The End Is Nigh

Or not. Jon Heyman is reporting:

Reluctantly, the Yankees seem prepared to include young right-hander Phil Hughes in a three-player package for baseball’s best pitcher. Outfielder Melky Cabrera and an undetermined player would also be included in the trade.

If the Yankees ultimately surrender Hughes, league sources indicate they have a strong chance to complete a trade for Santana.


Did anyone expect the Yanks not to include Hughes? For that matter, is "the Yankees seem prepared" to offer Hughes that much different than "the Yankees are likely" to offer Hughes, which we’ve heard ad nauseum for two days? Both phrases mean the same thing: The Yankees have not yet offered Hughes, but probably will soon. Forgive me if I’m underwhelmed by this new information.

One thing that troubles me:

The Boston Red Sox are having similar debates in their own front office over two players the Twins have requested from them — outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and pitcher Clay Buchholz. But it appears that the Red Sox are unlikely to surrender either Ellsbury or Buchholz, two highly-coveted players.

The Red Sox are either biding their time and playing close to the vest, or have overvalued Jacoby Ellsbury to a criminal extent. His value over Crisp is not close to worth Santana’s value over Lester — never mind the value of Santana not being on the Yankees.

33 comments… add one
  • From a competitive standpoint, of course I’d love to have Santana. But from a sentimental standpoint, I’d much rather have Ellsbury. And that’s what really matters to me, win or lose. I’d like to think the FO respects that too.

    Kazz November 30, 2007, 11:26 pm
  • My concern on Santana is that the Sox have to pay twice for him. First the players, and then the whopper of the contract he is going to demand. That’s money that will need to go towards Manny or his successor over the next few years.
    If the Sox could get Haren with the same players mentioned for Santana, I’d be almost as happy as getting Santana.

    academic-SF November 30, 2007, 11:42 pm
  • I want the Yanks to keep Hughes.. ah well..

    Lar November 30, 2007, 11:58 pm
  • Oh yeah, and Ellsbury plays every day, while Santana doesn’t. That’s kind of a big deal.

    Kazz December 1, 2007, 12:10 am
  • its hard to compare the situations of the yankees and the sox. The yankees are clearly the more desperate team and have more of a need to make this move. They didnt just win the WS and dont have a Josh Beckett. Were the roles reversed, I think the sox would be making this move and the Yanks would be holding their best chips. The price a team is willing to pay varies with their situation.
    That said, this isnt over until I see him in pinstripes. There are many hoops left to jump through.

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 12:16 am
  • just got home and a quick read of the Yanks fan sites shows that most are unhappy with the idea of sending Hughes. I understand the feeling, but this is Johan Santana.

    Nick-YF December 1, 2007, 12:19 am
  • “His value over Crisp is not close to worth Santana’s value over Lester — never mind the value of Santana not being on the Yankees.”
    Paul, you have to factor in the cost of the extension. As cavalier as I am about the Yanks’ salary concerns, I do think the Sox have a limit and are pretty into limiting cost.

    Nick-YF December 1, 2007, 12:21 am
  • Nick Ive noticed the same thing. I dont get it. While it would be sad to lose Hughes, this makes our team better. With the number of great pitching prospects that havent panned out over the years, its just a no brainer to me.

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 12:23 am
  • Depending on who the third player the Yankees include, this isn’t a bad deal for New York. They are getting Johan Santana after all.
    It certainly is better than the trade that the Mets just made sending Lasting Millege for a backup catcher and an outfielder that is 6 years older than Millege.

    SoxFan December 1, 2007, 12:27 am
  • Sometimes I do not understand east coast fans… Yes, Ellsbury might be a very good ML player some day. And Hughes might be a #1 someday. But Santana has been hands down the best pitcher in baseball over the past four years. He is durable, a GREAT guy, and puts up silly numbers. And he is under 30.
    Absolute best case senerio, Ellsbury or Hughes turn out to be Hall of Fame- type players… Santana already is one.

    RyanW December 1, 2007, 12:35 am
  • Exactly Ryan. Hughes and Ellsbury are COULD BEs, Santana is a IS
    Its not like he is an old man either.

