Twins’ demands for Santana coming into view

Ichiro: I considered the Yankees
Players' names flying fast and furious

As I had to bed after our most trafficked day ever on RAB, let me leave you with some ruminations on Johan Santana, courtesy of Newday’s Kat O’Brien. Ms. O’Brien has a piece in Wednesday’s paper about the pieces the Yankees may need to move to get Santana. Take a look:

If the Yankees believe Santana could mean the difference between making the playoffs and making or winning the World Series, they may have to give up a little more than they’d like. That could mean surrendering righthander Phil Hughes along with centerfielder Melky Cabrera and another prospect (possibly pitcher Alan Horne or outfielders Jose Tabata or Austin Jackson).

Yankees officials have not said exactly what the Twins want for Santana. However, it’s been made clear that the Twins place more value upon Joba Chamberlain and Hughes than on Ian Kennedy, and that a centerfielder most likely must be part of any deal because they lost Torii Hunter to free agency. The Yankees won’t easily give up Chamberlain and Robinson Cano.

This news, of course, is not really new. I noted these exact demands on Sunday, but this whole trade business is feeling more definite. I don’t like it.

I don’t see how shipping off Phil Hughes, a bona fide pitcher and not just a prospect, for Johan Santana makes the Yankees better in the long run. I don’t see how giving up Melky and another top rated prospect in the deal makes the Yankees better.

Now, I understand that prospects are just that because we don’t know how they are going to turn out, and I understand that fans tend to overvalue their own team’s prospects. I still don’t like this trade. Any trade with Phil Hughes is simply unacceptable at this point. This one is no exception.

Ichiro: I considered the Yankees
Players' names flying fast and furious
  • AMS223

    Melky, IPK, Horne and or Tabata

  • barry

    I agree completely with you. I also would have a hard time parting with IPK, I like the way he pitches he shows alot of intelligence out there with his pitch selection. I honestly would rather watch these 3 kids develop than watch Santana get old. I also don’t see how the Yankees don’t make the playoffs this year or how having 3 young stud pitchers is worse than having one aging stud pitcher and 2 young studs. I say screw the Twins they go suck on some other franchises tit, they’re going to suck with or without this trade.

  • CB

    They should not trade Hughes in this deal.

    One of the most important things any organization has to do is to scout their own players and make the right decisions on who to give up.

    It would be very disappointing if they included Phil Hughes. Up to his strained hamstring the Yankees considered him to be arguably the most “important” person in the organization’s future.

    Now somehow he’s diminished and no longer “untouchable?” Chamberlain may have better stuff but for there to be no wsome major difference between them that makes Chamberlain untouchable but Hughes available seems strange.

    Santana holds all the cards here with his no trade clause and his contract demands. He’s not going to forfeit his chance to hit the market unless its for the deal he wants and the team he wants to play for.

    If its true that he wants to play for the yankees the twins will have very, very little leverage. They can take the picks for Santana next off season and draft more Ben Revere’s and stay in slot if they want but I can’t see their fans being happy with that.

    They should stay patient and refuse to include Hughes. Who else is going to top an offer centered on Kennedy and is going to be able to meet Santana’s contract demands? If the Sox aren’t going to trade Buchholz or Ellesbury I just don’t see them making an attractive offer. Plus, does 7 years $150 million for a pitcher sound like a Theo kind of deal? On top of that Santana may not want to play in Boston for personal reasons.

    Will the dodgers pay Santana? Do the mets have enough young talent? Do the angels want another pitcher instead of saving chips for Cabrera? How else are the twins going to make a deal with that would be acceptable to Santana?

    The market for Santana is small and the Yankees should have enough leverage to keep Hughes out of the deal. If the twins pull the deal and keep Santana in order to take a shot with him and Liriano so be it. It’s not the worst outcome for the yankees to have Santana hit the market next year.

    I find it hard to believe Cash would deal Hughes given the complexities of Santana’s deal and how the Twins are boxed into a corner. They can’t let Santana go like Hunter and get nothing for him other than picks. At the same time they aren’t free to put him up for auction to get the best bid because of his no trade and contract demands.

    The yankees cannot bid against themselves to get Santana. Including Hughes would be doing just that.

    Hopefully the hold the line at Hughes just like they seem to be doing with Chamberlain.

    • barry

      Is this an article or a comment, just playing around. I agree with you but I don’t really see the need to get Santana, I would honestly rather get someone else, specifically Bedard. The only reason they even want a Santana and his fucking stupid contract demands (c’mon 25 mil for a pitcher who plays in 24 games, get the fuck out of here, not to mention I’ll have to hear every bandwagon sawx fan saying we bought another ring), is so they have someone to throw up against Beckett, screw this trade, if you want him make sure he can still earn his money by proving that he’s not on a downward slope starting now.

