard elsewhere. They also need to replace Manny (2008 is his last year), so a $20+m/yr guy is nothing they will sneeze at.

23 I agree. If anything, our farm is weak on poition players. Tabata, AJax, Montero and Miranda should not be traded lightly. We could offer a number of decent upside pitchers and try to hold these guys.

From what I've read, it seems AJax has a much better upside then Melky. Melky has the better arm, but AJax has everything else, and is better on D.

From what I've read, it seems Horne MAY have a better upside then IPK, so we shouldn't talk about 'just throwing him in to sweeten the deal'. If a trade is made, it should be IPK OR Horne, NOT both.

We do NOT need the 'best pitcher in MLB'. We might not even need an Ace. We do need 2 SPs. Hopefully Pettitte is one. The other should be in the top 20. CC, Harden, Haren, Kazmir, Peavy or any one of a number of other pitchers would be enough. We might not have the best #1, or best #1 and #2, but we would have the best #1-#4.

A #1 or #2
Wang
Hughes
Joba
IPK
Pettitte
Moose

That's a very, very strong rotation... to go with a killer offense.

It's one thing if Santana is a FA and it's only money... but to trade 6 years of Hughes (at $10m+/-) for 6 years of Santana ($130m+/1) is insane. And what will it cost to replace Melky and IPK? Another $15m/yr?

While Santana is way above the 'other pitchers' we have gotten in the past, the 'we need an Ace' cry has depleted our farm and cost us a fortune. Santana is very seductive, but the cost in terms of both money and youth are to high.

If Santana wants to be a Yankee he will either wait a year or the Twins will be forced to take a 'lesser' package... like Melky, Gardner and 2 or 3 non-blucchip pitchers.

2007-11-28 10:16:35
48.   Xeifrank
From MLB Contracts dot com.

Johan Santana p
4 years/$39.75M (2005-08)

signed extension 2/05, avoided arbitration ($6.8M-$5M)
05:$5.5M, 06:$9M, 07:$12M, 08:$13.25M
may earn award bonuses
$25,000 for All-Star selection, 2nd in AL MVP vote or 3rd in CY vote

$50,000 each for Gold Glove, AL MVP, LCS MVP or 2nd in CY vote

$100,000 each for WS MVP, Cy Young award

limited no-trade clause 2006-08
may block trades to 3 clubs in 05, 8 in 06, 10 in 07 & 12 in 08
full no-trade clause for 2007-08 with top 3 in CY vote in 06 or 07
1 year/$1.6M (2004), lost arbitration $2.45M
1 year/$0.335M (2003)
agent: Peter Greenberg
ML service: 6.122

was he in the top 3 voting for AL Cy Young in 2006? vr, Xei

2007-11-28 10:16:58
49.   JL25and3
41 Because it's an arbitrary formula that only describes career totals (unadjusted for anything). There's absolutely no reason to believe that they're predictive, and no evidence that they are.

And if they're arbitrary comps without predictive value, having a whole bunch of them doesn't make them any more predictive.

2007-11-28 10:17:05
50.   Shaun P
42 The last thing the Yanks need to think about is what the Sox are doing. Even with everything that happened this year, the Sox were only 3 games better than the Yanks in the regular season. I don't think the world ends if the Sox get Santana.

If anything, I say let the Sox have him. It increases the Boston payroll even more. They won't be able to use guys like Buccholz, Lester, and Ellsbury to keep their costs down. And instead of having ready-made replacements for when Schilling and Wakefield do hang 'em up, they'll have to spend even more money to sign free agents.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-11-28 10:21:57
51.   OldYanksFan
28 I don't think you can discount Lowell's contribution this year. Beckett was great, but the Sox were a strong, well balanced team. If Lowell in 2007 had been the 2006 version, most would call that trade a bad move for the Sox.

We have won enough pennants/WSs that we should not be trading talented youth for a better shot at THIS year. Our dynasty was NOT built on Cone or Clemens, but on Mo, Po, Derek, Bernie and Andy.

Even Pedro couldn't get the pennant for the Sox. It took Pedro AND a very strong offense and SP depth to get it done.