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 12:41 am
  • I could be wrong about this BUT, while it’s obvious that Santana has been a great pitcher for a long time, I have to believe that Ellsbury is, for all practical purposes, untouchable, and although Buchholz is a question mark, despite the No-No, I have a feeling he is too. AND I have a gut feeling that the Sox “interest” in Santana is really a way to make any team, especially the Yankees, fork over the maximum to get him.
    Face it, while Santana is a premier pitcher the Red Sox are dealing from such strength that it’s almost unfair. I believe that Lester is going to have a huge year in ’08. He is saying and doing all the right things to indicate he is ready to have a break out year. And while Buchholz is, as I said, a question mark, both he and Lester are purported to be paying a visit to Josh Beckett at his Texas spread to learn the Beckett workout regime. A bulked up Buchholz and Lester spells trouble for AL hitters.
    Lester now has a bona fide World Series resume and that experience can only help him. I have a suspicion that coming through his cancer ordeal has toughened him and, I mean, what are runners on first and third with less than two outs compared to that?
    Lets not forget that this kid was 5-0 with a 2.38 ERA for the Sox before symptoms of his cancer caused him to struggle at the end last year, as he finished up 2-2 with an ERA over 7, giving him a 7-2 record overall with an ERA over 4. THEN, this year, he admits he came back to pitch in a weakened condition without his best stuff and STILL got people out. Going 4-0 with an ERA over 4… BUT, 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in the series for the Sox. Even when Lester has struggled he has an uncanny ability to pitch out of trouble, which is at least partially responsible for Lester’s stellar 11-2 MLB record
    So, while Santana is a marquee pitcher, his price tag, both in the talent it’ll take to get him, and the millions it will take to sign him, are BOTH prohibitive to my way of thinking.
    Mark my words, I think Lester and Buchholz if they do take on Beckett’s work ethic, will make Red Sox fans forget all about Santana, and the money saved will keep smiles on Red Sox management for years to come.

    Brian December 1, 2007, 1:29 am
  • santana wants to be a yankee (or red sox) i dont think he would go anywhere else, and he has the final say on where he goes because of his no-trade contract. the yanks should offer about 3 minor leaguers and not tabata as one of them, plus all the yankee stadium seats the twins want to put in their new park in 2010 or whenever it finally gets built

    john December 1, 2007, 2:23 am
  • I don’t believe for a second that Santana is worth several very good, very inexpensive players, plus millions.

    Kazz December 1, 2007, 3:09 am
  • I don’t believe for a second that Santana is worth several very good, very inexpensive players, plus millions.
    I guess this is where we differ, Kazz. If not Santana, then WHO? The man is the best pitcher in baseball, and he’s still in his prime. He’s not only worth the prospects, he’s worth the millions — for either team.
    The Yankees are indeed more desperate, so I’ve expected them to include what it takes to win this contest. But I’m still waiting for a cogent, non-sentimental response why the Red Sox shouldn’t make it that much more difficult by including Ellsbury — a hitter I love to watch play, but who is largely an unknown quantity whose upside as a player may someday approach the realm Santana now occupies (to compare an apple and an orange for a second).
    I don’t believe for a second this organization bases its decisions on sentimentality — their own or their fans’. Otherwise, we’d still have Pedro and Damon chewing up chunks of payroll. Which is why I think we haven’t yet seen the Sox’ best offer. But I guess we’ll see one way or the other, and probably very soon.

    Paul SF December 1, 2007, 3:30 am
  • The Newark Star-Ledger reports the Sox have told the Twins they’ll give up Ellsbury only if Minnesota includes “a significant ‘extra piece'” on their end.
    Can’t really see that happening unless the Twins decide they just have to have Ellsbury and Lowrie filling their respective holes (instead of Cabrera and no one) and can make do with Lester instead of Hughes. And that seems unlikely.

