Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Hughes Untouchable?
2007-11-28 22:15
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Breaking News: Twins Acquire Top Prospect from AL East for Starting Pitcher!

Neither Johan Santana, nor the Yankees were involved, though one might wonder how the mega-deal that sent Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett among others to the Rays for Delmon Young and others might effect both the trade market for Johan Santana (the Twins are up and outfielder, but down a starting pitchers) and the rapidity of the Rays' rise in the East now that they have a Big Three in their rotation.

Earlier in the day yesterday, the Pinstriped Bible's Steven Goldman and I got to chatting about the viability of including Phil Hughes in a deal for Johan Santana. Steve thinks it's worth the risk. I'm not so sure. Here's what we had to say:

Steven Goldman: I was just listening to Jon Heyman on WFAN from yesterday talking about Yankees/Santana. He says the Twins want Hughes/Melky/a couple of other guys who aren't Chamberlain, Kennedy.
Cliff Corcoran: I dunno if I can do Hughes. I could do Kennedy/Melky plus a couple B-prospects. I don't think I can do Hughes.
SG: That's why this is hard, and why the Twins want Hughes rather than Kennedy. Scout-wise, no one is a Kennedy fan. Results wise, we know he looks great.
CC: Melky's easy though, here, take him.
SG: Agreed on Melky.
SG: Clay Davenport's peak DT gave me pause. Clay projects Melky at 25 to hit .312/.378/.461.
CC: Yeah, he's Bernie Williams right now, but will he be Bernie then? I dunno.
CC: Plus Austin Jackson . . .
SG: Well, Jackson may not be a CF.
CC: Kevin Goldstein seems dubious about Melky as a CF, so what's that really worth until you see him?
SG: Yeah, I know.
SG: I'm dubious about Melky. The arm is great anywhere. The range I think, is not exactly Tris Speaker. It's better than Damon, certainly.
CC: Damon's not terrible out there, but it's all so much better than the fading Bernie, it's hard for us to judge.
SG: He looked worse than he really was because of the early back problems.
CC: Yeah, and the arm makes you ignore that he actually got to that ball.
SG: True.
CC: In left, it all works out quite nicely. I like that Girardi came out and said Damon's the LF. That means Melky's the CF unless he's traded and they sign Andruw, and Matsui and his ouchie knees DH. It's the ideal arrangement. I also like that Girardi said all three kids are in the rotation (the Andy-free rotation, that is). That helps with trading leverage as well.
SG: Heyman is talking about David DeJesus -> Yankees, which wouldn't be bad if Melky was traded. About the same level of production.
CC: Yeah, but DeJesus is what he is, Melky could improve.
SG: Sure. But Melky -> Santana/DeJesus, you live with that.
CC: But, what will KC want? That's more players gone from the system, so the trade for Santana is essentially the guys that go to MIN with Melky + the guys that go to KC, that's a lot of bodies out of the system, and several of them will be important ones. Hughes/Melky --> Santana/DeJesus is still a tough sell for me
SG: Why?
CC: potential
CC: price
CC: decline
SG: Who is going to have more value over the next five years, Hughes or Santana?
CC: Could be a wash. If not, it could be a lot closer than it's worth for the extra bodies and salary involved.
SG: I dunno, Yogi. Seems to me Santana is already good and Hughes might be good.
CC: That's 100% true, but Santana is also already expensive and he's already been good, and could be in decline already.
SG: It's very difficult to balance the chances of Santana not being who he is versus Hughes becoming Santana or even a declining Santana. He might be, but chances are he won't be.
CC: Yes, but will he be a large enough percentage of Santana to make it not worth the salary and the extra pieces involved in the trade, which will be costly as well? I'm thinking yes.
SG: Woof.
SG: A reader of Rob Neyer's pointed this out in a chat the other day...

Adam (NYC): It's hard to believe that Santana will win another 100 games though...wouldn't Hughes have a better chance of reaching that mark than a 29 year old pitcher past his prime? If the Yanks sign Santana to a 10 year extension, they'd be paying Santana $20 million a year at age the same time Hughes would be entering the prime of his career. Can you say Kevin Brown? Not a very wise business move to say the least.

Rob Neyer: Adam, here's a chance for some research. Go back and make a list of 20 pitching prospects with Hughes' credentials. Then make a list of 20 pitchers with Santana's credentials. I'll bet you the Santana comps won more games afterward than the Hughes comps did.

Doug (NY): A little research; according to BA, the top pitching prospects since 1990: S.Avery, T.Van Poppell, B.Taylor, Bere, J.Baldwin, B.Pulsipher, P.Wilson, K.Wood, R.White, R.Ankiel, R.Anderson, J.Beckett, M.Prior, J.Foppert, E.Jackson, F.Hernandez, Liriano. It's too early to tell on some of them (King Felix for example), but other than Beckett, not really a list of HOFers.

Rob Neyer: Exactly. Thank you for doing what I couldn't do. Granted, Hughes has done more than Van Poppel or Taylor or some of those other guys had done at his age. But the point still holds, I think.

CC: I think that last "granted" is where that argument loses me. Hughes has already had success in the major leagues. He's not a prospect any more, he's a major league starting pitcher.
SG: Based on a weally, weally small sample.
CC: Yes, but prospect + ML success > prospect . . . by a lot.
SG: True.
CC: So the relevant points from that list are Avery, Ankiel, Prior and Wood, Beckett and King Felix. Still troublesome, but the Yankees have learned the lesson of Prior and Wood in terms of workload, and Ankiel was a fluke. Beckett and King Felix are not guys you'd give up in a Santana trade, and Avery won 47 games from age 21-23.
SG: Well, Ankiel had a kind of injury. Or numerous injuries as it turned out.
CC: I'm just saying, I'd make the trade and take on the salary straight up, but with all the other stuff involved, it may not be worth it.
SG: You can argue it either way.
CC: And indeed we have.

