Sunday, December 02, 2007

Fried Twinkies

The hot stove madness surrounding Santana, Boston, and our beloved Yankees has reached the point of absurd. Speculation abounds. Minute-by-minute "Santana Watch" vigils are being held on the internet with much of the same debate being conducted in comments sections and bulletin board everywhere.

Here's the way it looks.

Yankees offer Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, and a mid-level prospect.
Red Sox offer Jon Lester, Coco Crisp, and mid-level prospects.
Dodgers may have made an offer of some kind.
Seattle and a handful of others are interested.

To my mind, unless Boston makes either Buchholz or Ellsbury available, our offer trumps theirs. If the Dodgers want to give away the farm, they can probably acquire him. If the Angels want to reverse their decade long trend of hanging onto their prospects, they can have him. Santana has a no trade, so he does get some say in his destination. This boils down to the Twins playing hard ass with everyone and demanding the moon. They have a young GM trying to show that he's the equal of anyone in the business, and a prime trade chip that comes along once a decade.

I am for acquiring Santana for Hughes and change. I always have been. I think it's a fair deal, and one that helps the Yankees win over the next 4-5 years. We have enough on the farm to absorb this and keep rolling strong. Joba, Kennedy, Horne, Betances, Brackman, Sanchez, Jairo Heredia, Clippard, etc....etc....and the draft keeps on rolling. If only one or two of those guys ends up in our rotation, it still works. Hughes is a symbol. A very high profile and important symbol to Yankee fans. Digging beneath the symbolic value of the player, there is also reason to believe he will be a very good pitcher. How good, how soon are the important questions.

Johnny Damon
Derek Jeter
Bobby Abreu
Alex Rodriguez
Jorge Posada
Hideki Matsui
Robinson Cano

Of that group, only Cano is young. The rest of those players are all set to decline in the near future, and many have already done so precipitously. Not to mention Giambi, who will be a ghost soon. The Yankees are built to win it soon. Fact is, they are still built to win it all multiple times soon, but not beyond three or four years. Johan Santana fits. He will probably give us a 140 ERA+ over that period. Will Phil Hughes? It's not impossible, but nothing is certain.

The sticking point to me is the Twins approach. They are doing everything exactly right from their position. So far, they are masterful. The thing is, we don't need Santana half as much as Jorge Posada said. If they are demanding the moon, and they should, we still have to consider the double jeopardy of prospects and salary. In terms of straight value here, players for players seems okay, but the addition of free agent money makes the deal almost prohibitive. Adding better players in the deal is idiotic and the Yankees should walk away. I'm not scared of Beckett, Santana, and Matsuzaka. That's an unbelievable rotation, but I'm high on our kids and I'm also high on the idea of Kennedy and change for Haren instead of Santana.

If the Twins don't get Buchholz or Ellsbury out of Boston, and we pull out of the thing, they hold onto Santana until the trade deadline. A desperate team will cave in at that point, possibly, although a kind of philosophical collusion could come into play where teams let Santana go to free agency and then blow him away. I expect he'll go into the season with the Twins and things will progress from there. This is all posturing and flexing by the teams involved, especially the Twins. Hughes was a step toward Minnesota in making a fair deal. The rest is excessive.

Final word. Wang, Hughes, Joba, Kennedy, Moose. That rotation is lacking in experience, and people are hemming and hawing about the Yankees lack of guaranteed quality. All the pundits out there are talking doomsday for the Bombers if they don't add a big name veteran. It's admittedly worrisome, but I also think it's overblown. The talent is unquestionable. Hughes will be as good as anyone we had last season. He already showed he is capable of big things. Joba is an ace in the making, if only injury stays away. Kennedy should be a solid #4 in this rotation. Certainly better than any #4 we had all year. Think about it. We made the playoffs with a shitty Clemens, shitty Moose, Igawa, White, Rasner, Karstens, and a host of other pretenders making starts. Hughes, Joba, and Kennedy are a gigantic upgrade. If a veteran guy is what we need to give innings or something, go for a Jon Lieber-type who can fill out the back end and save some young arms on occasion.

I still hope for Santana, but pox on the Twins if they think they can play us for fools in this negotiation. Good luck Boston. You can have him.


RollingWave said...

a bone to pick Mike, Steven White did not start for the major league team in 07, mostly because he was injured when the team was in the biggest mess and when he finally recover Joba / Ian had already rocketed up to AAA

RollingWave said...

also, i think you overblow the win not amoung the lineup a bit too, i mean in the next 3 year all the declining guys are comming off the book and the Yankees shold have little trouble replacing them with equally great FAs (Miguel Cabrera, Mark Texira etc... hitters tend to be much easier and safer to project going foward)

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