    Paul SF December 1, 2007, 3:41 am
  • That’s interesting Paul.
    I foresee the Sox replacing Ellsbury for Crisp to try and sweeten their pot, just to make the Yankees throw down more.
    Although if what if Paul said is true, I would think the Sox would have to keep adding more if they wanted to compete with the Yankees for Santana AND pick up what I assume would be a reliever.
    Maybe a bad move on the Sox part as far as raising Santana’s price goes. But we’ll see how the Sox take the Yankees throwing in Huges.

    Pat (SF) December 1, 2007, 4:29 am
  • I also hope that the Red Sox increase their interest in Santana in order to drive up the price that the Yankees pay for him.
    Hughes, Melky, and either Jackson, Tabata, or Kennedy would make a good haul for the Twins.
    If the Yankees are willing to bid against themselves in paying A-Rod $300 million, make them do the same thing with respect to trading for Santana.

    SoxFan December 1, 2007, 6:02 am
  • These stories all mean the same thing: nothing. Other than that the clubs are in discussion and jockeying, which we all know is going on because of common sense and because of what I guess are the only 100% truthful statements coming out of the Yankees, Twins, and Sox’ camps: the acknowledgments that there have been trade talks.
    Nothing will happen until the meetings, if the Twins are smart, and that’s not for a couple of days. Ignore all the hubbub until a deal is reported. All these stories involve what clubs “might” do, or what they “might not” do. In other words, they involve no actual news.

    SF December 1, 2007, 7:56 am
  • It’s close, but:
    Hughes, Melky, Betemit > Lester, Ellsbury, Lowrie
    In giving a up big name pitcher, you want the best pitching prospect in return. By all objective accounts, Hughes is that.
    Further, Melky is younger, by almost a full year, AND more established than, by two full seasons, Ellsbury. Lowrie may be better than Betemit, but with only a half season at AAA (and as a SS), you can’t be sure. Betemit is in MLB right now.
    If the Sox want to ante up they need to include Buchholz instead of Lester. I can’t see them doing that. If the reports are true, the Yankees take this prize and at a very fair price.

    Mike YF December 1, 2007, 8:06 am
  • NY Post this morning:
    “The Twins yesterday informed the Yankees they were prepared to deal Santana to the Red Sox unless the 21-year-old Hughes was part of the deal. Fearing Santana would join Josh Beckett to give their World Series champion blood rivals two aces, the Yankees decided to put Hughes on the table.
    After hearing from the Yankees, the Twins asked the Red Sox for pitching prospect Clay Buchholz, but the Red Sox refused to part with Buchholz and center fielder Jacob Ellsbury.”
    So far it’s played out like we thought it would. How far do the Sox push it, I wonder? The Sox say nothing will get done before the winter meetings. Seems the Twins might be inclined to wait, see if the Dodgers get desperate enough at the meetings to top both offers.

    Paul SF December 1, 2007, 10:15 am
  • If this is how it were to end, both teams played it correctly IMO. They both did what they needed to do given the respective positions. This rivalry exists because there are very smart people in charge of both teams.

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 10:37 am
  • well paul, you could argue that the sox have over-valued their prospects [i.e. ellsbury], but i don’t know that it’s to a “criminal extent”…even i think he’s good, and i’m always skeptical about the sox [and yanks] over-hype of prospects, which frankly i don’t think impresses major league gm’s…let’s face it, the sox don’t need santana as much as say the yankees, so “value” is more than ever a relative term…the sox are defending champs, and ever since the series most sf’s have continued to point out to me here and elsewhere that the sox are set both with pitching and offense [let’s throw in defense too]…what could the champs possibly need santana for?…perhaps the sox FO feels the same way, and hopes the yanks get cold feet at the last minute about trading a true prospect and the sox can swoop in and steal santana for less than value [junk] from the then desperate twins…likely scenario…
    seriously though, if i we’re the sox, i’d stay with a conservative offer, only because they are the champs, they are already ahead of the yankees in terms of pitching [particularly youth]…to me, they appear to be set for some time…they should sit tight with their youth and fold them into the lineup, and pitching staff, when they are ready…it’s an enviable position really…theo’s smart enought to know this…we [the yanks] are reduced to this catch-up game chasing somebody else’s stars…i would like to be able to be more patient with our young guys…

