I feel like I’m taking crazy pills

I disagree with something that Pete Abe wrote at Lohud today:

"For the better part of two years, Cashman has been working to build an
organization that would avoid just the kind of move the Yankees are
about to make.
Cashman succeeded in building a player development
powerhouse. But just when it looked like the Yankees were going to
change, Hughes could be on the way out."

Huh? If you’re a wealthy team, this kind of move is one of the reasons you develop a strong farm system. At the very least, you actually have the option to explore trading for someone like Johan Santana (and memo  to everyone on Yankees blogs right now. He’s Johan Freaking Santana! Am I not seeing something about this guy? Was he out three months with an injury or something last season?! Are his #1 player comps Ed Whitson and Steve Trout?). Remember when the Yanks didn’t have the depth in their farm system to make a run at Josh Beckett and he ended up with the Sox? Wouldn’t it have been nice to have him on the team this past season? Well, the Yanks didn’t have an option at the time because trading Hughes and the prospects the Marlins wanted at the time would have left the farm system barren. If they trade Hughes and others this time around, that won’t be the case.

Now I think there are perfectly reasonable arguments against this trade; ones that address the specifics of the Yanks’ situation. But the whole idea that a trade for Santana runs counter to the point of developing a strong minor league system is just not true.

54 comments… add one
  • Agreed 100% Nick. I dont think Cashman would agree with this analysis either. Its beyond me why the yankees are getting skewered from so many angles for do whatever they can to aquire one of the few true aces in baseball. Its nuts.

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 12:02 pm
  • Nick, thank you for saying what I just don’t have the time to say! You are spot on in every way. Do you think the Cubs, in hindsight, would rather have traded Wood or Prior (back when they had value) or be in the situation they are in now? Ironically enough isn’t Hughes called Mark Prior-Lite? Do you think Minaya regrets not moving Milledge when his value was through the roof? I don’t know what Phil Hughes will be, nor do I know if he will get injured, but I know that Johan Santana is the best SP in the game. Provided Cashman doesn’t have a moment of weakness (not serious of course) and trade Hughes, Joba, Sanchez, Horne, Tabata and so on all in one package I wouldn’t call trading Hughes + reverting back to their old ways OR undoing what was done.

    John - YF December 1, 2007, 12:32 pm
  • Agree completely, Nick.
    A year ago (before Joba and Kennedy), I would have worried exactly along these lines. Now? Not at all.

    Mike YF December 1, 2007, 12:35 pm
  • I agree. I think the problem that everyone is running into–emotionally–is that we’ve finally gotten a few very promising/exciting prospects, after years of handing them away, making big free-agent signings and trades that haven’t worked out for us “in the big game.” The fact that Johan Santana at 29-30 yrs/old is a completely different kind of free-agent than Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Jason Giambi (fingers-crossed) doesn’t really seem to be cutting through to alot of people; or if it is it’s getting muddied with the sadness fans have at letting such promising youthful talent leave.
    I think part of the gut-reaction fans are having has to do with finally feeling like we were at the beginning of a new kind of team with homegrown talent that fans could feel a little more excited/close to rooting for (reminiscent of 1995/1996).

    walein December 1, 2007, 12:37 pm
  • Right on, Nick.
    I know YF hates when we take professional writers to task, but your observation is just so much more understanding of the situation than someone who follows baseball for a living it’s can get kind of frustrating.

    SF December 1, 2007, 12:38 pm
  • Right, Walein, too!
    The fact is that both YFs and SFs, based on our teams drafting track records of the previous few years and their new scouting/personnel assessment, have to have some faith that any youngsters traded away will be replaced. Our teams can pay bigger bonuses for players who slip in the draft, meaning that young talent is available to the Yankees and Sox that isn’t available to other teams. The loss of prospects is not as damaging, also due to the financial strengths of our teams.

    SF December 1, 2007, 12:42 pm
  • Testify!

    walein December 1, 2007, 12:50 pm
  • Thus, trading prospects, especially for players that will demand hug extensions, can be seen as an additional way of leveraging resources. Its remarkable that only 2 teams have ever been seriously discussed in relation to a possible Santana trade.

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 12:53 pm
  • Sam-
    I think that the 2 teams are very specific to the NTC Santana has and the negotiation strategy of Minnesota.

    walein December 1, 2007, 12:58 pm
  • I think thats true to an extent but they are also the only two teams that have both great prospects to trade and the money for an extension. Johan would have played for the mets but they dont have the prospects to work a trade.