    • Malcard89

      Good analysis on the issue of leverage, CB. It’s true, no package comes close to what the yankees can offer unless Boston gives up both Ellsbury and Buccholz, and the Dodgers give up Clayton Kershaw plus their young future infielders. Yankee fans do tend to hype their own prospects, but there’s no denying that Melky is a legitimate major league centerfielder, although certainly not upper echelon, Kennedy is going to be solid as a starter, and Horne’s worst possible career path, with his electric stuff, is a 7th inning guy in the bullpen. That package, plus perhaps Tabata, sounds like a good haul to me rather than just one more year of dominance by Santana on a team that isn’t likely to make the postseason. In comparison to the Braves/Rangers/Mark Texiera deal, the Rangers got a very nice deal, and the Braves are getting one and a half years of Texiera, who’s of course not as valuable as Santana, but not far behind either. The Yankees package is STILL better than even what the Rangers got.

      Hughes and Joba must stay, period.

  • Mr. Faded Glory

    Just in case anyone thought differently, Santana is a much better pitcher than Phil Hughes now, in 2008 and in the foreseeable future

    • barry

      what until 2010 when Phil blossoms to his full potential? Foreseeable pitchers, how sudden can a decline happen? lots of pitchers start to decline between the ages of 30-34.

    • Chip

      That’s true but at what point do we stop just throwing our young guys away? We need to be getting these 22-30 year old years out of great pitchers rather than the Mussinas, Clemens, Wells, Wrights, Pavanos, ect. that were great other places before we signed them to huge contracts.

      Yes, Santana will be great in the next few years but who’s to say that Hughes won’t be? I mean if we don’t chase Hughes away, he becomes anywhere near what Santana currently is, we’ll probably have him for at least all of his prime years. We’re talking about age 21-35 here (it’s not like the Yanks won’t have the money to do it). Plus, the free agent market for pitchers is huge next season so lets give up only a draft pick, sign a pitcher that’s at least in the same league as Santana, pay the same amount of money and see Hughes come into his own.

    • Mitchell’s Eleven

      if Mr. Faded Glory can foresee the future like this, then why couldn’t he save Andrew Wood?


      it doesn’t matter if the individual piece would be better in 2008. would the team be better? the point made in the thread is that it’s doubtful, and i agree.

      let’s sign some relievers and get the off-season over with. i am so sick of this Santana business. i don’t think even giving up Melky is even a great idea anymore. i don’t want another overpriced over-30 mercenary patrolling centerfield next year. if you trade Melky, get Gardner in there, at least.

  • ……

    Yeah, and what happens when he doesn’t reach his full potential in 2010? Or ever? Look, I see where everyone is coming at with this Phil Hughes infatuation, and I’d prefer we give up IPK along with another guy rather than Hughes, but we’re talking about Johan here. Will Hughes ever be as good as Johan? Doubtful. In any case, Johan isn’t the blow em’ away with everything I got kinda pitcher like Josh Beckett. He’s stays in the low 90’s and uses his control and movement along with that nasty changeup and slider. He’s a horse that is very durable. I’ll bet Johan will be nasty for at least 4 years of the hopefully 7 year extension, then still be very good for the rest.

    • Kanst

      The question is if you combine the value of Hughes, Melky and whoever else goes. Is that within 20 million of the value Santana gives us. If it is it is a bad trade to make that trade.

      Yes Santana is fantastic but whose to say he doesnt come to NY and wilt under the pressure and become just a good pitcher not a great one?

      I would much rather take my chances with guys who we have brought up from the system then go out and try and snag another teams former prospect

  • Ricochet

    If it has to include Hughes I wouldn’t pull the trigger on the deal even though I believe Santana is the best pitcher in the game just entering his prime and think that he will be dominate for many, many years to come.

    Something that people have to realize is that the Twins don’t have power anymore to demand a monster package for the team that trades for him. If they would’ve traded him last winter they would’ve but now just a year away from being able to walk away they’ve lost there chance to dominate negotiations and have all the power but with his no trade clause and being a FA after the ’08 season it’s gone.

    They will never get his worth now and thats why you don’t trade Cano, Joba, Hughes and Tabata.

    Melky Cabrera is obvious they need a CF. I would package some of the good Yankee pitching prospects such as Ian Kennedy and Alan Horne as well as another prospect. If thats not up to snuff the forget it, let’s see if the few other teams that can afford it and he’s willing to go to will pony up anything better.