    dc December 1, 2007, 10:39 am
  • “I don’t believe for a second that Santana is worth several very good, very inexpensive players, plus millions.”
    “I guess this is where we differ, Kazz. If not Santana, then WHO? The man is the best pitcher in baseball, and he’s still in his prime. He’s not only worth the prospects, he’s worth the millions — for either team.”
    That’s where WE disagree Paul, leaving aside the debate over Santana’s fall-off this year, while noting that 150 million is enough money to sign several top notch players to fill the holes we HAVE, that’s WHO.
    I see the Yankees as desperate for him and the Sox as merely entertaining the idea of obtaining him AND trying to drive the price up. Any serious effort made by the Sox to obtain Santana will have to be at least in part influenced by a desire to keep him from the Yankees.
    Ellsbury is going to be a star, anyone who thinks otherwise is pissing in the wind.
    I believe Lester is going to have a big year in ’08
    And Buchholz if he does bulk up this offseason will go a long way toward insuring that he will fulfill his potential.
    I personally believe that in the history of the Boston Red Sox, their farm system is as good, if not better than it’s ever been.
    I mean seriously… ROY Pedroia, Papelbon, Youk, Ellsbury, Buchholz, Lester, Manny D, Hanley Ramirez,Anibal Sanchez,Kason Gabbard, and Cla Meredith not to mention Jed Lowrie are all farm products of recent note. And can anyone ever remember a time when the Sox had as productive a farm system? Ever?
    I say, lets give the kids a chance to fulfill their glittering potential, and at the same time make the Yankees or Angels pay more than they’d like to for the privilege of Santana’s services. Use the money saved to plug the few holes they have on a WS champion and maybe spend a little more to fill the farm clubs with MORE can’t miss players.
    Unless the cost to obtain Santana is being seriously overstated, I say, please pass. BUT, make the Yankees pay dearly.

    Brian December 1, 2007, 10:45 am
  • most of us thought it would take melky + hughes anyway, and that the yanks wouldn’t include ells or buck, so where’s the surprise, and why so much credit given to each side [yanks and sox] for supposedly doing the obvious?…seems like wasted energy on their parts…
    by the way, speaking of the twins, i wonder if they regret not making the hunter for melky trade last year when we kicked it around…then we’d be talking a different looking santana package with melky already locked in as a twin…what if, what if?

    dc December 1, 2007, 10:47 am
  • “Ellsbury is going to be a star, anyone who thinks otherwise is pissing in the wind.”
    I think that anyone who says with 100% certitude that any player with no or little big league experience is for sure gonna be a star is the one pissing in the wind. Baseball history is littered with “sure things” who havent panned out. IMO, Ellsbury could go either way. The sox would be pleased enough with a solid every day CF anything better is icing on the cake.
    As for that long list of players from the sox system, I wouldnt say that all of them have sparkling futures. What about Kason Gabbard’s 4.64 ERA was so promising this year? Anibel Sanchez’s torn labrum? Its nice to get excited about young players but lets not get into the situation of over valuing guys just because they come out of your own system.

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 11:48 am
  • DC-
    Maybe it’ll be Lastings and Ellsbury and Delmon Young in the all-star games for years to come…but maybe not. Maybe it’ll be like Bam Bam all over again. Maybe Ellsbury will turn into Jacque Jones or Scott Posednick or maybe he’ll be the next Coco Crisp…
    You cannot know. You can feel good about him, excited about him but you can’t KNOW.
    I understand the emotion; as a Yankees fan this off-season has turned into a series of events I was hoping wouldn’t play out. We finally get excited about young prospect pitching on our team and then Johan Santana is put on the block. This isn’t 40 yr old Randy Johnson or 37 Year old oft-injured Kevin Brown.
    It’s brutal to feel like you may lose some new gemstone because of money.

    walein December 1, 2007, 12:02 pm
  • It’s close, but:
    Hughes, Melky, Betemit > Lester, Ellsbury, Lowrie

    In a vacuum, maybe. But the Twins already have pretty good pitching (even without Santana). They need a CF and a SS, and Ellsbury > Melky and Lowrie > Betemit, at least as a SS.

