Thank You!

This is not about the Red Sox keeping Santana away from the Yankees or making the Yankees drive up the price. I know a few Red Sox people. Boston trains in Fort Myers where the Twins are and I bump into their people all the time.  I met GM Theo Epstein and assistant GM Jed Hoyer at the winter meetings when they were just wandering around the hotel with nothing to do. I’ve had no choice but to talk about, `The Nation.’ The Red Sox want to dominate. They want to build a dynasty in the AL East and keep the Yankees reeling for as many years as they can. A rotation of Josh Beckett, Santana, Dice-K and Schilling with Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz also in play helps them achieve their domination goals.

– La Velle Neal, answering some questions from his readers.

Neal is quickly gaining my respect as one of the better baseball writers out there. He has the sources, and he’s good about delineating his speculation from his reporting. It helps that he stands out from the ESPN crowd by articulating what I’ve been saying for a month — the Red Sox have legitimate reasons to acquire Johan Santana completely unrelated to the Yankees.

I still think he’ll end up with the Red Sox, and I don’t mind either package. I will say this: Some Twins people like Coco Crip and feel he can get back to his game if gets out of Boston. I think that’s possible, but Ellsbury could be very good. He had a .389 OBP throughout his minor league career and the Twins have watched him develop while facing their teams in the Gulf Coast League, Eastern League and Internatonal League. They know what they’re getting.

The Yankees have no shot if Hughes (a super stud of a prospect) isn’t in the deal.

Before I’d say yes to Theo, I would call the Angels and Dodgers one last time.

Let’s finish it, already.

37 comments… add one

  • Without major injury, a rotation of Josh Beckett, Santana, Dice-K and Schilling with Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz would be obscene, 110+ wins obscene.
    I kinda, sorta think the Yankees also know this.

    LocklandSF December 20, 2007, 4:46 pm
  • In other news…
    Kapler signed with the Brew Crew

    LocklandSF December 20, 2007, 4:49 pm
  • Well, being in the same division, I wouldn’t say “completely unrelated”..

    Lar December 20, 2007, 4:50 pm
  • The commenters are hilarious(ly stupid)
    “Lester/Ellsbury/Lowrie is what we shold be pushing for from the Bosox…while the packages we sholud be pushing for from the Yanks are ones with Hughes and Kennedy”
    Right, because Hughes and Kennedy doesn’t blow anything centered around Lester and Ellsbury out of the water. Twins fans have really drunk the Kool-Aid on this one. If Theo Epstein has really made people believe that Ellsbury/Lester/Lowrie is anything near as valuable as Hughes/Kennedy/??? then he is an absolute genius.

    AndrewYF December 20, 2007, 5:00 pm
  • All I want for New Year’s is Jacoby and Johan on the same (Boston) roster.

    Hudson December 20, 2007, 5:02 pm
  • Yeah yeah yeah, and I want Hughes and Johan on the same Yankee roster.

    AndrewYF December 20, 2007, 5:08 pm
  • Why is it controversial that the Red Sox would want the best pitcher in baseball?

    DR December 20, 2007, 5:17 pm
  • Hughes and Kennedy have thrown a combined regular season innings (57.1 innings, 4.45 ERA for Hughes; 19.0 innings, 1.89 ERA for Kennedy… against TB, KC and the Jays).
    Yeah, maybe they both prove to be aces. But just as some pitcher can get outs the first time through the lineup, then start to get lit up, you really don’t have any clue how these guys may fare against Major League hitters until they’ve thrown deep into at least one full season. The A.L. in particular is stocked with some of the greatest eyes in sports, who will eventually spot any “tells” and habits of a new pitcher.
    The same can be said of Ellsbury — though it’s slightly different with hitters — but not of Lester, who has shown strong promise with some weaknesses. There do seem to be plenty of people whothink he can signficantly improve, having seen him handle himself in the bigs for a significant chunk of time.
    So what I’m saying is: Yes, I think the packages the Sox have put on the table are right up there with New York’s.
    The way last season went down seems to have really screwed with Yankee fans’ heads. With Pavano out almost immediately, and a host of other woes to follow, New York *had* to turn to its prospects long before they had originally intended. This created an almost desperate need to believe religiously in the brilliance of these prospects. Some of them indeed look very promising, but I think many YFs are acting even more homerish hereabout their home-grown young talent than pretty much all teams’ fans often act…