Comments (96)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-11-28 23:18:28
1.   SF Yanks
Hmmm...interesting. I'm still with ya Cliff. I say no to Hughes in a Santana deal. For the price + other prospects + best Yankee pitching prospect in ages = not worth it.
2007-11-29 00:16:43
2.   rabid stan
I'm definitely on the side of keeping Hughes. I lean that way rationally for many of the reasons Cliff points out, and also for the possibility Santana could be had at the end of next season for cash and draft picks.

But as a Yankee fan, I'm just sick of other teams' pitchers. It feels like paying through the nose for leftovers at an expensive restaurant.

2007-11-29 03:48:36
3.   OldYanksFan
Really, really good post Cliff. Reading a dialog between 2 (rational) people I respect was very helpful.

Bottom line: Keep Phil!
(We don't need no stinkin' Santana!)
Primarily Reasons: Santana is going to get FA money, which is almost always overpaying. In itself, not too bad. But to give up 3 players I expect on the field.. one with a good upside, one with a great one? No deal. WE CAN EVENTUALLY BUY 90% OF A SANTANA IN THE NEXT YEAR OR 2 without losing Phil.
And emotion be damned! Phil is OURS! a TRUE Yankee! You simply can't ignor the 'Joy' factor here.

Also, run some scenerios. We make the trade. They both turn out to be good: We get good Santana, but we ARE paying a premium for him. Over 10 years, Phil produces close to or better.
We don't do the trade and Phil flops: Well, that sucks, but hasn't cost us any money. And aside from injury, Phil might still be a viable #3, #4 or #5 guy.
We do do the trade and Santana is less then expected/injured: It's deja vu all over again. Yankees trade the farm for high priced BFOG veteran! Yanks try to buy PS and lose! Red Sox keep their kids and rule the AL!

We do a few more deals (BP, 1 SP, maybe 1st base), we have a winning team AS IS. I'm happy with what we got. Stay pat! And enjoy the kids!

Question: Who had a better upside at this age/point in their career?
Phillip Hughes or Derek- Pettitte- Bernie- Posada- Rivera?
We kept all of them, right?

You can't rule out the possibility that Santana becomes a FA and we buy him next year.. or that we can get Haren or CC or Kazmir. We are NOT desparate!


2007-11-29 04:02:19
4.   OldYanksFan
P.S. Now that the Twins have traded away pitching and got an impact RFer, I propose this:

Santana === Melky, 2 of (Alan Horne, Steven White, Steven Jackson, Mark Melancon) and 2 of (Ross Ohlendorf, Tyler Clippard, Dan McCutchen).

These aren't scrubs. There is some talent in that list. 5 players, all cheap, one MLer and 4 guys with decent potential.

2007-11-29 04:05:04
5.   joejoejoe
When figuring out which pitching prospects to make available in a trade isn't it better to look at how many more wins Hughes will be worth vs. Kennedy rather than Hughes vs. Santana? I highly doubt the Yankees will have room for 3 young pitchers in the rotation in '07 so part of what you are dealing away is the cost of storing Kennedy at Scranton.
2007-11-29 04:51:26
6.   51cq24
no matter what, all the twins can give us is one year of santana. that is all they have to give. just because we'd get a chance to sign him to an extension doesn't mean that the twins are actually giving us more than that one year. they don't have more than that one year. we must not let them fool us into thinking we're getting more than one year. the only possible reason i can think of for giving up a lot of top prospects is that the red sox could trade for him. but at the same time, they could also sign him as a free agent next year. overall i'd prefer them to overpay for him, even though he is definitely the best pitcher in baseball right now.
2007-11-29 04:59:33
7.   williamnyy23
While I am definitely on the fence about trading Hughes for Santana, I think too much is being made of Santana's "decline". It's very hard (perhaps absurd) to project Phil Hughes to have a long successful major league career, when you start with the premise that an established pitcher like Santana is already in decline before his 29th birthday.

I think it's a pretty safe bet that Santana will be better than Hughes over the next 5 years. What starts tilting the balance is the opportunity cost of the money, the other prospects in the deal and the intangible satisfaction of having a homegrown ace. I think we need to frame a possible deal in that light, as opposed to trying to determine which pitch will perform better over the next 5 years+.

2007-11-29 05:04:13
8.   williamnyy23
6 It's easy to dismiss Santana going to the Red Sox, but what if Santana and Beckett turn out to be the best two pitchers in MLB over the next 5 years (not a far fetched scenario). Is that the hole the Yankees want to be working from...even if Joba and Hughes develop into the 3rd and 4th best pitchers (a less likely scenario)?

Like it or not, the presence of the Red Sox and Yankees as possible suitors gives the Twins a lot of leverage. They aren't simply offering one year of Santana, but also the chance to sign a long-term deal (thereby preventing him from joining the enemy).

2007-11-29 05:12:19
9.   williamnyy23
According to John Heyman in SI:

The Twins have asked the Yankees for one of three top pitching prospects -- Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy -- plus center fielder Melky Cabrera and one or two younger prospects.

If that is true, the Yankees can make the deal without Hughes, although it would probably cost better additional prospects. That then leads to the question of whether saving Hughes is worth losing, let's say, Tabata and Horne?

If the options were Hughes, Melky, Ohlendorf and Cervelli or Kennedy, Melky, Horne and Tabata, which would be the better deal.

Essentially, the Yankees need to really determine what they think Hughes will become. If they really think he will be a long-term #1/#2 starter, it's probably worth it to give up more top level prospects. If, however, they think he may not be as good as the hype, dealing Hughes would be a chance to cash on his inflated value.

It's really a very difficult call.

2007-11-29 05:32:54
10.   ny2ca2dc
9 I would take the Kennedy, Melky, Horne and Tabata deal. As much as I love and want more hitting prospects, and I believe Tabata may be the real deal, corner outfielders aren't really that hard to find if you're willing to eat salary. Further, I would think the Twins might target infielders once they get Melky - they have Cuddyer in Right, could have Melky in Center, and have Young in Left. Then need a third baseman - and we have Wilson Betemit, who would be a big upgrade for them. Maybe Kennedy, Horne, Melky, Betemit gets it done, maybe plus a Cox or Clippard or Oheli or Whelen or something. Maybe they could throw in a LOOGY prospect or something.
2007-11-29 05:34:56
11.   ny2ca2dc
10 Man, I'm already wavering on the Kennedy+Melky+Horne+Tabata... that's a lot of talent. All this Santana talk is really giving me agita, but my real priority is to keep Hughes and leverage the pitching depth.
2007-11-29 05:35:17
12.   RIYank
I'm on the Keep Hughes side, too.

