Santana talks over, for now; Haren next?

Late word: Boston's four-player package
Prospect Profile: Jon Albaladejo

According to a report in The Daily News, the Yankees are moving on from Johan Santana for now and are, for some reason, turning their attention to Dan Haren. After days of negotiating with the Twins, the Yanks threw in the towel last night when Bill Smith wouldn’t, inexplicably, accept an offer of Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera and someone else for one year of Johan Santana.

Mark Feinsand, relying on an anonymous sources, notes that the Twins couldn’t pull the trigger. “I just don’t think they were ready to do a deal,” his source said.

But more alarming is the news that the Yanks could turn their attention to Dan Haren. Here’s what Feinsand had to say:

According to a second source, the Yankees now plan to turn their attention toward Oakland starter Dan Haren, who is currently being shopped. Although the righthander, 27, isn’t as proven as Santana, 28, he is more attractive in a financial sense, as he is set to make $4 million in 2008 and $5.5 million in 2009 with a 2010 option for $6.75 million.

Oakland GM Billy Beane is said to be looking for a package of four players in exchange for Haren, with Hughes and Cabrera once again the likely centerpieces if the Yankees are to be serious players.

While I was warming up to the idea of trading Hughes for Santana, I cannot, under any circumstances, imagine a scenario where Dan Haren will be better than Phil Hughes over the next six seasons. Just say no to this trade.

Haren made his Major League debut at 22, and he’s developed into a pretty good pitcher at home in a gigantic pitcher’s park. He put together a very solid season last year – 15-9, 3.07, 192:55 K:BB in 222.2 IP – and will give a team around 220 innings every season. Notably, this season was a bit an outlier for Haren. He lowered his ERA by over a run from 2006 and outperformed his 90th PECOTA percentile. Until he does it again, I’m more inclined to view Haren s a pitcher who will turn out an ERA around 4.20 and a VORP of about 30.

Phil Hughes is just a better pitcher. Five years younger than Haren, their PECOTA profiles are already quite similar, and Hughes is going to get better. Hughes’ Minor League numbers are far superior to Haren’s; his stuff is far superior to Haren’s. For the price that the Yanks would pay – Hughes, Melky and others – they can maintain control of a pitcher who may already be better than Haren and will definitely be better than Haren by the end of the decade.

It’s not even close. We don’t need to see this debacle happen as a knee-jerk to losing out on Johan Santana. No Hughes-for-Haren trade.

Late word: Boston's four-player package
Prospect Profile: Jon Albaladejo
  • MS

    Is there a chance that the Yanks are just getting involved to lure the Twins back in. Would the Twins get worried if they thought the deal for Hughes is going to be sent for Haren? I have no interest in Haren at this point. Unless we can get him without involving any of the big three (which I doubt).

  • Jersey

    If the thought of trading Hughes for the BEST PITCHER IN THE GAME caused so much internal angst, I can’t imagine they’d trade Hughes for Haren.

    So if you’re the Yankees, where’s your private trading ceiling with Haren? Kennedy? Which I doubt will get it done – someone else will (stupidly) provide more value, I think.

  • Jon

    Couldn’t agree more. Hughes alone is too much and Oakland will never accept that anyway. I might consider IPK and a B prospect, but that’s it. I hope Hank proves to be smarter than his recent quotes indicate.

  • Pfistyunc

    I agree. I think that letting Santana go to Boston is devastating but a reactionary trade or getting Haren would just make it worse. Hughes will be as good as Haren soon and this deal would make no sense. My only fear is that our jackass owner or incompetent GM will push a panic button.

  • Alex

    why is no one talking about bedard? he is younger than santana, cheaper, has a higher strikeout rate, while still being a lefty who pitched in a fairly tough park for left handed pitchers.

    kennedy, melky, and a b-level prospect should at least be of interest to the o’s who will need a pitcher back and are in the market for a center fielder. i know they would favor to trade him out of the division, but if the yanks offer the best package, they have to at least consider.