    Hudson December 20, 2007, 5:28 pm
  • Hughes and Kennedy have thrown a combined 76.1 regular season innings (57.1 innings, 4.45 ERA for Hughes; 19.0 innings, 1.89 ERA for Kennedy… against TB, KC and the Jays).
    Yeah, maybe they both prove to be aces. But just as some pitcher can get outs the first time through the lineup, then start to get lit up, you really don’t have any clue how these guys may fare against Major League hitters until they’ve thrown deep into at least one full season. The A.L. in particular is stocked with some of the greatest eyes in sports, who will eventually spot any “tells” and habits of a new pitcher.
    The same can be said of Ellsbury — though it’s slightly different with hitters — but not of Lester, who has shown strong promise with some weaknesses. There do seem to be plenty of people whothink he can signficantly improve, having seen him handle himself in the bigs for a significant chunk of time.
    So what I’m saying is: Yes, I think the packages the Sox have put on the table are right up there with New York’s.
    The way last season went down seems to have really screwed with Yankee fans’ heads. With Pavano out almost immediately, and a host of other woes to follow, New York *had* to turn to its prospects long before they had originally intended. This created an almost desperate need to believe religiously in the brilliance of these prospects. Some of them indeed look very promising, but I think many YFs are acting even more homerish hereabout their home-grown young talent than pretty much all teams’ fans often act…

    Hudson December 20, 2007, 5:28 pm
  • “…what I’ve been saying for a month — the Red Sox have legitimate reasons to acquire Johan Santana completely unrelated to the Yankees….”
    uh paul, how is that consistent with this statement by neal: “…They want to build a dynasty in the AL East and keep the Yankees reeling for as many years as they can….”
    this actually supports the notion by yank fans that sox fans [and mgmt] are preoccupied with the yanks, and to be fair, conversely, we are preoccupied with your team’s recent success and what that bodes for the future…i think it absolutely influences how our teams approach certain personnel decisions…may not be the only factor, but it’s an important one…

    dc December 20, 2007, 5:37 pm
  • “I think that’s possible, but Ellsbury could be very good. He had a .389 OBP throughout his minor league career…”
    Well, if that’s how you evaluate a prospect, Brett Gardner had a *.381 OBP* throughout his minor league career. Clearly, they’re equivalent prospects!
    This story needs to die. The Twins aren’t trading him unless someone ups their offer significantly.

    Mike YF December 20, 2007, 5:39 pm
  • Can someone explain to me how Hudson isn’t being “nasty” above?

    Mike YF December 20, 2007, 5:41 pm
  • The Yankees are always a factor because they play in the same division, so I probably shouldn’t have said “completely unrelated,” at least not in the literal sense.
    What I mean is if the Yankees were just another team in the AL East, and the Sox’ blood rivals were, say, the Indians, I think the Sox would be making this same move. In this case, the Yankees are their closest competitor, and getting Santana would give the Sox a prohibitive edge over that competitor for possibly years to come.
    It has nothing to do with preoccupation, a convenient but lazy storyline. It has everything to do with strengthening your team and conversely weakening the positions of the teams most likely to block your path to the postseason, whether that’s New York, Toronto, Tampa Bay or Baltimore.
    I think the emphasis in Neal’s analysis is appropriate. Half a sentence devoted to the Yankees in the context of the Red Sox wanting to be dominant, and two-and-a-half sentences focusing solely on the Red Sox and their prospective rotation.

    Paul SF December 20, 2007, 5:51 pm
  • “What I mean is if the Yankees were just another team in the AL East, and the Sox’ blood rivals were, say, the Indians, I think the Sox would be making this same move.”
    Have they made this move?
    If they make the move, I agree with your analysis as to why they made the move.
    BUT – I don’t think they will make this move.