    The Twins have a nice young core but Santana and Nathan are gone after ’08 and they are going to fall further into mediocrity. If they move these guys with the young core that they have they can get back to the top of the AL Central by 2010 or 2011.

  • iYankees

    If the Yankees trade Phil Hughes, I’d be very disappointed with the decision. He’s poised to be a significant contributor for years to come. He’s cheap and phenomenal. What more could you ask for?

    I love Johan Santana and think he’s great, however, I do not think it is necessarily important enough for us to ship off Hughes in any deal for him. We have to remember that the Yankees look like they are the front-runners for Santana. The Red Sox seemingly aren’t willing to give up Lester, Buchholz or Ellsbury and the Twins seem as though they’re not interested in the prospects the Mets have to offer.

    I agree with Ricochet above me. Package Melky, Horne, and Ian Kennedy and that’s it. If they don’t accept it, it’s their loss. Come 2009, they’ll be Santanaless, and will also have nothing substantial to show for it.

    A big thing for the Twins is that they have great pitching, even without Santana (even though it’s obviously not as good). They have a lot of young guys who can throw well for their team (e.g. Garza, Slowey, Liriano, etc.). Maybe if the Yankees offer up Melky, Horne, Jackson and another position player (Tabata? Ouch), they may be more interested.

    Then again, you can never be too sure.

  • E-ROC

    IPK, Melky, Steven White, and Marquez for Santana? I don’t want the Yankees to give up Horne or Hughes. It does sound as if this deal will happen.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    Most Yankee writers and fans are against the dealing of Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. Can we all be that far off the mark from the front office? I hope not.

    I think that MELKY should be the centerpiece of this trade. We need pitching, THEY need a center fielder. We need to keep Jackson otherwise who is our CF?

    Melky, Kennedy, Horne and that’s it. Otherwise no deal.

    I don’t even care if he goes to Boston at this point. All I care about is the PHILOSOPHY of not decimating our farm system. The actual players are not THAT important (w/ the exception of Hughes and Chamberlain) but the PHILOSOPHY of NOT dealing youth for stars is important and one I think that Cashman has maintained is our philosophy. I’d hate to see it change.

  • Mr.Yankee

    I used your post in my own blog
    I credited you guys here at riveraveblues you guys rock! I hope you dont mind?
    In my opinion. I think that We should’nt trade for Santana he becomes a free agent in 2008,
    I wouldn’t trade any of the big three (Chamberlain, Hughes or Kennedy) I would however trade Melky and I would love to get rid of Cano whom I think would flourish in Minnesota!
    Let the Twinss sweat it out!!! Let’s see the winter meeting come by and nobody take the trade bait! Let the season go by….Than watch Minnesota get desperate to trade him, and maybee his asking price go down?
    The only team i fear being able to snatch him from the Yankee’s is the angels they have the prospects to get it done! Other than that , I’d wait it out….
    better a staff like this –>
    Santana L
    Chamberlain R
    Wang R
    Hughes R
    Kennedy R/Chase Wright L
    than without ???
    And what if Joba doesn’t work out as a starter, unlikely but still? and they have to put him back in the pen…or need him there? You still have Kenndy and Hughes!
    I think Kennedy is going to be a good one I think, Joba is a phenom and Hughes too much potential , I would however package Wang with Cano amd Cabrera…….WHAT DO YOU THINK???
    Besides: Next year there are alot top notch pitchers becomming free agents ….Santana…Sabathia …etc. etc…. etc…
    ?what do you think?

  • Steve

    I agree that we need to keep youth, and I agree that a cheap young player is worth much more than just his value on the field, but I think we’re going a little far here. Giving up Hughes AND AJax (along with Melky who seems like a logical piece now due to his high value) is too much, but including one in a deal for Santana makes sense. To get value you have to give value, and the luxury of the depth the yanks have now is that you can deal value. Santana is the #1 pitcher in the AL right now. This is not Dan Haren who might be top 5, this is not Josh Becket who has put it together for one full season, this is not CC with conditioning questions. Just look at the other news of the day with the Cubs dealing Mark Prior to see how hard it is to predict a prospect’s future (there are dozens of other examples just from the last decade). I love Phil, but it is a reasonable price to pay for Santana. You can’t compare this to trading for Vazquez or Weaver or whomever, this is a young starter who is tops in the league (not potential like Vazquez/Weaver, or past prime like Brown/Unit). Even moving Hughes you still have Joba/IPK/Horne/Sanchez/Betances/Brackman/Marquez/Whelan and many more, which is the exact point of building depth, it gives you flexibility (can’t have a 10 man starting rotation).