    • zack

      B/C he’s actually older, more injury prone, and on the Oriels, who not only play in the division, but are reported as asking for a 4 player package (aka greater than the Santana package)

      • Alex

        zack, that was a massively ignorant post.

        first, bedard is not older. he isn’t much younger (bedard was born a few days earlier), but bedard has roughly half of the major league pitches on his arm as santana does. a lot of this can be attributed to the fact that canadians develop a little slower because the can’t play year round in canada like many players from warmer climates.

        second, he is not more injury prone. he did have tommry john surgery, but who hasn’t, and historically, there have been few recurrences. last year he missed time with a strained oblique, hardly an injury of serious concern.

        third, its o-r-i-o-l-e-s.

        fourth, asking for 4 players does not mean that they are demanding more than twins, it just means they want one more player. hell, we can just go ahead and send them shelly, farnsworth, chase wright and enrique wilson if they just want 4 guys.

  • zack

    Yup, heres the problem with not trading for Hughes that we who supported the trade made clear. Just b/c the Yanks don’t land Santana doesn’t mean they still don’t need/think they need an “ace.” Problem is, Haren shouldn’t even cost Hughes straight up. Nor Bedard. But the Yanks, especially when the Sox trade that crap package for Santana and have the best rotation yet again, will have their hand forced. And they will get robbed. They should, under no circumstances, offer the same package for Haren that they did for Santana, but they most likely will and Billy Beane will laugh all the way to the bank…sigh

  • Nick-YF

    Ben, I completely agree about saying no to Haren. The interesting thing is he quite possibly will be more expensive because there will be more teams in on the bidding. His contract is appealing to more mid-level market teams, plus he doesn’t have a NTC. If ypu’re going to give up a lot, it might as well be for the best in the business. Haren is good. He’s not the best.

  • usty

    Hughes >>>>> Haren. No dice on that one. And I was fine with them trading him for Santana.

  • Donnie Baseball deserves to be in the Hall

    I agree iwth your post. NO WAY HAREN IS AS GOOD AS HUGHES.

    Only pitchers I would agree to trade Hughes for are the following:


    thats it, thats the three

    • Ron

      Bedard will be 29 before the season starts. Hughes will be 22 mid-way through the season. Why in the world would you ever trade Hughes for Bedrad? You would have to face Hughes 4-6 times/year for the next 10+ years. That my friend, is utter insanity.

  • zack

    Not only is the latest ESPN report ridiculously biased towards the Red Sox (shocker I know), but the Twins taking that package of Lester, Crisp, Lowrie, and Masterson, which was essentially offered BEFORE Hughes was included, really makes no sense. I understand they need a SS, but is that package really better than one with Hughes in it? Something just isn’t right. Can Smith really sell that package to the fans after sitting so long on the Hughes package, when reports said he thought Hughes was the best, and basically getting back an under-performing lefty, an expensive awful hitting CF, an unproven SS, and a guy they see not even as a closer but a SETUP man who is still at least a year away? Meanwhile, the Sox acquire the best pitcher in baseball and it essentially costs them their 5th starter. Masterson was the only player on that list that even had a spot on the team if he moves to the BP. Lowrie was blocked, Crisp they don’t want, Lester was behind Beckett, Dice-k, Schill, Felon, and Wake.


    Here is how the ESPN article starts:
    “While Hank Steinbrenner set deadlines and publicly lusted after Johan Santana,
    the Red Sox just bided their time and stayed in the game.

    And what do you know? As Monday night turned into Tuesday morning at the
    winter meetings, suddenly it was the Red Sox who loomed as the favorites to
    pull off a deal for the best pitcher in baseball. ”

    Wow, can you try to hide it a little? I sure don’t remember any tone like that when the Yanks were the front runners,

    • Ben K.

      In the end, who cares what ESPN is writing? Don’t get so worked up over perceived Red Sox bias. It’s not worth the coronary. :)

      • zack

        Its just never fun to wake up to that. What is far less fun to wake up to is thinking about a Sox rotation of Santana, Beckett, Dice-K, felon, and Schill…Ugh

    • Dimaggio5

      The latest leak sounds fishy – as if to get the Yanks back to the table. If it’s not – wow – Theo really is a GENIUS! :-) Santana, Beckett, Bucholtz, Dice-K – the Sux will own the AL East for the next few years. Between the Sux, Pats & Celtics – the sports gods are really smiling on Boston this year.