But 6 although all the Twins can give is one year of Santana, that's a misleading way to put it. Any trade for Santana would have to include his agreeing to a new, 5-yr contract (or longer). Maybe that won't happen, but there is no question of a trade in which the Yankees get just one year of Santana and give up great prospects.

2007-11-29 05:51:59
13.   Adrian
3 and 10 I'm 100% with you guys. I'd rather keep what we have and see what happens, then bid on Santana on the open market next year. Is the loss of one year of Santana worth the potential loss of many productive years from the farm? I'd take him if we can get him for a song (Melky, IPK, some crappy arms in the bullpen) and I also think we shouldn't be trading any pitching prospects until we know whether or not Pettitte is coming back.

It was a great back and forth, though. And I'll be the first to admit that I'm sentimentally attached to the kids because I really feel like the re-energized the clubhouse down the stretch and helped us into the playoffs.

2007-11-29 05:53:00
14.   jeterian swing
I think the most frustrating part of trading Hughes for Santana is not just that Hughes is an exciting young player with a high ceiling, but the idea that trading him is a complete abandonment of the rebuilding-from-within movement we have been discussing now for several years (and are rightfully proud of). Whether Hughes will be better than Johan in 2010 is almost immaterial here: Trading Hughes as part of a package for Santana -- and then signing Santana for 6/150 -- shows an utter lack of guile on the part of our FO (unlike, say, the Abreu deal), an all-too-familiar reliance on our limitless wealth and a seeming disregard for the feelings of the involved, hardcore fan in favor of the casual, corporate fan. Four million tickets don't sell themselves, you know.

This, of course, is a sentimental plea; it's based in perception and emotion rather than fact. We have come to love Phil Hughes as a prospect, as a player, and as a person, yes. We have also come to love him as a symbol of our team's evolving intelligence and cunning, our team's youth, our team's long-term future and health. We've grown proud of our team's ability to find and develop young talent, and proud that we had the top pitching prospect in baseball -- that's new for us, and exciting. He's not a sure thing by any means, and Johan's decline could reverse itself at age 29, and the move could win us a few rings over the course of Johan's contract. Trading Hughes might be the right move -- and I trust Brian Cashman to be smart and deft here, where my own judgment is clouded -- but if he is traded, it will not be a proud moment for the Yankees; it will be an ugly, sad, frustrating one. We can only hope it won't be an ugly, sad, frustrating future.

2007-11-29 06:01:38
15.   williamnyy23
14 Just two I mentioned above, Santana is not in "decline". He should be in the midst of his prime and maintain his ability for a good part of the next 5 years.

Also, I can see being sentimental, but suggesting a trade for the best pitcher in baseball would be an "ugly" moment is pretty harsh. Sad and frustrating perhaps, but ugly?

2007-11-29 06:13:34
16.   wsporter
I'm with Uncle Cliffy on this one. If a deal goes down I would have a very hard time justifying the inclusion of Hughes. A mid-line scenario with Hughes is as a number 3. Even with Santana as a dominant 1 would he be worth the value difference represented in their respective salaries? I doubt it. Even if we weight the value of post-season wins and say that Santana gets us 2 extra post season wins which means the surety of at least two additional post-season games played in each season and the additional revenue generated therefrom (i.e. if you win today you are guaranteed to play again tomorrow unless today's win was the 19th game played). Would even that bring the value of their marginal products close to a wash over the life of a Santana contract? I still doubt it. I'd need to be damn sure that Santa will continue to be what he was prior to August/September 2007 before I pulled the trigger on a deal that included Sir Phil. Even then it would keep me up nights.
2007-11-29 06:18:35
17.   Shaun P
Count me also on the "keep Hughes" side. Not only is his current ML success a very good sign, what the kid in the minors is nothing short of incredible. (And yes, I know he did spent quite a bit of time in the pitching haven that is the Florida State League.)
2007-11-29 06:19:23
18.   Sliced Bread
Excellent post, Cliff. Great banter and trade breakdown by you and Goldman.

I don't have any great insights to offer, but here's what I'm thinking:

Amid all the speculation and fantasy trade proposals, has Santana himself ever revealed his intentions?

Is the Bronx his ultimate destination of choice? Would he refuse a trade elsewhere to ensure that he lands on the Yanks?

My Yankee arrogance tells me there's no place he'd rather be.

There should be no question in his mind that the Yanks have the wherewithal to overpay him in dollars and years for his services. If he understands and appreciates this, it's just a matter of time (and filling in the blanks) before he becomes a Yankee.

If I'm the Yanks, I'm making this quietly (illegally) clear to Johan. The Yanks have to turn this into a one team race in Santana's mind.

If Santana wants nothing more than to make Yankee money, wear the uniform, and do the king of NY thing, and whispers this to the Yanks, and whispers to the Twins that it's the Bronx or bust for him, there's no reason to overpay the Twins for Santana now or ever.

What's overpaying? I see no reason to go beyond Kennedy, Melky, plus some filler to make it happen this winter. If the Twins demand more than that, wait, and see what happens.

2007-11-29 06:20:44
19.   RIYank
15 Pitchers' primes are hard to predict. Just on the basis of age, we should expect Santana to have a couple of prime years left, and then decline. But many pitchers improve in control for a couple of years in their thirties, while others drop off after 28, so it's hard to say. It's unlikely that all five contract years would be among Johan's best, anyway.
2007-11-29 06:33:04
20.   Shaun P
18 Sliced, IIRC, the last time Santana made his desires clear was spring training '07, during which time he was begging the Twins to offer him a 6-year extension.

His first desire might be to stay in Minnesota.

19 Agreed. Though its unlikely, Santana may be past his prime already. Its a much safer bet that Hughes's prime is in front of him.