  • Matt

    I say we stick with Kennedy, Melky, Horne, and (Tabata, Gardner or Jackson-one of the three). We hold off on Hughes unless we think the Sox or somebody else is going to top us. The only way the Sox top us is if they deal Bucholz and Elsbury and I think ELsbury is clsoe to untouchable for them. They can’t top us with any deal that involves Coco (he is awful).

  • Steve S

    I dont think you can say Hughes is untouchable and I absolutely love Hughes but Rob NEyer made a great point the other day that when assessing the risk Santana poses a much smaller risk than Hughes over the long term. Hughes has shown incredible promise but for the near future we just dont know what we have. Additionally, while its fun to picture a rotation with all three kids in it, its not exactly the best place to be competetively. The Pettitte problem leaves them needing innings because its not realistic to expect any of these three to give them 200 innings and expect to stay healthy or fresh in September and October. Santana doesnt just give you innings, he gives you a known commodity for next year and the year after that. And lets be honest the Yankees have sunk in a lot of money into this team, and will continue to do so, we cant expect them to rely on three guys who arguably are completely unproven except for small samples.

    Injuries are difficult to predict, and while Hughes might have greater longevity, there is nothing to say that he is impervious to injuries. Or that he can ever establish the dominance that Santana has displayed. I mean lets be honest Santana is well on his way to a Hall of Fame career and thats a lot to expect from Hughes. Neyer made the comment that comparing guys with Santana’s numbers results in very few pitchers. This isnt a 40 year old randy johnson, or kevin brown, or even a national league tested pavano or vazquez. This is Johan Santana. And sometimes you have to give up things to get things.

    All that being said I think holding back HUghes for now is wise because the market for santana may be hot but it seems limited to three or four teams considering the contract demands. Then take into account the fact that the Mets do not have much to give up and the Red Sox dont seem to want to include Elsbury, and you have a situation where the Yankees may get a bargain. But if the market bears out that they need to give up HUghes, its something that they should contemplate doing, if the Yankees believe Santana is the difference between winning a world series or even getting further into the playoffs. Because I think to say keeping Hughes will result in them winning multiple world series down the line is extraordinarily risky.


    you couldent be more wrong.
    There are so many more young pitchers with more talent than hughes that didnt pan out.
    either because of inafectivenes or injury.(look at mark prior , probably the most talented pitcher in college history)
    your boy phil pops his hamstring in one of his first starts. And he hasent had the same velocity since.I know his mental makeup is great and hes got the composure you dream about. But were talking the about one of the best starters in the game today which happens to be a lefty. Its a no brainer. Phil hughes is still a prospect. he never put a full season together yet and the jury is still out on him. I cant believe you wouldent jump on this right away.sometimes as yankee fans we have to get over the whole “hes from our system we cant trade him”. In my eyes this is a must. this would put us even with the bosox.Please respond to this im very curious to hear what you have to say.

  • Mac

    The thing I think needs to be mentioned is that if we do trade Hughes, that means a rotation of Santana, Wang, Chamberlain, Kennedy, and Mussina.

    That’s not super great. The top end is pratty damn good, but it makes a couple of bold assumptions, the biggest of which is that Mussina is going to be decent next year. Relying on Mussina to be the fifth man is as egregious an error in judgment in my opinion as going into last year with Kei Igawa in the rotation. Regardless of Moose kind of sucking, there are the facts that Joba has zero MLB starts and that Kennedy is ridiculously overhyped at the moment (although of all the rookies, IPK can gives us the most innings at this point, which = awesome).

    My point is, Hughes is a proven MLB starter, and we need him to stay for that practical reason at least. To get rid of him is just a terrible idea. Because the truth is, we need one MORE starter. Even if we get Santana and lose a rookie, we should be campaignin pretty hard to get pettite back…Unless that is we want Chase Wright and the rooie parade redux. Although I would be quite happy to see Horne get a call-up at some point.

    • Steve S

      problem is without pettitte they have wang, hughes, chamberlain, kennedy and mussina, which one is better? Clearly, the one with Santana in it, being that he is the best of the bunch. Also, I’ll say it again, I love Phil Hughes and I think he is going to be great but you cant call him a bona fide pitcher yet. Its all based on hope

  • LiveFromNewYork

    If Andy re-upped now, we would lose our desperation and think more clearly. Andy come home.

  • TurnTwo

    Joba is really my single untouchable right now in the organization.

    Hughes has the potential to be great, but he’s not there yet. Santana is great, and can be great for the next handful of years.

    As an organization, you have to identify your blue chippers, and make it known that you are only moving them if something special comes along, and you have to be sure that player will not just be with you and be successful for a year or 2, but for the near future… the next 5 years.