  • eric from morrisania

    Good GOD, no.

    I have been a big advocate of trading Hughes and Melky (but not with Kennedy, Horne, AJax or Tabata) for Santana, because he’s the best pitcher in the game by a wide margin.

    I would absolutely HATE dealing for Haren OR Bedard. Neither of them are remotely better than Hughes or Joba. Here’s what I would give up for either of the two of them:

    Kennedy plus two more prospects from our organization who are NOT Hughes, Joba, Cano, Melky, Horne, Sanchez, AJax, Brackman, Melancon, or Angelini. Something along the lines of Kennedy, Tabata, and J.B. Cox is the absolute richest i would go for Bedard, and that’s because he’s a lefty. For Haren, I don’t even think I’d do that… For Haren, it’s Kennedy OR Tabata, not both. And there’s no way that would be enough for them… they have no urgency here, he’s controlled for 3 more years.

    Considering that the A’s are asking for similar prospect value as what the Twins wanted for Santana, and that there would be more teams in on Haren driving up the price, we should just drop out of the Haren race before we even get into it. The only pitchers I’d truly consider are Bedard and Kazmir (and since they’re in division they won’t trade either of them to us for anything less than Hughes or Joba, so that’s a non-starter) or C.C. Sabathia and Dontrelle Willis if they ever came on the block, which again, we should consider only if we can do it for IPK+Tabata+prospect.

    I’m not holding my breath.

  • Rob

    What about revisiting this old topic:

    Cano + Melky + Horne

    They lose a little offense from their 1000 run machine but they don’t lose any of the top young pitching.

    People thought Soriano would be irreplaceable too. It took two years. In the meantime they give the position to AG or sign Loretta.

    • brxbmrs

      That’s nuts -you trade the only two + defensive players and the only two position players under 32 (23 & 25) – and replace them with whom – Gardner and Mark Loretta?

      Jackson and Tabata may never make the majors – and Tabata already is a corner guy – and Gardner has no power, an average arm and AAA stats that don’t even come close to what Melky did 3 years earlier than he did.

      Santana needs to go to the Red Sox – lets see how he does with 1/2 his starts at Fenway.

  • E-ROC

    All I’m saying is, “Betances, Brackman, Joba, Hughes, McAllister would look really nice in the future”. I pray they all pan out. Ok, enough about dreaming.

    No Haren, please, at least not for Hughes. The Yanks should think about lesser deals like Willis, Prior, or Sheets.

  • Mike N (Stamford, CT)

    The Yankees are going about this the absolute right way. The only way you can get a bargainer to move off their position is to walk away. You have to be willing to lose what you are trying to get, but you have to be able to walk away. I think we all believe the package the Yankees are offering is better than the one the Red Sox are offering. We will see if the offer is a) real and b) something the Twins would accept. If not, the Yankees will be back in this before too long.

    On Haren, you offer a package including Kennedy and another player – be it Melky, Jackson, Horne or someone. You do not add Hughes under any circumstances.

  • Tripp

    Is Haren even an Ace? I thought he was a #2 tops. Also, what’s the deal with Rich Harden…besides being injury prone?

  • Bo

    While I’d get behind a Hughes for Santana trade I don’t think haren is a legit ace/frontline starting pitcher. And everyone agrees that Hughes can be. Could be bomb, get hurt etc? sure. But you have to take the chance that he will live up to the billing.

    it also gives me pause when Beane puts a guy on the market. I’m sure Cashman feels the same way.

  • Bo

    I do not see them trading Cano for anyone. A #3 hitter at 2b who is 24 years old and a part of the core/farm system? Not going to happen.

  • Glen L

    Look at Mulder’s, Hudson, and Zito’s post-oakland careers .. whether just crappy or injured none of them are especially pretty

    with that said, i don’t think Beane is looking to deal Haren because he doesn’t like him .. he is just trying to get a huge haul and retool for ’10-’11 .. he’s done it before .. he’s a smart GM with incredible job security so he can do this kind of stuff

    Kennedy and whichever 3rd person we would give up for Santana for Hughes is my offer … definitely won’t get it done .. but i don’t want to give up melky and deal with not having a CF for 2-3 years just to get Haren … who is very good and a borderline #1 .. but not a Santana, Beckett, Sabathia type ace

  • Ben K.