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 1:05 pm
  • “I know YF hates when we take professional writers to task”
    I think that’s kind of disingenuous. Nick makes a reasoned, intelligent argument and doesn’t make it a personal attack on Pete Abe’s integrity. It’s the condescending ad hominemism I don’t appreciate. In this case, I agree with Nick. And, to head you off at the pass, no, I don’t find the post title particularly insulting, just a legitimate expression of frustration.

    YF December 1, 2007, 1:21 pm
  • this is an interesting relevant post…

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 2:25 pm
  • Just playing, YF, didn’t mean it as anything but in fun.

    SF December 1, 2007, 4:11 pm
  • So here’s Jon Heyman’s take:
    The New York Yankees may now be the frontrunners in the Johan Santana sweepstakes.
    “Following internal discussions among front-office executives, the Yankees on Saturday offered young right-hander Phil Hughes in a three-player package for the Twins’ ace. Outfielder Melky Cabrera and a third prospect would also be included in the trade.
    The third prospect will not be pitchers Ian Kennedy or Alan Horne or outfielder Jose Tabada.” (It’s Tabata, but that’s how Heyman spelled it)
    BUT here’s La Velle E. Neal’s (Writer for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis) take:
    “The Yankees and Red Sox are the two main teams talking to the Twins about lefthander Johan Santana as of now. The Yankees have included righthander Phillip Hughes to its offer, which is believed to be Hughes, Melky Cabrera and Ian Kennedy. [2:55 UPDATE: Someone following the Yankees situation just told me that New York prefers to hold on to Hughes or Kennedy, so we’ll see how this plays out).
    The Red Sox want to offer Coco Crisp as part of a multi-player package, but the Twins aren’t interested. The Twins are at the point now where they won’t accept anything less than their demands and are prepared to go elsewhere if they don’t get what they want.”
    I don’t see why the Yankees need to include IPK. Especially if the Sox are not going to budge on Ellsbury and are not including Buchholz. Unless the Yankees are getting another SP back in the deal they should really think long and hard about including BOTH IPK and Phil. Just doesn’t seem to equate based on other reported offers.

    John - YF December 1, 2007, 5:03 pm
  • I just dont believe what the Minnesota guy wrote. I really think he is misinformed and the language he uses seems like he is purely speculating. I dont see how the yankees could part with 2 of the big 3 both from a baseball perspective and from a fan outrage perspective.

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 5:11 pm
  • I hope so Sam. The two offers just don’t equate. If the Sox don’t have to include Buchholz OR Ellsbury, why do the Yankees have to include 2 of their top 3 pitching prospects and Melky. The only way it makes sense as I said is if the Twins are throwing us Boof Bonser, Kevin Slowey, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn or Glen Perkins.
    If the trade does go through with Hughes, IPK and Melky it would STINK of Big Hank’s influence. (Not to start a storm, because I like Hank. But Steinbrenners are famous for getting players they want at any cost.)

    John - YF December 1, 2007, 5:16 pm
  • I agree with your analysis John but I also think Hank seems committed to the young pitching. Its been a constant refrain of his since he started running his mouth. I just cant see them pulling the trigger on a deal like that with 3 major league players. It just makes no sense, especially in the context of all that we have heard up until this point. Im inclined to go with Heyman’s take, the other guy seems like he read the reports that Hughes was in and inserted it in the best possible way for the twins. At least he didnt quote “a little birdie”

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 5:21 pm
  • there are some pretty funny posts on that and some of the other Minn. blogs discussing Johan trades that illustrate that not only yankee and red sox fans can be out of touch with reality. I especially liked one where the said the GM should force the yanks to add Cano and Joba to the trade. Thats right Hughes, Cano, and Joba for Santana. Id do that in a second ;)

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 5:34 pm
  • Doesn’t seem fair, maybe we can throw in Alex too.

    John - YF December 1, 2007, 5:49 pm
  • To be fair, the Sox ARE being asked to include two of their top three — Lester and Ellsbury. So are the Dodgers. I’m wondering why the Yankees are getting the pass.

    Paul SF December 1, 2007, 6:26 pm
  • I haven’t seen Ellsbury included, I think if that combination of Ellsbury and Lester ever made it to the table the Twins would jump on it.

    John - YF December 1, 2007, 6:28 pm
  • Melky may not be a top prospect but his inclusion has to count for something too.

