Saturday, December 22, 2007

Yankees Not In On Santana? Why Their Package Isn't Enough

Earlier today, Newsday cited a source "with knowledge of the situation", who on behalf of the Yankees said, "I don't see it happening with us. We pulled out in Nashville, and we haven't put an offer back on the table." Now I don't know about you, but I find it highly unlikely that the Yankees are completely out.

My personal opinion, is that the Yankees at this point aren't willing to give up Hughes and another quality prospect. They've demonstrated a strong unwillingness to include a player such as Chamberlain or Kennedy. And such unwillingness seems rather intelligent. They've also been unwilling, however, to include less valuable prospects such as Alan Horne, Jose Tabatha, or even Austin Jackson.

Whether that thinking will be best for the organization has yet to be seen, but what's clear now is that it's likely not the type of thinking that could land them Santana. I don't think any reasonable fan doubts the value of Phil Hughes. He projects as an ace, and is likely to be better than anyone offered in a Red Sox package. But the Yankees best offered package of Hughes, Melky Cabrera, and Jeff Marquez offers very little talent in addition to Hughes.

Melky Cabrera's greatest asset is his price. He will be cost controlled for years to come. But his abilities as a baseball player aren't very impressive to anyone outside of New York. Melky's power is very limited, he's slugged only .391 the past two seasons and his patience at the plate is inconsistent. Last year, among center fielders who qualified, Cabrera ranked 10th out of 13th in OPS. And even if he does eventually live up to his minor league line, an OPS of .769, his offensive output would be average for the weak hitting position of a center fielder.

On the defensive side, Cabrera has a rocket for an arm. But I don't think it quite makes up for his limited range and poor instincts. I play softball with some Yankees fans, and when someone takes a poor route to a fly ball, they dub that "pulling a Melky". When someone misjudges a ball at the wall that used to be a "Milledge" but after Delmon Young misjudged a David Ortiz walkoff home run last year, it's now more popularly known as a "Delmon".

As far as Jeff Marquez, it's not as if he doesn't have potential. Marquez is a 23-year-old sinkerball pitcher in the Yankees farm system. He typically throws in the low 90's and has a plus change but he needs much more development. Marquez doesn't have the ability to strike many batters out, and throughout his minor league career he's allowed more hits than innings pitched, which is concerning considering he's only in Double-A. He also has an injury history, which sidelined him for much of his 2006 season.

If the Yankees were serious about Santana, they'd definitely have to add more value to their package. It takes more than one high quality prospect to acquire any ace in a trade, let alone one considered the best pitcher in baseball. But as of now, it looks like they'll be content to go with the players they have, even if that means the Red Sox may acquire the Twins ace.


Anonymous said...

wow, so your softball friends think Melky has poor range? but UZR and ZR disagrees.

who is right?

probably the softball guys.

Anonymous said...

I would rather have melky than koo koo cwisp!

Anonymous said...

I dont think the stars align for this deal (pun intended).

Minn deserves a better package for the best pitcher in baseball, but the Yanks would be fools to give up Hughes plus anyone else of quality, plus $150m. I honestly dont think it is worth it for them to trade Hughes straight up.

Sometimes (actually lots of time) potential deals just shouldnt be made because the two teams interests just dont align.

Ethan Michaels said...

Anon, the thing about my softball friends was a joke. My opinion of Melky is mostly based on my own two eyes as I get all Yankees games on TV.

If you want to talk about UZR and ZR, that's fine, but you must realize that those statistics are heavily influenced by outside factors such as how often a fielder calls for the ball, and the dimensions of their ballpark. Manny Ramirez gets off the charts numbers every year because left field in Fenway Park is so small. According to the UZR statistics for the first month of 2007, Manny cost the Red Sox 13 runs in less than a month.

I don't think anyone who understands UZR considers it to be without flaws. If you truly believe UZR, then do you believe that Jeter is the worst defensive SS in baseball, as UZR often says?

As far as Melky and Crisp, the point really isn't to compare them. While I'd take Melky as well since he's cheaper, I really wouldn't want either one as a starting CF on my team. Neither are very good, so arguing over which one is better is like arguing which beat up car could drive faster than the other, in fact either one of the cars could actually run at all.

Does Minnesota deserve a better package? Probably. But are they going to get one? Probably not. They're hurt quite a bit by the salary Santana will command, and the amount of teams willing to give up prospects. The Red Sox are one of the few teams in good enough position to trade for Santana and not hurt their future all that much.

In the end, Minnesota's likely to get whatever they can. The four, possibly five young, cheap players the Red Sox would give them for Santana are worth a heck of a lot more than a couple of sandwich draft picks.