    You know, based on stuff and numbers, I’m none too keen on giving up Kennedy for Haren either. Kenned, MiLB pitcher of the year, is no slouch, and he’s got some great stuff.

  • Mitchell’s Eleven

    just sounds like a reporter transferring names from one story to another. that doesn’t translate to Cash and Hank actually thinking that.

    i agree. Hughes may be better than Haren as early as this upcoming year. you don’t even think about this one.

  • Bo

    Take a look at kennedy’s numbers last year. Phenomenal. Those don’t happen by accident. The guy can really pitch. Is he Joba or Hughes? No. but he is no slouch. He may not have the stuff scouts drool over or the size either but the guy can pitch. His numbers back that up.

  • NPT

    If the Yanks lose out on Santana, they need to drop any delusions of solving “the ace problem” outside of the organization. Beyond Johan, there is a pretty large drop off in talent amongst available pitchers (this includes Haren), and the line between our own prospects and other potential aces outside of Yankeeland becomes blurred. I think we just need to settle with having no ace on paper and hope that someone within the organization will come through. Chances are pretty good that at least one of the big three will fulfill this role at some point. If it doesn’t happen next year and our playoff chances suffer as a result, so be it.

    Rather than turn to Haren, what we really need to focus on is eating up innings that Hughes, Joba, and Kennedy won’t be able to pitch due to innings limitations. This means shoring up the bullpen (re: Tyler Clippard trade) or finding a cheap innings eater starter to complement Pettitte, Wang, and Mussina.

  • Jen Hughes

    Trading Cano makes perfect sense for the Yankees. IF they trade Cano and upgrade the run production at first base, then the net result in the lineup in runs is a wash. Add Johan Santana to an already solid rotation, and you can move Chamberlain to the bullpen and still have a 6 man rotation if need be. You get to keep all of the young guns and match up favorably with Boston. Hitters are EASY to come by, pitchers are not.

    • Rob

      I like the way you think Jen.

  • Bo

    There are not many cheap, innings eating starters out there. When Carlos Silva goes for 12 million, you know thats the case

    • Jen Hughes

      And you’ll always have a losing team pal. Glad you are not the GM of the Yankees.

      • Ben K.

        Be nice. We’re all Yankee fans here.

  • Bo

    I’ll always choose the young hitter over the starting pitcher especially when that starting pitcher will cost 25 mill a yr and said hitter is under control for years.

  • Glen L

    Hmm my post didn’t show up .. probably my fault


    I love IPK as well .. but Haren is young, cheap, and under control .. he’s pitched ~220 innings the past three years and last year his park adjusted ERA+ was 137

    do we really think kennedy’s ceiling is higher than Haren? i don’t actually, and haren is already a proven MLB commodity

    its all for moot .. Beane wants Hughes AND kennedy .. over at mlbtraderumors they’re saying the dodgers are a more likely candidate and that’s just fine with me

    you know Omar’s dying for a seat at the table too .. of course he, pelfrey, humber, and mulvey will be dining at the kids’ table as per usual haha

    • Ben K.

      Kennedy is younger, cheaper and under control for longer. Plus, I’m just not sold on Haren. As I noted, he outperformed his 90th PECOTA percentile in 2007. That’s an outlier season until he does it again (and probably one more time after that). Kennedy, meanwhile, had a stellar rise through the Minors and has taken some quite a few honors. Haren’s not the ace the Yanks are looking for, and while Kennedy isn’t either, Haren’s just not worth the swap.

  • waswhining

    I keep seeing this mentality, clubs with nothing in their farm system, take the biggest stud player(s) and trade him or them to the talented farm system teams who empty out their best prospects for impact stars. Witness the budding Detroit/Marlins swap. I really think the Yankees have a shot at duplicating that 96-01 stretch if they can just stay on message and keep joba/phil/IPK. This isn’t basketball, the impact player is an illusion. As Jeter pointed out the Yankee 95-01 dynasty team never had a 50+ HR hitter.

  • nmc

    Tangentially related:

    OMG WTF is with JON LESTER? Since when did this guy become a blue-chip prospect that was so coveted? I thought his value went way down after his bout with cancer and his struggling in the bigs?

