Just when you think it’s over, it’s not. Unheard from for days, Tyler Kepner surfaces with what sounds like the best, most nuanced look at the Sox’, Yanks’ and Twins’ perspectives in their negotiations over … what’s his name again?
Kepner first tells us the conventional wisdom from the national beat writers may be wrong. It’s not about Hughes — and maybe never has been. It’s all about Hughes plus Horne … or Tabata … or Jackson.
The Twins know they would get Hughes and center fielder Melky Cabrera for Santana, and the Yankees believe that is enough of a concession to acquire a pitcher who will also demand a contract exceeding $100 million. They have told the Twins that at least five other prospects are untouchable — Dellin Betances, Alan Horne, Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy and José Tabata. …
[T]he main issue holding up the deal is the third player the Yankees would give. The Yankees want the player to be a midlevel prospect, and the Twins are shooting higher.
The Yankees would like an answer from the Twins [Sunday] or [Monday], when the winter meetings begin in Nashville.
If the inclusion of Hughes — one of the top few prospects in baseball — isn’t good enough for the Twins, then who on the Red Sox not named Buchholz would be? Surprisingly:
[T]he Boston Red Sox will not surrender starter Clay Buchholz. But the Twins have continued to talk with the Red Sox about center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, a player they seem to covet even more than Hughes.
If the Red Sox added Ellsbury to their offer, they would probably get Santana.
So the Yankees have six untouchable prospects? Six?? And people accuse Theo Epstein of overvaluing his talent!
On a more serious note, I’m also nonplussed — and skeptical — that the Twins would value a position prospect so much more highly than a pitching prospect (especially one like Hughes), but if that’s true, far be it from me to argue. If simply including Ellsbury gets the deal done, I have to hope — for my own sanity — that the Sox are stalling with this "extra player" business in hopes of getting maximum value from the Twins. In the end, they surely would include Ellsbury, even if "all" they would get is the best pitcher in baseball.