In the future, feel free to use a nickname if you want to respond to an article. You don't have to sign in and everything. If you prefer to remain anonymous though, that's fine. It's just easier to tell if I'm replying to one person, or three people if you use a name. But thanks for stopping by!

Morgan said...

Did you Read the Article?

The Article says Don’t Expect The Yankees to acquire Santana by Christmas because Mlb offices will be closed until Jan 2

I would say same thing for Boston and their sports team Not all the world revolves around the Redsox,Pats,Celtics in fact, none of it does.

The Redsox are reluctant to include Ellsbury and Lester in the same package. They would rather include Coco Stinkin Crisp in a deal for Johan. Please I suggest you read Twin cities Newspaper

Hughes is a better prospect than Lester, but not that much better, If Lester solves his control issues, he is a #2 pitcher. If you watch him on the mound, he has a big league mentality. Lester is still 11-2 and has never really been healthy at a MLB level. First year cancer, second year still really recovering.

Melky is roughly equal to Crisp, melky has a better arm, Crisp's defense is gold glove worthy, routes to the ball etc.

So, a slugging SS, with decent OBP, a SS the Twins are in desperate need off..

Why if you deal Santana do you have to get an ace back? Who said Hughes was that ace, and since when were the Twins short on SP? thats ALL they have.

the Sox offer is a CF, SS, and 2 SP
The yankees offer is a CF, SP and nothing worth noting.

Horne isn't on the table, Kennedy isn't on the table.

Hughes has high value for every team but the Twins, RS package is better FOR the Twins.

And Lester did start is career 5-0, 2.38 ERA, and that would have been when he was healthy.

Lester is a good pitcher, who will get better the more he plays, you cannot fairly judge him over the last 2 years, and if you do, factoring in cancer, the results are incredible, apart from the WHIP, hardly be the first young pitcher with control issues. They can be corrected.

if the red sox packages are so "GREAT", then why the heck havent the twins taken one of them?...i mean come on, if the twins didnt like hughes, they wouldve taken the lester,crisp,lowrie, masterson trade. the twins obviously value hughes more than lester, thats why theyre asking for lester AND ellsbury. they want AND need a possible ace back in any johan deal, esp since they traded away their best pitching prospect in garza. lester is no ace, cancer or no cancer, but hughes has the "stuff" to be one (no lock, but much closer). now i do believe the yankees are overvaluing their lower level prospects, but theres no need to buckle and throw in a kennedy or horne b/c if the twins are ever close to a deal with the red sox, they WILL come back to the yankees first to ask for a better offer...& then they may give in & include a kennedy/horne/jackson/tabata...

Morgan said...

Boston Globe Nick Cafardo - Today's Article on Santana

Page 4 of 4 --

Santana clause
Here's the skinny on a possible deal for Johan Santana. The Red Sox would break from their philosophy of not giving out long-term deals for Santana. They'd prefer fewer than the seven years agent Peter Greenberg is seeking but will go there for one of the top two or three pitchers. Since the winter meetings, nothing has changed with Boston's offer, but after the New Year things are expected to get down to the nitty-gritty, when Minnesota will expect the Yankees and Red Sox to give their final "best offer." The Sox are still offering Coco Crisp, Jon Lester, Justin Masterson, and Jed Lowrie. If the Yankees don't include Ian Kennedy, the Red Sox will land him. As to the growing theory that Josh Beckett would be bent out of shape over Santana earning twice as much, forget it. Beckett signed the contract and knew what he was doing.
more stories like this

Pitch counts count
One thing that makes the Santana deal attractive to the Red Sox is the great care the Twins have taken with the ace since he entered the big leagues in 2000. In 251 games and 175 starts, only once did he reach the 120-pitch mark. That came in a 7-1 loss to the White Sox April 21, 2006, at Chicago, where he went seven innings.

Mariners in the mix
Sources inside the Mariners organization still indicate they're alive on Santana and Baltimore's Erik Bedard. There's a lot of disappointment in Seattle over losing the Hiroki Kuroda bidding with the Dodgers. He was clearly the best of the available free agent pitchers, which forced the Mariners to sign former Twin Carlos Silva to a four-year, $48 million deal that is hard to figure. Do the Mariners have the pieces to land Santana and Bedard? Among Adam Jones, Brendan Morrow, and catching prospect Jeff Clement, they probably do. But the issue is: Can they satisfy Santana's contract demands? In a division where the Angels have improved, the Mariners are feeling some pressure to do something big.

DV said...

No bluffing on this deal
Sox may need to up Ramirez ante

Every offseason presents a whole new set of storylines. But next year’s might be Oscar worthy.