  • brxbmrs

    Hopefully its just a ruse by the Yanks to put pressure on the Twins (although I don’t want Santana at that cost, eventhough I understand why they would do it).

    The thing I really hope is that the FO isn’t dettermined to do a trade at all costs (unless they know something about Hughes that we don’t).

    Sometimes thats what happens, the desired deal falls through and these guys have put so much effort in determining who they could live without that they lose sight of the fact that the only reason you would have traded Hughes was for Santana.

    I like Haren, but I can’t see swapping a 22 year old guy who was pitching through\after an injury for him. Maybe the Yanks get Beane to take IPK instead or Horne\Tabata – that might be interesting – but its Beane we are talking about.

  • bkight

    After a phenomenal April/May last year Haren’s ERA went up for 20 straight starts after that.

    1st Half- 10-3 2.30 ERA 1.00 WHIP .205 BAA
    2nd Half- 5-6 4.50 ERA 1.50 WHIP .298 BAA

    He is not worth whatever Beane will ask for. Too many teams can compete for him and we are not desperate for #2/3 starters.

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  • brxbmrs


    You are acting like the Yanks didn’t want to find a run producer at 1st base the last few years – what you are missing is that they can’t get a guy at 1st who can drive in 97 RBI’s like Cano did AND land Santana.

    Anyone who wants to trade Cano isn’t a Yankee fan IMHO – he’s a plus defender, impact hitter at a non-offensive position and he’s 25.

    I also like the fact the he’s not afraid to swing the bat – especially the last few Octobers where we saw Abreu, Sui, Giambi try to walk only to realize the Umps weren’t going to give them the calls they get against the #4/5 starters from Tampa and the Rangers.

  • Jen Hughes


    You are acting like the Yanks didn’t want to find a run producer at 1st base the last few years – what you are missing is that they can’t get a guy at 1st who can drive in 97 RBI’s like Cano did AND land Santana.

    Anyone who wants to trade Cano isn’t a Yankee fan IMHO – he’s a plus defender, impact hitter at a non-offensive position and he’s 25.”

    Ok, and I contend anyone who WOULDN’T trade Cano is a moron. Dominant pitching wins games. Cano is a nice player who is cheap for another year or 2, but the fact is the Yankees can net out more runs without him, with santana, and with a better firstbaseman. That provides more wins in the regular season, and more postseason victories. Cano alone wouldn’t get the deal done, but Cano/ Melky / Horne or lesser prospect just might. When Cano becomes a free agent he’ll cost an arm and a leg. Let’s wake up and use our money on pitching – DOMINANT pitching for once.

    • Ben K.

      From where would the Yanks materialized a better hitting first baseman? The market isn’t exactly flooded with them. And despite the poor showing in the ALDS in 2007, the Yanks with their so-called less-than-dominant pitching were the best team in the Majors from July through the end of the year. Not too shabby.

      If you’re sacrificing offense for some hypothetical first round dominant ace, I think that’s misguided as well.

  • Rob

    Jen, come around here more often. The testosterone gets to people’s heads sometimes.

    brxbmrs –

    Cano may not be *afraid* to swing the bat well in October, but he doesn’t swing the bat well in October.

    In the playoffs: .245 .288 .449 (52 PA).

    Worse, that’s again all determined by the average. He needs power AND patience to be a star and he’s never showed both at the same time.

    • Ben K.

      Aggregating playoff lines doesn’t give anymore of a valid sample than one playoff series alone. It’s too disparate and too isolated to show us anything. Cano has shown us increased patience and power. He’s well on his way to stardom.

      But anyway, we’re completely off-topic, and we’re no longer going over any new ground with the Cano debate. It should stop I think. Forget it. Good debate. Don’t want to end it.

    • Rob

      Actually his patience improved and is power stayed the same (but dropping with his average). But I didn’t see the evolution of a hitter. Not by a long stretch. His playoff numbers may not show much, but they do suggest he’s not a great hitter and esp. not against better pitching. If he never puts the patience and power together he’ll simply remain good but will never become great.

      And please don’t get into the habit of cutting off debate. It’s bad precedent and biased too. Things will die down naturally.