2007-11-28 10:27:20
52.   OldYanksFan
40 How about if they say it about Cabrera but don't go after him? "We are happy to give top dollar to FAs, but we won't trade away our talented youth."
2007-11-28 10:28:08
53.   JL25and3
52 You can't say it about any specific player.
2007-11-28 10:29:54
54.   OldYanksFan
42 Maybe we should get Contrares again to stop the Sox? You logic is 'George Steinbrennerish'. We make trades on what's best for the Yankees not on what's worse for the Sox.
2007-11-28 10:40:06
55.   markp
Since the selection of pitchers wasn't based on them flaming out, it's really a random sample in regard to that occurring. As any good statistician will tell you, you really don't need a lot of numbers to determine probabilities. That the percentage of these pitchers being ineffective so soon after their 29th birthday is so high should raise a red flag.
My original point (on another site) was that the majority of (non-power) pitchers tend to slip badly after their 30th birthday. This was rebutted with "Santana is not like the majority of other pitchers."
If neither pitchers as a whole nor pitchers a lot like Santana constitute evidence, what does?
The Tom Seaver/Randy Johnson/Roger Clemens/Curt Schilling type pitchers often last well into their 30's. The Santana/Higuera/El Cid type pitchers very often slide in their late 20s and early 30s. That's not new information-Bill James wrote about it 25 years ago.
2007-11-28 10:46:04
56.   williamnyy23
51 Your missing the point though...the Red Sox had to take Lowell in that deal, so you can't really factor in his performance. The Red Sox could have traded any warm body for Lowell separately from the Beckett deal. In fact, they probably would have had to give up more if the Marlins backed off their demand to include Lowell. If anything, you can criticize the Marlins for giving Lowell away, but you can't credit Boston for accepting Lowell as a pre-requisite to getting Beckett.
2007-11-28 10:52:21
57.   JL25and3
55 Bill James's work has said that pitchers with high K rates, as a group, are much more durable than those with low K rates. Santana's K rates have been just wonderful.

I'm not sure what you mean by Santana as a Higuera/El Sid type of pitcher. To me, "Higuera/El Sid type" would mean fat.

2007-11-28 10:54:46
58.   williamnyy23
55 Who is to say that Santana is more like Higuera/El Sid than Clemens/Schilling?

There are two major problems with using these comps as a basis for a conclusion:

1) You have to consider the quality of the comp score (980 is much better than 900).
2) They aren't park adjusted.

On that basis alone, I wouldn't put much merit in the list.

2007-11-28 11:00:19
59.   JL25and3
58 They aren't adjusted for era, either. They just use raw numbers.

I could also call Santana a Whitey Ford/Ron Guidry type. Neither lasted into their late 30's, but they did get into the mid-30's. I wouldn't advocate signing Santana (or any other pitcher) past then anyway.

2007-11-28 11:00:33
60.   williamnyy23
55 58 Also, Schilling/Clemens really shouldn't be one group. The Rocket is in a much higher class than Schill...a class that includes not many others.
2007-11-28 11:07:38
61.   Raf
51 And even then, Pedro wasn't PEDRO that year.
2007-11-28 11:08:26
62.   Shaun P
Here is Santana's Comparables list from his BP PECOTA card; this is going into 2007, so it doesn't take 2007 into account.

And please note that his overall similarity score is a very low 27, so I think this list really is more a fun discussion point than something substantive.

1. Sandy Koufax, 1964 (54)
2. Tom Seaver, 1973 (50)
3. Steve Carlton, 1973 (48)
4. Mario Soto, 1984 (41)
5. Camilo Pascual, 1962 (36)
6. Roger Clemens, 1990 (36)
7. Don Sutton, 1973 (35)
8. Kevin Appier, 1996 (35)
9. Fergie Jenkins, 1971 (35)
10. Juan Marichal, 1966 (33)

The number in () is the score of how Santana through 2006 matches up with that person through the listed season. A score over 50 means substantially comparable; the lower you get below 50, the less comparable things become.

So, one way to look at this is that Santana may be on the verge of imploding (Koufax) or superstardom (Seaver). But I'd prefer a better score set to use as a basis for making a prediction. Two scores of 50 or better just aren't enough to make me comfortable.

I'd very much like to see what his '08 PECOTA says his comparables are, since '07 was not one of his best years.

2007-11-28 11:46:51
63.   Raf
62 Looking at those numbers, if he turns out like Carlton, that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world...
2007-11-28 12:23:31
64.   ChuckM
Twins are supposedly about to move Garza to the D-Rays for Delmon Young in a 6-player deal...
2007-11-28 12:25:51
65.   YankeeInMichigan
60 You like Rocket as a comp? Here was his record ages 29-34.

29: Cy Young contender (ERA+ 175)
30: Mediocre, missed 4 starts (104)
31: Could have competed for Cy Young if not for strike (177)
32: #3-quality, missed 10 starts (116)
33: #2-quality, despite lousy W-L (139)
34: Dominant once again (221)

Would you have paid $130 million and given up your top prospects for those 6 years?

Schilling, in that age span, was consistently strong but never dominant. His ERA+ ranged from 124 to 143 over the first 5 years and then jumped to 157 at age 34. (It is interesting that Schilling, like Clemens, caught a 2nd wind at age 34.)

Note also that 2001, Schilling's age-34 season, was the best of his career (he posted a 159 ERA+ in 2003, but he pitched only 24 games). Schilling's greatness lies more in his "big-game" intangibles than in his day-to-day stats.

2007-11-28 12:33:51
66.   OldYanksFan
I may be wrong but the problem seems to me to be... not how great or durable Santana is, but the kids that we would have to give up to get him in trade.

QUESTION: If he were a FA, would you go 6/$135 ($22.5 yr)?
If not, what would you pay for 6 years?

2007-11-28 12:47:13
67.   markp
That's exactly the problem. If we were talking about giving up Doug Drabek and some C level prospects, there'd be no problem. Since we're talking about a top 5 pitching prospect (who'll probably be pretty good him self in 2008) and our top CF prospect and our current CF and probably another good prospect for him, it becomes a huge risk small reward situation.
2007-11-28 12:56:54
68.   tommyl
67 Agreed, its just a mistake any way I can look at it. Remember how slowly Johan started off this year? If they trade away Hughes and Melky and he starts like that, people will be ready to lynch him and Cashman. To me, if they make the move its a step back from the philosophy which I've liked the last couple of years and a return to buying whatever big name guy we can find.

Santana is really, really good, but he is not the greatest pitcher ever, or even of his era, he's on the decline and Hughes could be damn near close to him. I actually believe at this point that he's (Santana) overrated.

2007-11-28 12:58:39
69.   tommyl
66 Probably not actually. It ties up almost $50 in payroll between him and Alex alone and he's only going to get worse from here on out. Like Cliff said in 11 he's on a slow, but steady decline and he was awful against the AL East last year.

Let me ask this, if the move was made and he had a year like Beckett's 2006, how would you guys feel?

2007-11-28 13:02:01
70.   JL25and3
68 I think the whole issue of his "decline" is overrated. "Slipping for the last three years" is kind of deceiving. This is the first year there's been a noticeable slip, and it's still at a damn high level.
2007-11-28 13:04:18
71.   JL25and3
69 OK, but what if he didn't? What if he had a year like Clemens in 1997, after the Sox decided he was washed up?

I'd actually be OK with one year like Beckett's '06 if he came back with Beckett's '07.

2007-11-28 13:06:01
72.   tommyl
70 Yes, but honestly the only way I can see this being worth it is if he is at so high a level that he'll add enough wins to get them to the postseason now and be dominant once he gets there. Otherwise, what are we talking about? That's a lot of talent and money for someone who still at a "high level." And whatever you think, the number of lefty aces who were still any good at 35+ is basically Randy Johnson and Lefty Grove.
2007-11-28 13:10:04
73.   JL25and3
72 I've said I wouldn't sign him for more than 5 guaranteed years (with an option that might become guaranteed). I'm much less concerned with the package given up, because I think over the next 5 years he'll be good enough to be worth it.
2007-11-28 13:12:01
74.   tommyl
73 Ok, fair enough. I disagree with you about his being worth it, but its all speculation. You're a bigger gambler than I am I guess.

I'm not sure he'd accept a 5 year deal. Remember he has to waive his no-trade, and if we're making this trade without an extension its a retarded move. What's to stop him for just vetoing the deal and hitting FA next year and signing a Zito like contract?

2007-11-28 13:12:30
75.   JL25and3
72 Steve Carlton won Cy Youngs at 35 and 37. And then there's Warren Spahn...
2007-11-28 13:13:26
76.   JL25and3
74 I don't think he would accept the deal. You and I both end up without a deal, just for different reasons.
2007-11-28 13:20:02
77.   Kered Retej
39 I'm sure this is some form of tampering, but if the Yanks could let it slip that they are willing to go to $30M per year for Santana, maybe that would be enough incentive for him to go to the Twins and say I'm only going to waive my NTC for the Yankees, forcing the Twins to lower their asking price.

I think most people would take Santana as a free agent at his target of 6 years at $25M per. If he's not the best pitcher in the game right now, he's definitely in the conversation, and the Yankees have the money to afford him.

The real problem now is how much talent do you give up, and that has little to do with the Twins and much to do with the other possible bidders. The key for the Yankees is to play this game of chicken well with the Sox, Mets, etc. If the Yanks can hold on and sweat out the other teams, the price may come down.

Still, I'm on the side of the fence that says it is worth trading away one big chip like Hughes, plus Melky to land Santana. Much as I hope to see Phil dominate in pinstripes, the analytical side of me says there is a much higher probability that Phil will fail to materialize as a top pitcher than Santana will fail to pan out.

Plus, if Phil does become the star, we can always go back to the Twins in a few years and trade away more talent. :)

On a side note, one of the things that continues to bug me is why the Yankees have such a hard time filling the two least-demanding positions, namely 1B and DH? Yes, they may have plus players at other positions to make up for it, but they really need to get more production out of those slots. Someone smarter than me can look at the numbers, but my gut says that even if Damon plays LF full time, Matsui (much as I love the guy and his porn collection) is a below-average DH. Isn't there some way for the Yankees to get league average production out of those two positions?

2007-11-28 13:20:37
78.   Shaun P
76 Since Santana has told the Twins he wants 6 years from them, I think he's probably not going to do a 5 year deal.

74 The only thing(s) Santana needs to worry about re: testing free agency are if he declines further in '08 or he gets hurt. Then maybe he ends up with less than he'd get from a "sign and trade" now.

OTOH, if he has a Cy Young winning year, he's in the money big-time. What team wouldn't bid on him?

I think, if I'm Santana, I take my chances and try free agency.

2007-11-28 13:28:05
79.   ny2ca2dc
64 wow: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3131988

Seems like a win for the Twins. Maybe the Yanks should get in on this - Horne for Young, anyone, anyone? Is Garza much ahead of Horne?

2007-11-28 13:29:20
80.   JL25and3
77 Very clear tampering.
2007-11-28 13:31:01
81.   liam
mlbtraderumors/startribune is reporting a whole lot of steam coming from the garza trade (Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, and Juan Rincon to the Rays for Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie)

http://tinyurl.com/2vb5kx

I think this means we quickly turn to oakland or baltimore (although they'll never trade anyone in a reasonable amount of time, esp to a division rival).

anyone else here think its worth taking a flyer on harden?

2007-11-28 13:31:49
82.   JL25and3
79 I think it's a great trade for the Devils, too. (I know they dropped half of their name; I'm choosing to keep this half.) They've got talented young outfielders to burn, but they need talented young pitchers. Garza is good.
2007-11-28 13:34:56
83.   JL25and3
81 Only if the A's are willing to give him up for next to nothing. He's more than just an injury risk; he's an injury until proven otherwise.

That's why I don't think the A's will trade him now. It's not like Beane to sell low.

2007-11-28 13:43:28
84.   Schteeve
77 I'm not usually a guy who cares about the salaries of baseball players. It's all monopoly money after awhile, but $25m/year for a pitcher seems a little, how do you say, 'fucking crazy?'
2007-11-28 14:32:11
85.   wsporter
78 MFD, I agree. If I'm Santana I'd certainly listen to offers now but what I accept would have to be a Zito contract plus to get me to waive the no trade. I'd take my chances on my "supreme ability" this season, bank on having an "A-Rod season" and let a bidding war take place next fall. I think he can do better then than he will now with a team that may have to strip it's farm to get him.

Of course the current projections may be accurate and he may end up loosing a bunch of money. So that may give him pause. But then again if he's not willing to bet on himself why the hell should we?

