The word all over the place (including the comments) is that the Red Sox are prepared to offer Jon Lester, Coco Crisp, Justin Masterson, and Jed Lowrie to the Twins for Johan Santana. This is after the Yankees rejected a swap of Hughes, Melk, Horne, and Ajax. While I firmly believe that what the Twins asked of the Yanks is of greater value than they will reportedly receive from the Red Sox, I’ll try to avoid pitching a fit about it.
If the Sox want to do that, so be it. It makes a ton more sense for them. Lester is immediately replaced with Santana; Crisp wasn’t going to start anyway because of Ellsbury; Lowrie is blocked by Youkilis, Pedroia, and Julio Lugo’s contract; Masterson is something like Alan Horne, just not as far along in his development.
Meanwhile, the Yanks would have replaced Hughes with Santana, but then would have had to either lessen their outfield defense with the loss of Melky. True, Gardner could have slid into that spot eventually, but he’s unknown, too. Less known than Ellsbury in any event. Then you have Ajax, who just had a monster breakout year, and Horne, who could serve as an injury fill-in next year or as a bullpen cog. And, as I said, he’s further along than Masterson, and I’d venture to guess they have roughly the same chance of panning out.
And that’s not even mentioning the superiority of Ian Kennedy in this deal.
So while this isn’t tasking for Nick Johnson and Alfonso Soriano and then taking Casey Fossum and Brandon Lyon, the Sox are clearly getting the better deal here. Some of it is a lesser breed of players, and some of it is the necessity of those players to the Sox overall scheme.
Update: After exchanging emails with a friend, I think I’ve found a comparable package from the Yanks: Hughes, Melky, Horne, Alberto. Then you have Hughes greater than Lester, Melky greater than Crisp, Horne and Masterson on equal ground, and Lowrie greater than Alberto. I suppose at that point that it would be up to the Twins to decide which parts they value more. Just remember, though, Hughes’s minor league career is superior to even the biggest MLB stars.