For the Red Sox [team stats], there is the impending free agency of catcher Jason Varitek [stats] and the task of replacing starter Curt Schilling [stats].

But the player who will potentially headline the drama is Manny Ramirez [stats], staring at a club option of $20 million for each of the two years after 2008. Once thought to be a destination not to be concerned with because of the Red Sox’ front office’s previous run-ins with the left fielder, the notion of Ramirez sticking around for a ninth year could be a plausible scenario.

Let’s start with Ramirez’ sudden love for life with the Red Sox, which was on display for at least a few to see immediately following his recent Duck Boat ride. Who would have envisioned the slugger finishing up his latest championship parade, pointing to the retired Sox numbers along the outside of Fenway Park [map] wall and making it clear that he not only wanted to retire a Red Sox, but hoped to have his own number immortalized at Fenway.

Then there is the most recent benchmark for the kind of contract Ramirez would be garnering if the first option is picked up, Andruw Jones. True, the center fielder brings a boatload more defense than Ramirez, and is five years younger.

But what the Dodgers are paying slightly more than $36 million for over the next two years is a hard-to-find, middle-of-the-order bat. And while many can point to Ramirez’ “down” season a year ago, it dwarfed the one turned in by Jones (.222 batting average).

It might be all moot if Ramirez doesn’t find his way after hitting just 20 home runs last season, or if the Sox decide their money is better spent on a seven-year, $140 million deal for Johan Santana.

Yet, remember, the Dodgers paid Jones because he was that rare meat-of-the-order option. Considering who else is likely to be available on the free agent market next year (see accompanying chart), it certainly heightens the prospects of retaining Manny

Contract Extension for Manny and $25 million dollars?

Morgan said...

Johan Santana to Boston or New York and When?

By Eric Hz Section: Baseball
Posted on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 07:30:04 AM EDT

Yesterday, the Yankees claimed be be done for the holidays on the Johan Santana front. Today, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports the Red Sox are also done until the New Year. He reports:

1. The Sox will give a long-term extension. This is against team philosophy but Santana is a great one and the Twins have not abused him - no starts over 120-pitches.
2. Boston has not changed their offer.
3. The Twins will get very serious post-New Year's Day.
4. If the Yankees do not include Ian Kennedy as the third piece, then Santana will be on the Red Sox.

John Harper of the NY Daily News offers a slight refutation in the context of the disappointing off-season the New York Mets have so far experienced. He sources an AL executive "close to the situation" who says the Red Sox aren't really interested in Santana because of the financial ramifications and are only involved to discourage the Yankees.

What the Red Sox really hope is the Mets land Santana, but that seems dependent on the Mets including Jose Reyes, which seems to be be closer to a dancing partner of the visions of sugar plums in the Twins' dreams than a likely scenario. Surprisingly, Mr. Harper is not so certain about this. He'd [Omar Minaya] better be right on this stance, or it could turn out to be something of a defining moment for Minaya. There are still plenty of people in baseball who think Reyeswill blossom into a superstar, but there are also some who admit Reyes' second-half swoon this year raised doubts about whether he'll fulfill his potential.

"Will blossom"? If this were a Carlos Gomez/Fernando Martinez/Mike Pelfrey/Kevin Mulvey deal, then I'd agree. None of those have bloomed in the slightest and can only do so by referencing the future possibilities. Jose Reyes is already a star. Has anyone seen the progression of walk totals from 23 to 57 to 77 while he kept his ABs and Ks steady?

Ethan Michaels said...

Thanks for the article dv. Next offseason will be interesting. I wouldn't be surprised if the Red Sox pick up Manny's option. If they did drop Manny's contract they could free up a lot of money though. Perhaps they could go after Guerrero but I expect him to stay in LA.

I'd rather the Red Sox focus on picking up a catcher. BEST CASE SCENARIO the Red Sox pick up Kenji Johjima. He's not only one of the best defensive catchers, but one of the best offensive catchers as well. A catcher like that only comes around every once in a while.

Ethan Michaels said...

Morgan, I didn't say the Red Sox package was great. I just said it's the best package that the Twins have on the table. The Twins don't just need a pitcher, they need a centerfielder, a middle infielder and probably multiple pitchers given that they've already dealt Garza and they'd be dealing away Santana as well.

Ethan Michaels said...

Morgan, I think all teams are taking this time off for the holidays. I expect teams to talk again in January but I don't expect anything to immediately happen, considering how deliberate the Twins have been about the process the entire time.

I'm surprised some people still think the Red Sox are only involved to drive up the price. By all accounts they've been the most serious suitor of all the teams involved.