    Mike YF December 20, 2007, 5:54 pm
  • I think that a more accurate description of both the yankees and Red Sox intentions is both teams are very interested but not enthralled. Both seem ready to walk away from the Twins if their price is what they consider too high. Neither team has a sense of urgency to get this done and that says alot. Sure the Red Sox would love to add Santana but if they were truely concerned with dominance only they would toss in Buchholz and Ellsbury and get it done.
    For the record Hudson is being nasty but this is someone who would invalidate the 2003 ALCS since Giambi took steroids.

    sam-YF December 20, 2007, 5:54 pm
  • Also, Hughes/Kennedy in a vacuum may be better than Lester/Ellsbury/Lowrie, but the Twins are looking to fill specific needs. They already have a pretty good starting staff. If Lester fills their need there better than Kennedy but not as good as Hughes, while Lowrie and Ellsbury fill major lineup needs immediately or within the next year, then the deals are at least equivalent. In fact, it would seem the Sox’ offer would better fit what the Twins need.

    Paul SF December 20, 2007, 5:55 pm
  • Again, someone want to explain to me why “skipping and prancing” is nastiness but:
    “screwed with Yankee fans’ heads”
    “an almost desperate need to believe religiously in the brilliance of these prospects”
    “many YFs are acting even more homerish hereabout their home-grown young talent than pretty much all teams’ fans often act”
    Is not?

    Mike YF December 20, 2007, 5:56 pm
  • Also, if i were a twins fan, Id tell the yankees and the red sox to go F themselves with the packages they are offering. Id rather keep Johan and take the 2 picks or see what i can get for him at the trading deadline. After seeing what the A’s got for Haren (who i realize has different parameters), Im not so interested in the Sox and Yanks offer. Our two teams are essentially dictating the market because they are the only teams with the resources to make this trade.

    sam-YF December 20, 2007, 5:58 pm
  • My impression was the A’s got six prospects, none of whom matches the value of any one of the prospects the Yanks and Sox are offering.
    Also, prospects > draft picks. Every time.
    I think the Twins make the trade with whichever team, even if they aren’t happy with it. They have to. The packages only get worse at the trade deadline.

    Paul SF December 20, 2007, 6:02 pm
  • I agree completely Sam. And that’s actually what I think will happen. The Sox have effectively blocked the Yankees, and they aren’t looking to up the ante.
    My money’s on us repeating these discussions in early July.

    Mike YF December 20, 2007, 6:02 pm
  • Mike, I think the bigger point here is that you are consistently combative, sarcastic and nasty, while most others only show flashes of it from time to time.

    LocklandSF December 20, 2007, 6:04 pm
  • Well, if you go by where the guys were drafted:
    Sox – Lester (2nd round), Ellsbury (1st round), Lowrie (1st round sandwich)
    Yankees – Hughes (1st round), Kennedy (1st round), Melky (not drafted)
    I could see the Twins saying, two picks would get us about what we’re getting now (two players from each of those lists). That’s why Sam’s probably right. One team needs to up their offer. For both, it’s all three. That WOULD be worth more than both picks.

    Mike YF December 20, 2007, 6:09 pm
  • > someone want to explain
    It’s skippingly, prancingly simple Mike. You spoke directly at SF, utilizing dismissive verbs that you should not need to promote your argument or refute his, with a purpose I don’t really understand.
    Hudson made a generalization. I don’t agree with Hudson’s statement. Heck, I don’t agree with Hudson on a frequent basis; that’s fine. Maybe he is towing the nasty line by hitting too close to home with such generalizations .. I don’t take it that way. I just think he is wrong, though he provided some stats for me to chew on it for a bit so that it is not cut-and-dried. In contrast, your comments were personal.
    Address the argument, not the person, right?

    attackgerbil December 20, 2007, 6:13 pm
  • Show me where, Lockland. Cause I fail to see how “skipping and prancing” equals what Hudson has said, nor anything I’ve ever said here.
    Whereas I was called out, unless SF does the same for Hudson, I’m left to assume that was because of my suffix.
    Meanwhile, where are you in admonishing Hudson? Cause that IS nasty.
    And I’ve already admitted to being sarcastic. But that seems very common here. Why are you so sensitive?