    Tyrel SF December 1, 2007, 12:15 pm
  • yeah but Tyrel. Hughes>>Lester and I dont agree with the stipulation that the twins dont need pitching. Everyone needs pitching. I dont think anyone can say definitively that Ellsbury > Melky. The jury is out until he plays a full season.

    sam-YF December 1, 2007, 12:19 pm
  • You also have to remember that they just gave up Garza in a trade and Liriano is coming back from a second Tommy-John surgery.

    walein December 1, 2007, 12:21 pm
  • I suppose there is a way this deal gets done before the meetings, but it will because the Twins are told to put up or shut up by one of their prospective partners. Like with Damon, when the Yankees supposedly gave him a “take it or leave it” ultimatum, the Bombers could say “either you take the deal with Hughes in it now before the meetings or Hughes is off the table”, forcing the Twins to confront the Sox and possibly hastening a deal. The Yankees (or the Sox) may very well not appreciate being used as leverage by the Twins to get to the Dodgers or anyone else, and simply say “now or never”.
    The Sox, via Epstein, don’t seem to have the (public) urgency to get a deal done prior to the meetings. The Yanks haven’t yet indicated that kind of semi-nonchalance, at least not yet.

    SF December 1, 2007, 12:36 pm
  • Seriously, on what grounds can you say:
    Ellsbury > Melky?
    Younger? Nope.
    More established? Nope.
    Cheaper? Nope.
    More pre-arbitration years? Yes.
    Same goes for Lowrie and Betemit, except Betemit costs a bit more, and still not even a 1 million. Worse, the Twins don’t need a SS (they just got Harris). They need a 3B. And Lowrie has never played there.
    None of that matters though. In a trade such as this, you want the best prospect in return. And that’s Hughes.

    Mike YF December 1, 2007, 12:43 pm
  • If you’re the Yanks or Sox, and your trading someone, then yes, you go for the best individual prospect in return, because you can write off the other guys and sign high priced replacements. But the Twins need more than one excellent pitching prospect in return. They’ve had the best pitcher in baseball for five years, but the supporting cast hasn’t been nearly good enough to get them over the hump. The Twins were 12th of 14 in runs last year, 13th of 14 in OPS. If they’re lucky, Young can replace Hunter’s production. But they still need to improve their offense. And I maintain that Ellsbury > Melky and Lowrie > Betemit.
    I figured that Ellsbury > Melky was a truism. Much higher ceiling, better defender. I guarantee that he’ll be better than Melky’s 89 OPS+ and 9.8 VORP next year. 23 vs 24? Who cares? If anything, it’s preferable to have the 24 year old rookie vs the 23 year old third year player, because they’d still have Ellsbury under contractual control into his prime years, but Melky’ll hit FA just after he’s 26.
    Betemit is a decent bench guy, good pop, too many Ks, plays lots of positions (poorly). Lowrie looks to be a solid SS with gap power. I’ve heard John Valentin comparisons, which sounds good to me. I’d be excited to have him competing for the SS job in Boston, but Lugo isn’t going anywhere with that contract.
    And Harris isn’t a good solution at SS. He’s a terrible defender, which will be exacerbated by the concrete hops at the Dome. And he doesn’t hit enough to justify an everyday role as a lousy SS. He’ll wind up being a reserve, at least according to Keith Law.
    Yes, Hughes > Lester. But the Yanks hypothetical offer is extremely top heavy, and young pitcher’s are extremely risky. If Hughes’ arm falls off, they’ve essentially traded Johan for a talented fourth OF and a reserve 3b. The hypothetical Sox offer would have more balance. Lester looks to be a solid middle of the rotation guy, Lowrie a solid SS, and Ellsbury a star CF/leadoff hitter. That’s a lot of value, and a lot of cost controlled years for a small market team.

    Tyrel SF December 1, 2007, 4:11 pm

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