The one risk is injury, and I'm not sure which side that weighs more heavily on. Hughes doesn't have lots of mileage on his arm because he's young, so maybe he's less susceptible to injury . . . but his youth might means he's more susceptible to injury. Santana has mileage on his arm, but whether that means he's less likely or more likely to be injured I'm not sure.

2007-11-29 06:45:56
21.   williamnyy23
17 I am big Hughes fan, but he didn't exactly light it up last season. While his later season improvement was encouraging (especially because I think he was still feeling the effects of the injuries), I wouldn't say he had success...rather, he made gradual improvement.

18 I made the same suggestion yesterday...somehow circulate the idea that if he becomes a FA in 2008, the Yankees will go overboard. The biggest risk is not acquiring Santana this season, but having another team lock him up long-term.

19 Pitchers are hard to predict, but Johan has been excellent now for 6 straight years. At some point, you have to stop being skeptical of a 28 year old with that track record, and importantly, no injury history.

20 Santana does have "mileage", but the Twins really worked him in the right way: gradually from bullpen to full-time starter.

2007-11-29 06:49:49
22.   JoeInRI
This is what makes the hot stove so great. IMHO, what we have here is a debate over the Yankees doing things the "Yankee Way" vs. the "Money Ball Way". And while I have longed wished for the Yankees to re-build this team the way it was built in the early 90's. It's soooo damn tempting to take advantage of the natural advantage we have.

I'm not sure I know the answer. But for me, I'd rather Joba and Phil were (still) untouchable.

2007-11-29 06:51:48
23.   Sliced Bread
20 But isn't it now a foregone conclusion that the Twins won't give enough to retain him? If that's the case, is the Bronx his 2nd destination of choice?

Has he expressed any desire to play in Boston, or Los Angeles?

I've read that he's nterested in NY, and it's been said that he'd love it here, but I'm curious how much he wants to be a Yankee.

If he's half-hearted about it, or only vaguely interested in coming here, or would just as soon play in Boston -- best to hold tight to the kids and wait until free agency.

bottomline: if Santana really wants to come here, he can quickly turn this into a one team race, and we all know that's the kind of race the Yanks can easily win with the wallet.

2007-11-29 07:01:14
24.   williamnyy23
Why does it seem that every rumored offer from the Yankees includes top prospects, while the Red Sox offer includes marginal guys or flat out bad major leaguers like Coco Crisp.

WW has a deal from a Minny paper stating Masterson, Lowry, Crisp and Lester is being considerd. That would be a steal for the Red Sox, Lowry is a decent SS prospect, but nothing special, while Masterson is a long ways away (the Yankees have a handful of pitching prospects who might be better than he is).

As for the main components, Lester is already 24 with very few innings, but two full years of service time, while Coco Crisp flat out sucks. I can't imagine the Twins even considering a deal like that.

2007-11-29 07:04:57
25.   mehmattski
24 Not to mention the deal, proposed by a Twin Cities "journalist," that was ripped upon by a trade that included Carlos Silva, free agent.
2007-11-29 07:05:34
26.   rbj
There's probably no way Santana becomes a FA -- the Twins will have to accept even a lowball offer, otherwise they get bupkus, aside from a 1st round draft choice. And baseball draft choices are a crapshoot. So it's either make a trade for him or be prepared to go without.

I don't mind trading Kennedy (not Hughes or Joba) but I'm leery of trading Melky. None of the FA CFs whelm me, and sticking Damon back in CF, with Matsui in LF is not a favorable option. Maybe convince the Twins to take Edwar & Bruney & Henn & Clippard & Wright, in addition to IPK?

2007-11-29 07:06:06
27.   Yanks Fan in Chicago
Hey Guys,

I have actually moved back to New York for the time being.

First of all, I say don't trade Phil. I'd rather fail with the kids than drop huge money on a free agent pitcher and keep going down the path of the past 35 years.

Second of all, does anyone know a good bar in Manhattan that will have the NFL Network/Cowboys/Packers game?


2007-11-29 07:08:45
28.   Shaun P
23 "But isn't it now a foregone conclusion that the Twins won't give enough to retain him?"

No. Word is the Twins offered Santana $80M/4 years. Santana said $20M/year was fine, but he wants 6 years. So far, the Twins have not counter-offered. It seems like they could do a deal easily.

2007-11-29 07:15:37
29.   Shaun P
21 "17 I am big Hughes fan, but he didn't exactly light it up last season. While his later season improvement was encouraging (especially because I think he was still feeling the effects of the injuries), I wouldn't say he had success...rather, he made gradual improvement."

But those ML numbers from a 21 year old with less than 300 IP in the minors are damn good. And in 17 I was focusing on Hughes' minor league numbers, which were utterly ridiculous.

2007-11-29 07:15:44
30.   jeterian swing
15 William, I don't mean to suggest that adding Johan would be an "ugly" move by any stretch -- I would LOVE to see him in pinstripes. He's a legitimately great pitcher and the prospect of having him on our team is exhilarating. I meant only that trading Hughes right now would be ugly: He's a player near and dear to many of us, and a symbol of something pure and fresh (and a top-rated prospect, let's not forget), and the loss of that -- regardless of the return -- would be ugly. To me, at least. My stomach turns at the thought of it, quite frankly. But again, this is entirely sentimental; I trust Brian Cashman to do what is best for the franchise and I can't honestly say I expect Hughes to outperform Johan next year or ever. If "ugly" is too harsh, I'll retract it. Sad and frustrating is enough.

BTW I hope Ian Kennedy is staying far away from blogs and message boards these days. It must be hard enough to hear your name in trade talks without having every fan on the Web trying to ship you off so that another player might be saved.

2007-11-29 07:24:20
31.   51cq24
12 yeah so not only would the yankees have to give up all that talent, they'd also have to pay him an enormous amount of money. all the twins can give is that 1 year. i understand that other teams' involvement complicates it, but we shouldn't let that change the fact that all we're getting from the twins is the one year he has on contract with them.
2007-11-29 07:24:39
32.   Sliced Bread
28 ah. Well, if his heart is still in Minnesota and the Twins intend to keep it there, I say hold tight to the kids, and move on. If the main draw to playing for the Yanks is a couple extra years of money for Santana, I say he's not worth giving up top talent for.
If he's halfhearted about being a Yankee, he can be a Red Sock for all I care.
I'd happily take my chances in the AL East with what we've got.