    Mike YF December 20, 2007, 6:14 pm
  • “It helps that he stands out from the ESPN crowd by articulating what I’ve been saying for a month — the Red Sox have legitimate reasons to acquire Johan Santana completely unrelated to the Yankees.”
    Uh, Paul, actually, if you read what Neal wrote and what you have quoted, the Yankees are actually the ONLY reason the Sox would want to acquire Santana (i.e., to continue dominating the AL East and keep the Yankees reeling). Or rather, there are NO reasons *unrelated* to the Yankees that the Sox would want to acquire Santana…
    But, I think your point is that the Sox are in this to be in this, and aren’t simply in this to drive up the price for the Yankees, which I think is a true statement. Actually, I think both teams want him, but not at any price, and are balancing what they are giving up, what it will cost to sign his extension, and how much they don’t want the other team to sign him.
    I think that we are where we are on this precisely because we have reached some imperfect balance. The new Twins GM isn’t going to give him away, and as much as the Yankees and Sox want him, and don’t want the other team to get him, both the Sox and Yankees are pretty confident about their in-house options.

    yankees76 December 20, 2007, 6:16 pm
  • Paul-
    4 of the prospects that the A’s got were ranked by baseball america as number 1, 3, 7, and 8 from their system. Im not sure how they rank in the Sox or yanks system but it still seems like quite a good haul.

    sam-YF December 20, 2007, 6:17 pm
  • Ah, I see now, attackgerbil:
    Okay = “Irrational and overly sensitive SF’s like to skip and prance to conclusions, probably because of their man-love for their prospects”
    Not okay = Any of that directed at a specific person here.
    Glad I know now.

    Mike YF December 20, 2007, 6:18 pm
  • “…It has nothing to do with preoccupation, a convenient but lazy storyline…”
    come on paul, that comeback is “lazy” and “convenient” …it feels like your spinning this to fit your argument, and i showed where it was inconsistent with neal’s comment…why even mention the yanks specifically…look, i have to agree that not every team decision has to be tested by how it would impact the sox or the yanks, but i’d say keeping an eye on not only our closest competitor, but a real rival with rather tense history [i think you used the term “blood rival”] is something that’s considered regularly by both teams, especially with a deal for someone who can really upset the competitive balance like santana…we’re not talking about some journeyman reliever here…true that decisions will be made and moves executed in spite of the teams’ relationship with each other, but i don’t think using the word “preoccupied” especially in certain situations, like who gets santana, is overstating it at all…remember, i said we both do it…

    dc December 20, 2007, 6:19 pm
  • Yup, and Carlos Gonzalez has a decent chance of being a superstar.

    Mike YF December 20, 2007, 6:22 pm
  • I think a deal does get done before the season starts, maybe not in the next few weeks though. 3 teams waiting for one to blink.
    I rate the Twins as most likely to blink (especially the longer it drags on) — because they totally failed at the deadline last summer, eventually losing Hunter for just the 2 draft picks, and Silva for none. Ryan had built a reputation as a guy who, apart from stealing Nathan & others from the Giants, couldn’t pull off a decent deal and was even worse at signing vets. Bill Smith doesn’t have any bigger budget than Ryan but has to get TR’s monkey off his back.
    I rate the Yankees second most likely to blink, primarily a panic override of Cashman by Mini-Stein. Cash is clearly holding firm on Hughes, but the ‘dynasty’ phrase has gotta be pushing buttons in Tampa.
    I think Theo sits back and enjoys the feeling of the ice water running through his veins on this one. I think he & the Sox find a way to win on this any way it turns out.
    Dammit this is entertaining.

    CT ball fan -SF December 20, 2007, 7:24 pm
  • I think a deal does get done before the season starts, maybe not in the next few weeks though. 3 teams waiting for one to blink.
    I rate the Twins as most likely to blink (especially the longer it drags on) — because they totally failed at the deadline last summer, eventually losing Hunter for just the 2 draft picks, and Silva for none. Ryan had built a reputation as a guy who, apart from stealing Nathan & others from the Giants, couldn’t pull off a decent deal and was even worse at signing vets. Bill Smith doesn’t have any bigger budget than Ryan but has to get TR’s monkey off his back.
    I rate the Yankees second most likely to blink, primarily a panic override of Cashman by Mini-Stein. Cash is clearly holding firm on Hughes, but the ‘dynasty’ phrase has gotta be pushing buttons in Tampa.
    I think Theo sits back and enjoys the feeling of the ice water running through his veins on this one. I think he & the Sox find a way to win on this any way it turns out.
    Dammit this is entertaining.

    CT ball fan -SF December 20, 2007, 7:25 pm
  • Uh, Paul, actually, if you read what Neal wrote and what you have quoted, the Yankees are actually the ONLY reason the Sox would want to acquire Santana
    This is not at all what Neal said, Y76, and it’s clear you didn’t read my clarification, later in the thread, that pointed out that the Yankees received a half-sentence mention in a three-sentence paragraph about the Sox’ reasons, and this seems an appropriate weight of the considerations to me.
    Yeah, Sam, the D-Backs gave up a lot, but I’m not sure whether it’s actually a LOT, if you get what I mean. I’m not well versed in their prospects, and Beane is a smart guy, so the A’s could have netted a substantial haul when it’s all said and done. Even so, if the Sox are offering a four-player deal (including a former No. 1 system prospect, as well as two other Top 10 prospects potentially) for Santana vs. the D-Backs’ six for Haren, the two-player difference would seem to indicate the fact that the Sox would need to spend much more money to get Santana than Arizona needed to get Haren. I’m not so sure the Haren deal hurts the Sox and Yanks in their efforts to get Santana. They’re both offering better ML-ready players and better prospects, while cutting the size of the package down to compensate for the requisite extension they’ll need to sign him to.

    Paul SF December 20, 2007, 9:12 pm
  • “Posted by: Hanson: All I want for New Year’s is Jacoby and Johan on the same (Boston) roster.”
    AGREED. I feel like without Ellsbury, if Drew and Lugo don’t start puttin up some numbers and with Ortiz and Manny on the wrong side of aging, the offensive output could be in trouble this year.
    also, I feel bad for Madras, Oregon – that whole town AND the Indian reservation went out and practically drove up the stock price of Red Sox merch. now they’re all like “you mean I gotta be a TWINS fan now?” they might have to get all new stuff!

    Lyndsay December 21, 2007, 11:29 am
  • One thing that hasn’t been mentioned:
    Smith may hang onto Santana, both because he hasn’t gotten good offer and because he can’t be made to look bad in a trade he never makes. Don’t underestimate that second part. As a young and new GM, he has every reason to look as good as possible. If he doesn’t get enough insurance that he will (in the number of players coming back) then he has a strong reason to see how the season turns out. Trading Santana and having the prospects he gets flame out would forever haunt him.

    Mike YF December 21, 2007, 12:39 pm
  • I gotta say….I am really glad that it’s men in the front office deciding this thing, cuz as a female, my hormones keep getting in the way, they just want ellsbury here. it’s that seinfeld ep when his brain fights his penis in a chess game. guys, bear with me, it’s like trading Anna Kournikova for her uglier, better counterpart. come on, what would YOU Do?

    Lyndsay December 22, 2007, 2:24 am
  • Lyndsay if i were a woman, I think id take great offense to that statement. I know many women who work jobs just as or equally stressful as GM who make good decisions regardless of their hormones.
    If i were a GM id trade Anna Kournikova in a second if it made my team better.

    sam-YF December 22, 2007, 9:21 pm
  • > trading Anna Kournikova
    Wait.. can she pitch?

    attackgerbil December 23, 2007, 1:48 am

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