2007-11-28 14:32:46
86.   theblastphemous
Is Mark Prior on the radar? The Yankees missed out on him once, can they take a shot at a talented youngish (27) player now. I know he's been hampered by some pretty scary injuries, but the Cubs might just be willing to dump him for any old PTBNL. After that he'll only cost money. And after Carl Pavano...
2007-11-28 14:49:31
87.   Kered Retej
84 Heck, it's not my money . . . well, I guess it is, sort of, indirectly. But if anyone has money to burn, it's the Yankees, and Santana at least seems like a decent guy.
2007-11-28 14:49:45
88.   Shaun P
85 MFD, that might not be the worst thing for the Twins either, if Johan stays. Unless they are getting a very good hitter in return, they are more competitive with him in '08 than without him. The Twins have plenty of pitching, but they need hitting badly - even if they swap Garza for Delmon Young.
2007-11-28 15:08:07
89.   Just fair
I finally read "Birth of a Dynasty" this past summer and the line that keeps running through my head is, "Sometimes the best trades are the ones that don't get made." Keep 'em all and let someone else deal with the upcoming albatross of Santana's contract.
2007-11-28 15:11:28
90.   SF Yanks
All I have to say is that if Hughes gets dealt in a Santana deal, I will be one pissed off Yankee fan.
2007-11-28 16:48:21
91.   weeping for brunnhilde
Oh God, I miss baseball.
2007-11-28 17:07:14
92.   JL25and3
89 That's true. Of course, some other times the best deals are the ones that do get made.
2007-11-28 17:16:59
93.   OldYanksFan
IMHO the best deals are a combination of 89 and 92 (IMHO).
2007-11-28 17:25:21
94.   JL25and3
93 The trick is only to make the deals that work out well, and don't make the ones that work out better if you don't make them.
2007-11-28 17:39:53
95.   liam
89 is that book good? i liked last night of the yankee dynasty, but building of, just havent had the feeling it was going to be good.
2007-11-28 17:41:20
96.   Just fair
91 I hear ya. If there was a game on tonight it would be about the 5th inning.
2007-11-28 17:52:26
97.   OldYanksFan
91 I'm with ya too. Today's posts at Lohud have 1000 comments and counting. It appears one of their regular posters, 'Bobcat', is an insider, doing financial analysis for MLB teams.
2007-11-28 19:35:08
98.   weeping for brunnhilde
96 97 With all those fucking channels on the cable, you'd think they could offer a baseball channel, eh? Or at least ESPN should make an effort to feature more baseball in the winter. I'm sure there's compelling baseball being played in central and south America, no?

Among other places.

We always here allusions to this "winter ball" yet it's this big mysterious thing. Why doesn't someone hire a reporter to follow around a hot team or something and keep us apprised? They might even broadcast one a week, for God's sake.

Is that too much to ask?

2007-11-28 20:15:32
99.   Zack
I am as big a Phil Hughes fan as there is. I even had a nightmare last night about him being traded.

But that being said, what we have here is a massive case of overvaluing prospects. People are talking about not just Hughes, but Jackson etc as sure bets. Of course, there is no such thing., Its been rehearsed a million times, but there was no "surer bet" than Mark Prior and look what happened to him. I get it. We love Hughes. We love having cheap, young, farm system kids with tons of potential. But tons of potential doesn't throw 200 innings with a 140 ERA+ and strike fear in the opposing team. If you are so hell bent on keeping Hughes and/or all of the kids, than you better be hell bent on suffering through a whole bunch of ups and downs. And the problem is that with a team that is getting as old as it is young, there simply isn't the right balance. Either they play to win now with Posada, Rivera, Damon, Matsui etc, or they retool with the youth. But for the next three years, there will be a strange mix of youthful inexperience and inconsistency and veteran/aging decline.

Of course, if Pettitte would just come back, its all moot--you don't make the trade.

But think about it, without Pettitte, this team has 1 starter, 1, capable of giving them 200 quality innings next year and then a whole lot of question marks. And you can bet your ass the Yanks aren't going anywhere with that rotation...

2007-11-28 20:50:58
100.   51cq24
99 what's wrong with a mix of youth and veterans? isn't that what the best teams are?
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-11-28 22:18:19
101.   Zack
100 The best teams are some really good veterans at their peak and a mix of younger and a few vets declining. My argument was that the Yankees' are at a transition point right here. Players like Posada, Rivera, Pettitte (if he returns), Damon, Matsui, Abreu, Giambi, and to a lesser degree, Jeter, are all PAST their prime and unlikely to improve. In fact, its highly unlikely. Combined with the contracts, the Yankees are going to be replacing a lot of parts soon. That could be an argument to not trade for Santana except that at the same time the kids aren't ready to shoulder the load of the team and are unlikely to be able to replace those players anyways. Thus, there would also be an impetus to win now before these players go their merry ways. Which would argue for trading for Santana, as he is pretty much the one player available right now who actually could make that much of a difference.

I am all for a team with a good mix of age and youth, experience and inexperience, but the Yankees are an odd mix of that as they stand now, and there is somewhat of a generational gap on the team. In fact, Wang is really the only significant player on the team to really be entering his prime right now. Everyone else is either well beyond it or rather in front of it...

2007-11-29 03:55:33
102.   Raf
98 http://tinyurl.com/yqau5t

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