      • Ben K.

        Good point re: your last paragraph.

        As for the evolution of Cano, check out his month-by-month and pre-/post-ASB splits from last year. For now, I’d considered that an evolution of a hitter. We’ll have to see if he keeps that up.

      • Rob

        Excellent, I’m really glad we see eye to eye on that last paragraph. That means a lot to me. I’ve seen a lot of forums ruined because the moderators had a problem with certain points of view. So long as the speech is respectful, it can remain healthy and free. Unfortunately, the former is too often violated on the internet.

        But, more importantly, you guys have done a really great job here. I wouldn’t want to see that change!

        • Rob

          Whoops meant for that reply to go to the one above.

          As for Cano’s splits, he showed the same the previous year. I think he’s good. But I think it’s a stretch to call him an eventual MVP candidate. I just don’t think he’s good enough as a hitter. Indeed, in all of those months, everything bounces around with his average. Only in one (Aug) did he put power and patience together.

  • Rob

    Come on, Ben. Santana isn’t a hypothetical ace. He IS an ace. They could do it for Cano + Melky + Horne. But I won’t be super sad if they don’t.

    Meanwhile, there have been 1Bmen around that could have helped. But they didn’t even try last year. Minky was better than we all expected, and he still sucked.

    • Ben K.

      I’m not saying Santana isn’t an ace. I’m just questioning whether or not having an ace will really get the Yanks over that first round playoff hump. Santana, to use a small sample size, is 1-4 with a 3.97 ERA in the playoffs. That’s hardly dominant. I just don’t think we should be basing arguments for or against trades on what a player may or may not do in October.

      Convince me that Santana is more valuable over 162 games than a position player and I’ll listen. But October is a different beast. The Yanks won four World Series in five years (and were two outs away from another victory) without that utterly dominant ace. They can get there again without giving up good players for a pitcher that will shortly be overpaid.

    • Rob

      I guess that’s the difference. I think Cano is good but not great and so worth giving up, more so than Hughes. They’re not hurting for offense, that’s for sure. And offense is much easier to buy and evaluate, as Jen said earlier.

      Santana has been dominant in Yankee Stadium (in a limited sample but the park is built for lefties). And I think he’d continue that – over 162 games and into October.

  • Jen Hughes

    So Ben, you wouldn’t give up your 5th best hitter in Cano for the BEST pitcher in MLB? You think over 162 games Cano is more valuable than the best pitcher in MLB? I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you, I’ll give you a deal too!

    • Ben K.

      Your obvious sarcasm aside, let’s look at some stats instead. Those usually help prove a point.

      Santana’s 2007 VORP: 57.7
      Cano’s 2007 VORP: 40.5

      So basically, Santana’s worth about 1.7 more wins than Cano was last season. But I’m still waiting to hear how you would materialize a “better” first baseman and who would replace Cano. Because these trade isn’t a zero-sum trade where Cano and Santana swap places in their respective lineups, you have to factor in who else will move around. Cano + whoever else the Twins want will end up being a more valuable package than just Santana. When you consider the money the Yanks have to give Santana too, it becomes even more lopsided.

      As for Cano, I’d say he’s the 4th best hitter on the team and possibly third behind A-Rod, Derek and maybe Jorge. He’s not worse than Matsui or Damon and while not as patient as Abreu, I’d take Cano’s bat at second over Abreu’s in right.

    • Rob

      I would go so far as to place Robi behind Matsui and Abreu – strictly as hitters and who I’d want up in a big spot.

      That VORP comparison proves the point though Ben. That was a down year for Santana, and he still easily adds more value, pitching every five days, than Robi does playing every day. You don’t even have to upgrade 1B and you’re still improving the club.

      • Ben K.

        The VORP comparison proves that, one for one, Santana adds more value than Cano right now. But the Yanks would never have been able to convince the Twins to take Cano straight up. It would have been Cano + Melky + someone else. That would all add up to a VORP topping Santana’s. I don’t think that’s the sign of a good trade.

      • Rob

        It’s a good point Ben. If the Yanks didn’t have a CF coming in (Gardner) to give the same production as Melky, I’d agree. After that, it’s hard to argue VORP for guys like Horne and Marquez.

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