We do have that third baseman, right? RIGHT?!

2007-11-29 07:25:56
33.   jeterian swing
I didn't see this posted, and I apologize if it has been, but in today's Daily News, Hughes reacted to the trade talks:

"It was an exciting change in the philosophy of the way it used to be," Hughes said. "Looking at the guys who came up this year - me, Joba and Ian - we can help in the rotation for years to come, which would be cool. Not many times do you get three guys 21 or 22 years old to fill three spots in the same rotation.

"You can never assume things are going to happen, but it's fun to think about the way things could be.

"I've always had the mind-set of coming up and playing for the Yankees," Hughes said. "I'd love to stay, but I understand at the same time that it's a business. There's not much you can do about it."

Standard ballplayer-speak, but nice to read just the same.

2007-11-29 07:38:58
34.   Sliced Bread
33 I'm a total sucker for that kind of ballplayer-speak. Anytime a player says he wants to be a Yankee I'm inclined to give him a contract for life.

That's why I was hesitant to criticize Pavano for a long time, and still support Farnswacker.

When a kid like Hughes says he wants to be here, I say keep that kid at all costs.

2007-11-29 07:42:07
35.   ny2ca2dc
34 Great, you've gone and invoked the wrath of Mattpat; I'm sure he'll pounce any moment!
2007-11-29 07:45:50
36.   liam
santana plays for a pretty good team, that just got a lot better. liriano's back, they have a decent offense, they're in a tough division, but i think they have a reasonable shot. if santana turns down being traded this year at all, he can still go to ANY team he wants, and make a s- load more money doing it. if you're talking about a guy who likes his hometown team (it seems he does) and wants to make money, i think it makes a lot of sense for him to hit the FA market.
2007-11-29 07:49:14
37.   wsporter
2007-11-29 07:51:26
38.   ny2ca2dc
36 You make a good point. Especially if they trade Nathan for some more offense and a SP, they shouldn't have trouble getting something like analogs to Horne & Betemit + for Nathan. Maybe they SHOULD keep Santana and make a run of it. I think Santana hitting unrestricted FA next year is the ideal outcome for the Yanks.
2007-11-29 07:52:12
39.   51cq24
26 you'd give up kennedy before melky?

36 i agree. if i were the twins i'd just keep him for this year and try to win. then try again to re-sign him.

2007-11-29 08:00:13
40.   Larry
The save Phil Hughes movement is growing:

2007-11-29 08:16:03
41.   Andre
I'm still not sure what I want (Santana or the yunguns) but how cool would it be to have a rotation like the A's of Mulder, Zito, Hudson with the Yanks lineup behind them. That's what we COULD be with Hughes, Wang, Joba, Kennedy - all homegrown, all young, all very good (behind my rose colored glasses).
2007-11-29 08:18:58
42.   liam
39 and 38
it also makes more sense for santana.. if torii hunter can score 18 mil a year, what do you think johan could get. the bidding war would be ridiculous! what if he has a 'contract year'?

i think he could get so much money that youre going to have politicians pooh poohing baseball.

2007-11-29 08:22:54
43.   JL25and3
I agree with Neyer; 29-year-olds with Santana's resume almost certainly have a better track record than 21-year-olds with Hughes's.

Cliff, you cite Hughes's performance last year as separating him from the mere prospects. So let's look at 21-year-old first-year pitchers who had roughly the same level of success, or a little better: 70-120 IP, ERA+ of 95-110.

Neil Allen, Joe Bonikowski, Nelson Briles, Tom Carroll, Danny Frisella, Rich Harden, George Hunter, Earl Johnson, Syl Johnson, Bruce Kison, Dan Larson, Tony Pierce, Pete Redfern, Harry Suter, Alan Wirth, Jamey Wright, Jaret Wright.

Hughes will probably be better than that bunch - but maybe not. 21-year-old pitchers are inherently risky commodities, much more so than 29-year-olds.

And williamnyy is exactly right about Santana's so-called "decline." He had one year that was substandard compared with his own lofty level of performance, but the "three years of decline" argument really doesn't hold water.

2007-11-29 08:23:55
44.   wsporter
Hughes, Wang, Joba and Kennedy with Sanchez, Betances, Horne, Garcia, Heredia, McCutchen and others in the pipeline. There is no historical precedence that I'm aware of for all that becoming available to start and pitch well at the major league level out of one organization in a period of 2 or 3 years but it's nice to dream isn't it.
2007-11-29 08:24:09
45.   ny2ca2dc
42 I agree. Even if he doesn't have a Cy year, hell even if he has the same as 07, Zito money might be the low end!
2007-11-29 08:30:39
46.   greenzo

I don't think the money is really entering into it-Santana's a steal at whatever dollar figure you have to pay him, and the Yankees have nothing close to an ace on his level.

Can we shorten "I'm a big Phil Hughes fan, but..." to "IABPHF, but..."? Hughes had a nice season, and he's a great prospect. I think the concern from the FO is more that injury issues are in his future, while Santana is a safer bet to be healthy and dominant.

As for 24 , Lowrie would immediately become their best SS prospect, Masterson is a nice arm with Chien-Ming Wang as his top comparable last year, Crisp is a better defender than Hunter, and Lester's a suitable Santana replacement now. In contrast, Melky is poorer defensively and doesn't add much more power, and while Hughes is probably better than Masterson + Lester, it's close. And the Yankees haven't said they're giving up Phil in the first place.

At this point, you'd have to be silly not to factor in the possibility that if you don't make Phil available, the Red Sox are that much closer to pairing Beckett and Santana? Contrary to 32 , that's bad news.

2007-11-29 08:42:37
47.   Shaun P
"CC: Yes, but prospect + ML success > prospect . . . by a lot."

To me, the key there is the "prospect +" part.