    Johan is something special. and he’s not 32 or 33, he’ll be 29 come first pitch in April. He’s a stud, and he’s young enough to help this team now, and in the future.

    I dont know why so many people care about the money here… it’s not our money, and it’s proven that the Steinbrenner’s will spend their own money to keep great talent.

    and you know what? in 5 years when Johan may not be great anymore, and Hughes may be better… so will Betances and Brackman, and McCutcheon, and its going to take the next Johan to come across the Yankees path to pry them away from BC’s grasp then, too.

  • CB

    There have been a lot of potential packages of players thrown around with people trying to think up what would be fair value or enough for santana.

    Here’s another way of looking at it.

    The Twins will be forced to accept the best package of talent they are offered that is better than the compensations picks they’d get if Santana walks. They will be further forced to pick this best package of talent from the very small handful of teams Santana wants to play for.

    That’s it. That’s all the yankees have to do – offer that best package better than the draft picks. Yes you have to “give value to get it” but value depends on circumstance. Right now santana’s value is relatively low because there is not much of a viable market for him.

    Best package better than two draft picks from a team Santana would accept a trade to.

    That’s the parameters of this deal.

    I don’t think that requires Phil Hughes unless the Yankees panic. Kennedy and Melky by themselves are far better than the draft picks alone.

    What other team that Santana wants to play for is going to compete with a deal centered on those two and can be augmented with others like hornre or a tabata, etc?

    • giselle

      i 100% agree with CB’s post. under the circumstances of santana’s contract and considering the fact that the market is so small, all the yankees need to do is make an offer that’s a *little* better than the best offer the twins will get.

      worse case scenario, minnesota says doesnt make the trade and we sign santana next year for a grand total of NO PROSPECTS.

  • usty

    It’s Johan. Freaking. Santana. I’d love to have them take Kennedy, Melky and others. But we’re not pulling the wool over the eyes of some inexperienced fantasy baseball owner in a keeper league here. Give value to get value.

    As others have said, pitchers are all a crapshoot and I’d love to have Hughes out there 5 years from now tossing Santana-like gems at 27, but the odds aren’t in our favor of all of our “big 3” making it anyway. An example right from our backyard, good ol’ “Generation K”, Pulsipher, Isringhausen, Wilson anyone? Santana is proven. I say do it.

  • Kevin23

    Hughes for Santana straight up is a no-brainer. Add Melky and its a close call, but still a good deal. Add in Kennedy or Joba and a draft pick and it becomes too rich for my blood.

    Joba should be untouchable. His aura alone is worth more to the Yankees than money at this point…being the one Yanks pitcher who scared people last year. Hughes is more of a risk, I think. He may very well be worth more now than in a few years with his fragility. I say play the hype game. Go into talks holding Hughes high above your head as if you’d rather die than trade him, then at the last second, if you think you can swing a great deal, do it with Hughes. He’s our best bargaining chip, and Johan is obviously the best prize. Just don’t give him 7 years. 5 years at 100M or so seems more than fair…that way he’ll be about 33 when he’s ready to negotiate his last contract, making him just young enough to still be a hot commodity. Plus it gives him incentive to not suck while he’s a Yankee.

  • Jeterismyhomeboy

    Hughes was never developed as a “chip.” He was always developed as a keeper. He’s a 21 year old who posted a 100 ERA+ in an injury shortened season, in addition to almost pitching a no-hitter in his second ML start and saving the Yankees’ season in a do-or-die Game 3. He’s done better than Santana did in the same sample size, and his mL stats are a revelation. Prospects with his stats, mental makeup and determination are rare, and trading him is a very bad idea.

    The Twins have no leverage. If Boston isn’t willing to give up Buchholz or Ellsbury (but for some strange reason, they think Crisp will get it done…), then the Kennedy/Melky deal is the best one they’re going to get from a team that can afford 25m per year to a pitcher. In fact, the Yanks don’t even have to give up Melky. They can give up Jackson instead (no matter what anyone says, Melky is in the ML right now and Jackson is just projected to be good…after 1/2 a season, no less). Worst comes to worst, the Dodgers step in at the last minute and offer Kemp and Billingsley, and Santana is safely in the NL. Or, the Yanks convince Boston that Santana’s so close to being in pinstripes that they offer up Ellsbury and Buchholz, and we all laugh at them as Coco puts up a .650 OPS and the Yanks bomb shots off of Santana and into the Monster.

  • Jeterismyhomeboy

    When I say “Santana did” I mean, in his first 70+ ML innings. Santana was a disaster when he debuted as a relief pitcher to the tune of a 6.49 ERA in his first 86 ML innings and a 1.81 WHIP. Phil put up a 4.46 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP.