Philip Hughes is to Johan Santana as Carl Pavano was to Pedro Martinez. This is a simplified interpretation of Tim Marchman’s latest NY Sun column, which includes the following passage:
The only recent parallel
for a pitcher anywhere near this young and this good being traded is
Martinez. In 1997, just 25, having won his first Cy Young Award for
Montreal and in the last year of his contract, he was even more
desirable than Santana is now. The Red Sox ended up having to
relinquish Carl Pavano and Tony Armas Jr. for him. At the time, Pavano
was Baseball America’s no. 9 prospect. Armas was highly regarded for
his great pedigree and a terrific fastball. This isn’t notable just
because Pavano was arguably as good a prospect then as Hughes is now;
it’s also notable because he actually represents something like the
downside of trading a prospect for a truly great pitcher like Martinez
or Santana. Pavano may be the punchline to a bad joke, but despite the
fact that his greatest achievement as a Yankee was to miss a rehab
start with a bruised butt cheek, he’s had a good career. He was the
best pitcher on a world champion in 2003.
It’s unlikely that Hughes will do as much, given the reality that
young pitchers just get hurt a lot and sometimes mysteriously fail to
develop. To invoke another top prospect of a decade ago who
suspiciously resembles a top Yankees prospect of today, it’s unlikely
that Chamberlain will have a career nearly as good as that of Kerry
Wood, whom Montreal could not have had for Martinez. And both Pavano
and Wood are considered terrible disappointments.
Icky! He said the P word.