43 "Neil Allen, Joe Bonikowski, Nelson Briles, Tom Carroll, Danny Frisella, Rich Harden, George Hunter, Earl Johnson, Syl Johnson, Bruce Kison, Dan Larson, Tony Pierce, Pete Redfern, Harry Suter, Alan Wirth, Jamey Wright, Jaret Wright."

All of those guys were "prospects" to one degree or another. But how many of those guys have Hughes' minor league track record? Without looking it up, I'd bet a lot of money that the answer is "none".

Seriously - go look at what Hughes did in the minors. You won't find a lot of guys who can match that (believe me, I've tried).

2007-11-29 08:56:34
48.   Shaun P
Kevin Goldstein has released his top 11 Yankees prospects (subscriber only):

I will share this:

"Five-Star Prospects
1. Joba Chamberlain, RHP"

"The Big Picture: Rankings Combined With Non-Rookies Under 25 (As Of Opening Day 2008)

1. Philip Hughes, RHP
2. Joba Chamberlain, RHP

. . .

I'm confused as to how Philip Hughes went from the best pitching prospect in the game, to a guy who almost threw a no-hitter, to a guy people wanted to start throwing under the bus as he tried to re-find his groove after a pair of severe injuries. Don't believe the anti-hype--he's still a stud."

2007-11-29 09:07:44
49.   rbj
39 It's not that I want to give up Kennedy, just that I think replacing him with Santana is a pretty good option. Plus the rotation currently looks like Moose, Wang, Hughes, Chamberlain, Kennedy. Wouldn't you rather have it be Santana, Wang, Hughes, Chamberlin, Moose?

As for Melky, do you want Damon back in CF, Matsui in LF? There are going to be games where the youngsters get hit hard, I think a better defensive OF will help save some of those games. I don't want to sign Andruw Jones long term (which is probably what he wants) and I don't know if anyone on the farm is ready to step into CF. The Yankees are still an old team at the position spots, I'd like to hang onto the youngsters.

2007-11-29 09:09:44
50.   Rob Middletown CT
Beaten to it. :)

The article is an interesting read - I'll admit I've never heard of Kelvin DeLeon. Given "2007 stats: none" though, I think I'll give myself a break on that!

I'll add this excerpt:

"Kennedy is what he is, but he's a solid big league starter right now, giving the Yankees a return on their draft investment in barely more than a year."

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-11-29 09:15:38
51.   liam
i think the mets (wow i said mets) should trade reyes, and pick up tejada to replace him.

think what they could get.. weiters/bedard/tejada, or johan and prospects that you can flip for other awesome pieces for it.

i dont know if i believe that omar should be leaving him this untouchable when the mets team isnt going to win the east and they dont have any real help coming from the farm.

i also think the yankees should be focusing on pitchers other then johan, while keeping the twins baited for long enough to keep the sox out of the fray. i dont agree that the sox are out of it. i think buster's assessment of the situation is true... that both teams are nervous to break their new philosophies...

2007-11-29 09:16:27
52.   Knuckles
Off topic. The Rockies have officially re-signed Torrealba. He's 29 and figures to be their starting catcher for 2 more years. Chris Iannetta was 24 this year and not given much of a shot after a cold start. College player, put up an OPS of over .900 in 800 minor league AB's. I think Cash should look into seeing if he can offer the Rox something that helps them now, and try and pry him away.
2007-11-29 09:35:30
53.   ChuckM
46 Am I missing something? How is Lester a "suitable" replacement for Santana?
2007-11-29 09:41:54
54.   greenzo
53 As in, he's a major leaguer and can be penciled into their rotation, as opposed to Masterson.

Interesting bit from the Goldstein article for me was:

"Horne is currently slated to begin 2008 in Triple-A, but with the Yankees current pitching situation, there is some talk of moving him to the bullpen in order to accelerate his arrival in the big leagues."

2007-11-29 09:48:40
55.   Bob B
The biggest problem for me in discussing Santana is the Redsox angle. It's bad enough that they have Beckett. Adding Santana makes them scary good. Not to talk heresy, but they'd be better than the Yankees.
2007-11-29 09:50:04
56.   JL25and3
47 OK, so Hughes is different from the great prospects because he's got a little esperience, and he's different from the guys with a little esperience because he's a great prospect.

There are always going to be things to point to to show why he's different. The fact remains: 21-year-old pitchers are an extremely risky commodity.

I'm not saying he should be tossed off as irrelevant. But I think that people who are talking about how Santana's a big risk should recognize that Hughes is no less of one.

2007-11-29 10:13:10
57.   Shaun P
56 "how Santana's a big risk should recognize that Hughes is no less of one"

Oh, I agree completely. Each one could well be a ticking time bomb. For me, I guess that kind of cancels out, and I'd rather take my risks with what Hughes could become, rather than the known quantity that is Santana.

2007-11-29 10:15:11
58.   Mattpat11
The Yankees believe a new manager and pitching coach will make Farnsworth not suck.


2007-11-29 10:18:49
59.   YankeeInMichigan
56 Chances are pretty good that 2007 will represent Santana's mean over the next four years, with perhaps 10-15 games lost due to injury. He'll probably drop off a bit in years 5 and 6. Hughes' upside for the next 4-6 years is higher, but he also runs a greater risk of implosion.

The Garza-Young trade will drive Santana's price up (i.e. the Twins have a better chance of competing this year and they have less of a need for an outfielder). That will scare away the Red Sox as much as it will scare the Yankees. Cash should put out a low-ball offer and just wait it out.

My biggest nightmare: The Yanks get Santana, they still lose this year to the Sox and we have to watch Hughes dominate the league in a Twins uniform.

2007-11-29 10:33:18
60.   Shaun P
58 Mattpat, I know how you feel about Farnsworth (don't they have to say that?), but this is far worse.

According to Pete Abe, "LaTroy Hawkins is on the radar for the Yankees."


2007-11-29 10:47:37
61.   Rob Middletown CT
Thus spake Keith Law (espn chat):

"You only get one year of Santana. This is the big mistake everyone is making - if you acquire Santana, here is what you get: One year of his services at $13.25 million, plus a negotiating window (either a few days before you do the deal, or the full year afterwards). The value of that window is small, especially since you will have to pay him a market salary for those extra years. I think most of the published offers for Santana are too much because of the small value of that window."