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 6:32 pm
  • sam-YF December 1, 2007, 8:09 pm
  • Sounds like the Sox came up with a whole new proposal (though how new can it really be?), but Olney doesn’t know what it is.
    Ellsbury, Lester, Lowrie, Masterson for Santana and Neshek? Santana and a prospect? Adding Ellsbury and asking for more than Santana is the only thing I can think of that would quaify as approaching a “new idea.”

    Paul SF December 1, 2007, 8:45 pm
  • So now it’s Hughes, Melky and either Horne or Alberto Gonzalez. Ideally it would be Gonzalez and not Horne, but who knows what boston comes with. Gonzalez makes a lot of sense, he plays real solid defense and the Twins need a solid defensive SS. But obviously Horne has way more upside…Boy this is so saga!

    John - YF December 1, 2007, 10:10 pm
  • Should be “Some Saga” not So Saga.

    John - YF December 1, 2007, 10:11 pm
  • methinks the Twins are working this well, if there is any accuracy to these reports.

    SF December 1, 2007, 10:25 pm
  • this feels like the deal i was expecting all along to be honest.

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 10:29 pm
  • Yanks must draw the line at Hughes+Melky+Gonzalez. This has gone far enough and long enough. Continuing to cave in to the Twins’ absurd demands is, well, absurd.

    yankeemonkey December 1, 2007, 10:40 pm
  • PS. Maybe they could get Minny to take Kennedy+Horne+Melky? Wishful thinking, I know…

    yankeemonkey December 1, 2007, 10:43 pm
  • Hughes+Melky+Gonzalez
    I’ll take it!
    And I like “so saga”. It might be a new way to describe some of my girl’s friends.

    Mike YF December 1, 2007, 10:45 pm
  • that ship has sailed, hughes is as good as gone.

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 10:45 pm
  • Hughes, Melky and Gonzalez I will take.
    I would much rather IPK, Melky and Horne, but a guy can dream…

    John - YF December 1, 2007, 10:47 pm
  • I still think its amazing how fast Chamberlain passed Hughes in the yankees eyes this season. Hughes was the number 1 guy for the longest time and Joba started the season in single A! All of a sudden he is untouchable and they are ready to move Hughes. I sure hope they are right about that one.

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 10:47 pm
  • Perhaps I’m overly parsing the language, but is Olney’s use of the past perfect significant?
    “The Red Sox had been reluctant to include either outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury or pitcher Clay Buchholz in the deal.”
    Generally, when you’re reporting information that is still true but is not newly gained, you use the present perfect: “have been reluctant.” So maybe the Red Sox are no longer reluctant?
    I’m sure I’m reading too much into it, but you never know…

    Paul SF December 1, 2007, 10:48 pm
  • I hate this. Not the idea of this trade, necessarily, although I love Hughes and would hate to see him go, but the way the negotiations have been conducted. Just seems like Yankees have folded on every demand Twins made so far. How is this even a negotiation?

    yankeemonkey December 1, 2007, 10:50 pm
  • Paul
    I think you were right earlier when you said they prob. added one of those guys but asked for more back in return.

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 10:50 pm
  • And a year ago, Sam, they don’t have the pieces to make the trade. If anything I have huge confidence in Damon O to draft well and replenish the system. That helps take the sting away from losing Hughes.

    Mike YF December 1, 2007, 10:52 pm
  • YM, i think its hard to see that the yankees have folded on every demand the Twins have made. For starters, this began with them asking for Joba and Cano. The twins hold the cards on what they will settle for, if they arent willing to make a trade for IPK then the yankees have to add more. Thats the way it goes. They very well could have liked lester/coco better for some reason then the IPK/melky trade. We have no idea whats going on behind those doors so I think its tough to pass judgement on the way the yankees conducted their talks.

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 10:53 pm
  • Perhaps, Sam. I guess I’m just annoyed at the whole thing. These talks have been remarkably public at every step of the way – I must admit, the Twins have been playing it perfectly. But at some point, the Yankees must state their final offer and hold it at that, take it or leave it. They can’t let Smith and co. continue running back and forth with Red Sox.
    How ironic would it be if Hughes gets traded, develops into an ace, and gets signed by the Yanks 5-6 years from now for $150+ mil, but Santana turns out to be another huge bust?

    yankeemonkey December 1, 2007, 10:59 pm
  • Monkey –
    I don’t see it that way. They weren’t getting the deal done with IPK and Melky.