He also thinks Lester > Kennedy, FWIW.

2007-11-29 10:59:39
62.   Sliced Bread
46 I'll worry about the Red Sox getting Santana when it happens. For now, I've neither heard, nor read any indication that Santana wants to play in Boston...
and even if he does, I wouldn't include Hughes in an offer.
2007-11-29 11:17:44
63.   OldYanksFan
18 I think he already knows. After all, if we are currently taking about giving up Hughes, Melky and X, AND paying Santana $20m/yr, isn't it pretty obvious that as a FA, we would swoop down on Santana and bring him to NY IN A SECOND, with the best salary?

This is just one of many reasons why this is a bad deal. I think there is a better then 50% chance that he is in NY in 2009 as a FA!

2007-11-29 11:19:45
64.   JL25and3
61 That seems to me to be a strange way to look at it. No one's going to make the trade without a new contract in hand.

I suppose you could say that it's for only one year because after that he'll be a free agent. But the idea is that you take him off the market; if someone else swings a deal, then he's not a free agent. Plus, this way you don't give up the draft pick. Small advantage, but it's something.

2007-11-29 11:25:21
65.   OldYanksFan
26 In order to beome a FA, all Santana has to do is NOT agree to an extension. Then, the trade is truly for one year. Is anyone going to trade any real talent for one year of Santana, after he expressly does NOT offer said team an extension?
2007-11-29 11:34:25
66.   JL25and3
63 I think that's an entirely unwarranted assumption.
2007-11-29 11:35:18
67.   JL25and3
65 But if he refuses the extension, there won't be any trade.
2007-11-29 11:36:03
68.   OldYanksFan
Look, even for argument sake, lets say:
Over 10 years: Santana > Hughes.
But thats NOT the formula. The question is:
Santana >? Hughes + Melky + Horne + $20+m/yr

What about if NEXT year, we buy CC or Haren? Now, is:
Santana >? CC/Haren + Hughes + Melky + Horne + few/m/yr

I don't think so. Santana is GREAT but
1) He is NOT the only fish in the sea
2) He is Toooo expensive. Top FA money + 3 kids.

2007-11-29 11:37:19
69.   OldYanksFan
2007-11-29 11:49:17
70.   Rob Middletown CT
I almost hope that Boston gives up Laptop boy/Lester + Elsbury (or Crisp + more) and then pays Johan $20 million/yr for 7 years, while we keep our guys. Almost. Beckett/Santana is nasty as hell. But it would be awfully sweet to beat them with Hughes/Chamberlain/Kennedy, etc (while watching Buccholtz kick ass for the Twins).
2007-11-29 11:51:16
71.   ms october
58 how about a new manager, pitching coah, and TEAM. i'm with you mattpatt.

santana can basically dictate this whole thing through both his no-trade and whether or not he and the potential team trading for him agrees to an extension. i don't see how anyone will trade for him without being able to sign him to an extension.

what else is interesting is how the trade with the devil rays and twins is being used to guess if that makes santana more available or less so.

2007-11-29 11:58:26
72.   dianagramr

he's on their radar, only so they know where to aim the surface to air missiles

2007-11-29 11:59:01
73.   ny2ca2dc
The more i've though thru this all day (err, week), there's just no way I would trade Hughes. Maybe even not straight up. Most of the lower guys, Horne plus IPK, etc. then fine, but save Hughes. Save Hughes!
2007-11-29 12:08:06
74.   dianagramr
SPs ranked by total pitches thrown, 2004-2007

Cnt Player Pit
1 Livan Hernandez 14767
2 Barry Zito 14576
3 Carlos Zambrano 14333
4 Doug Davis 13968
5 Dontrelle Willis 13786
6 Roy Oswalt 13746
7 John Lackey 13587
8 Brandon Webb 13578
9 Johan Santana 13545
10 Aaron Harang 13472

so is Santana durable, or is he due for arm issues, or both?

2007-11-29 12:11:49
75.   JL25and3
68 Frankly, the other stuff is expendable - especially since you're perfectly willing to spend the money a year from now. Hughes is the one that matters.
2007-11-29 12:19:38
76.   ms october
here's our mid afternoon shot of buster olney on santana - with a somewhat interesting few quotes from stick on trading for santana.

2007-11-29 12:22:40
77.   RIYank
75 Those other guys are expendable as players, I agree, but don't forget their value as trading chips. What if you could use them to get Haren instead, for example? And keep Hughes?

My point is: pretty good players (like Melky) are less valuable to the Yankees than they are to other teams, because the Yanks can go get better FAs to replacement them merely by spending money, a luxury most other teams don't have. But the fact that Melky probably isn't the best guy to be playing CF in the Bronx in four years doesn't mean he's essentially a 'replacement level player' for the Yankee front office, because he's quite valuable as a trading chip.

2007-11-29 12:30:32
78.   JL25and3
77 If you can get Haren for Melky + non-top-three pitcher, grab it.

But I'd be very, very surprised if you could make that deal. As Steve Goldman points out, Haren's price goes up precisely because he's cheaper. I think he's got 3 more years before he can be a free agent, which means they'll be asking more for him.

2007-11-29 12:50:23
79.   ny2ca2dc
76 Christ, if the Sawx get Santana for the likes of Lester, Lowrie, Crisp & Bowden, I'll shit a brick. That's a shit package, compared to what the Yanks could drop even without Hughes/Joba/Cano. IPK/Horne/Melky/B+ prospect is way better than that Sawx offer. Coco Crisp, how could anyone think that guy is any better than a no-upside 4th OF/LIDR/PR, and not even an especially cheap one at that.

My blood pressure really can't handle this.

Pete Abe reporting Posada endorsing a trade for Santana. Yanks gotta keep the lid on, they're making it way too easy for the Sawx to drive up the bidding.