    Mike YF December 1, 2007, 11:00 pm
  • My hope at this point? The trade falls through when Yankees fail to sign Santana to an extension.

    yankeemonkey December 1, 2007, 11:03 pm
  • I don’t know why you’d hope that. They’re getting the best pitcher in the game.
    The match-ups for the next four or five years:
    Santana v. Beckett
    Wang v. Dice-K
    Joba v. Buchholz
    I can live with that.

    Mike YF December 1, 2007, 11:08 pm
  • Heh. Considering ages and ceilings, so can I.

    Paul SF December 1, 2007, 11:21 pm
  • I’m just terrified that Santana will flame out in a couple of years and Yankees will be saddled with yet another horrendous long-term contract.
    I simply don’t see that Santana is truly the one missing piece this team needs to win a championship next season. He will certainly help, but they still have a black hole of a bullpen, a hole in CF if Melky goes, and a hole at 1B. All of these need to be filled somehow, and the payroll is already astronomical.

    yankeemonkey December 1, 2007, 11:22 pm
  • With the way ceiling are projected by Sox fans around here, I’m sure you can!
    Monkey –
    They don’t beat the Tigers or Indians with Santana starting game 1?

    Mike YF December 1, 2007, 11:26 pm
  • So let’s say the two offers are something like this:
    Hughes, Cabrera, Horne for Santana only
    Lester, Ellsbury, Lowrie for Santana and Neshek
    Which offer is better? Is the Yanks’ already better even without the Sox asking for more than Santana? A case could definitely be made for that, except that Ellsbury and Lowrie better fill two of the Twins’ major holes, and Lester is still a great prospect (just not Hughes-level).
    I guess it depends whether Smith wants the ace prospect back, or wants a package that can produce ML-ready replacements at multiple positions. I think the Yanks’ package is better (even without the Sox asking for more) unless the Sox include Buchholz, and I don’t think that’s happening.

    Paul SF December 1, 2007, 11:26 pm
  • For Hughes, Melky, and Horne, Santana + someone else better be coming back!

    yankeemonkey December 1, 2007, 11:30 pm
  • Mike, didn’t Santana go 0-4 or something against the Tribe this season? So yeah, it’s possible they don’t win that game even with him starting in place of Wang.

    yankeemonkey December 1, 2007, 11:37 pm
  • Speaking of which…So Bill James says Melky = Cano = Wang > Youkilis. But Ellsbury’s so good to deserve another pitcher. Heh.
    Drop Neshek and the packages are close. But the Yanks still win on the Ace of Hughes.
    And they’re resisting Horne:

    Mike YF December 1, 2007, 11:40 pm
  • Actually, 0-5. And 1-3 against Detroit. I’m going to be ill.

    Mike YF December 1, 2007, 11:44 pm
  • yankeemonkey – obviously the missing piece is Scott Brosius!

    Andrew December 2, 2007, 12:39 am
  • Say what you will, but Olney and Heyman have both said — either in print or on the radio — now that if the Sox include Ellsbury, the Twins would prefer their package to New York’s with Hughes.

    Paul SF December 2, 2007, 1:54 am
  • If the point of the floated proposition was to make the Yanks offer Hughes, then the Sox should just stop negotiating. Unless they have to “save face” or “show they were serious” or something, yet don’t really want to give up Ellsbury, in which case they make too many demands of the Twins (like this “need one more piece if Ellsbury is in the deal” thing) and force the Twins to take the Yanks’ offer.
    Beckett-Matsuzaka-Schilling-Lester-Buchholz/Wakefield w/Ellsbury in the lineup at league minimum
    Beckett-Santana-Matsuzaka-Schilling-Buchholz/Wakefield w/Coco in the lineup and Santana’s king’s ransom
    Dude, that second rotation makes me salivate (and the first isn’t exactly terrible either, though with more unknown quantities). If it weren’t for just how much Santana is going to cost in pure cash, I’d say they should fork over Ellsbury without a thought and not bother asking for a reliver or whatever, but the salary being so high, I can see why they might be reticent to pull the trigger. Plus Ellsbury plays every day, and would presumably be in the .370, .380 OBP range. Is Ellsbury’s presumed 20, 30 point jump in average and 40, 50 point jump in OBP (which is no guarantee) worth the difference in the rotation if Santana’s there?
    Too many variables!!!

    Devine December 2, 2007, 2:35 am

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