2007-11-29 12:53:44
80.   RIYank
I don't see why the Twins would be interested in Crisp. It doesn't make sense. They just traded for Young, and they got an interesting minor league OF prospect in the deal. And Crisp is relatively expensive.
2007-11-29 12:59:56
81.   ms october
79 yeah that red sox package is nothing special.
in addition to the yanks seemingly being bled in these types of trades anyway, in a perverse way having three solid (and i am speaking on the low end)young pitching (a little more than) prospects may actually hurt the yanks when making trades. now obviously in many ways this is a nice problem to have because hopefully if too much is being asked the trade doesn't get made - but it leads to teams asking for the moon.
2007-11-29 13:01:16
82.   ms october
80 yeah i don't see the interest in crisp - but supposedly they are going to play young in lf and need a cf.
2007-11-29 13:02:43
83.   Shaun P
72 I hope that's it.

77 "pretty good players (like Melky) are less valuable to the Yankees than they are to other teams, because the Yanks can go get better FAs to replacement them merely by spending money, a luxury most other teams don't have"

Is that really true anymore? Right now (with no Pettitte, no other FAs, and reasonable arb salaries for Wang and Cano) the payroll is ~$185M. How much higher are the Yanks going to go? Start adding in Pettitte, and Santana, and Rowand/Andruw, and that's an awful lot of money, even for the Yanks.

2007-11-29 13:24:40
84.   greenzo
79 82

Crisp is actually pretty cheap by market standards. He'll cost only $8 million in his option year of 2010, and he makes well below that in the next two years.

Player A: .273/.327/.391 in 550 ABs
Player B: .242/.328/.431 in 570 ABs

A is Melky, B is Mike Cameron. Crisp hit .268/.330/.382 and played better defense than both of them.

I'm not saying he's better, but his defense makes him a capable regular. Melky's the better trade chip, but Crisp's defense might make him appealing to the Twins. There's question as to whether Melky can be a plus defender every day in center; there's no such mark on Crisp.

Horne/IPK/Melky is way below the Red Sox offer, and the Yankees are way past that already. They won't get Santana or Haren without parting with Hughes, and many have rightfully said that's too much.

The question I have now is, if Hank and Brian do get lose the Santana sweepstakes, what big name upgrade could they feasibly make a move for?

2007-11-29 13:40:39
85.   Bob B
We definitely want Crisp to stay with the Redsox.
2007-11-29 13:44:43
86.   Mattpat11
60 Same reason we got Kyle, Pavano, Wright and any number of lumps. He just had a good year, so he MUST have turned the corner.
2007-11-29 13:54:28
87.   liam
what if we did igawa, farnsworth, and bruney? you think we could get them to bite on that?

can anyone say AARON GUIEL? sorry just psyched to get out of work.

2007-11-29 14:01:25
88.   tommyl
If I were the Twins, why not start the season with Santana and see how it goes? You can always deal him before the deadline, probably for a similar haul. If I were the Yankees, I'd rather see how Hughes does starting the season in the majors, you can always deal him at the deadline. Why the rush?
2007-11-29 16:08:52
89.   greenzo

That's interesting. There's two main reasons for this.

1) The most likely result is that Santana is his usual masterful self and Hughes proves why he was at one time the best pitching prospect in baseball. In this case, how on earth could the Yankees then go and trade him for Johan?

2) With a full year of value left and Johan already packing his bags and doing the Twins the favor of agreeing to basically sign a long term extension with whichever big market franchise he ends up with, plus the fun of the Yanks and Red Sox reading in the papers that the other franchise is close...even if Santana is himself, some of these packages could enrich the Twins for the next decade. Even the Red Sox offer that some are pooh-poohing today makes the Twins the de facto Wild Card favorite in my eyes.

2007-11-29 18:19:40
90.   Matty B
I think one thing not receiving enough discussion is how fortunate the Yankees are to be in the position of either making a deal for the AL's best pitcher or keeping numerous high-ceiling prospects. It wasn't that long ago that the farm system was barren and fallow, preventing the Yankees from making deals for players such as Beckett. It is important to note that maintaining a strong farm system allows for a team to make trades that teams with "minor" minor league talent cannot. That being said, I say keep Hughes and Chamberlain, but if a combination of Kennedy, Melky, Horne, + whoever can entice the Twins, by all means pull the trigger.
2007-11-29 18:31:41
91.   JL25and3
90 I think - hope - everyone would agree on that last part.
2007-11-29 20:12:21
92.   JeremyM
The Sox potentially getting Santana for a package that includes Coco Crisp as a major player makes me sick. How is it that the Sox can dump hot garbage on Arizona and snag Schilling and give Texas junk for Gagne (which was fine, except the Yankees were expected to give up Melky and Ian), and now they can give Minnesota a pile of overrated junk (excluding Lester to an extent) while the Yankees have to give up the farm. Hopefully this is all just bargaining through the media but we'll see.
2007-11-29 20:51:11
93.   tommyl
92 Well, hang on. According to the NY Times, the Yankees have offered, Kennedy+Melky+1 minor leaguer (Tabata?), the Twins are pushing for Hughes. The Sox have offered Lester+Crisp+prospects, and the Twins are pushing for Ellsbury. I dunno, Lester+Ellsbury is probably pretty close to Hughes+Melky. I would not include Hughes, I hope Cashman doesn't blink. Hughes and Chamberlain could be the nucleus to build a dynasty around.

Me, this is one of the few times I'm rooting for the Mets. Snag him, get him out of the AL and I'll take my chances come the world series if we make it that far.

2007-11-29 23:23:37
94.   weeping for brunnhilde
68 Wow, Haren? Might we acquire Haren? Him I'm excited about! He's great fun to watch pitch.
2007-11-29 23:29:50
95.   weeping for brunnhilde
93 That'd be cool, and we'd still get to watch him pitch, along with Duque (is his arm still attached?) and Pedro (is his arm still attached?).
2007-12-01 05:08:33
96.   bob34957
Ok, Do we have a pattern of behavior?
Lilly gone, produces well in Toronto and Chicago, Weaver gone, did perform well just for St.Louis, Contreras gone , did perform well for Chicago.

We acquire Jaret Wright, Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano, Roger Clemens part two, etc.

Why do we have to give up on a 21 year old pitcher for Johan Santana, 28/29 year old declining pitchter? WTF. I can't believe we are gonna do it again? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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