Thoughts on Melky, Phil and Johan

This does not make me happy
Yanks may set a Tuesday deadline

Three stories of note appearing online or in Sunday’s papers:

  • Kat O’Brien at Newsday writes that the Yankees are feelin’ pretty good about their chances of landing Johan Santana. The deal, she says, would include Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera and a third, lesser prospect.
  • Tyler Kepner of The Times notes that the Yanks and Twins are stuck on that third prospect. The Yanks are not willing to part with Dellin Betances, Alan Horne, Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy or José Tabata, and it seems that the Twins are not so high on Melky Cabrera.
  • Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated notes that the Twins have asked specifically for Alan Horne or Austin Jackson. The Yanks will not budget on that issue, and it may become the deal-breaker. Boston does not seem willing to include Clay Buccholz or Jacoby Ellsbury so the Twins will have to decide what they want to do.

Earlier on Saturday, when I was talking about this with my dad, he raised an interesting point. For all of the conversations we’ve been having about this trade, Melky Cabrera has always seemed like a given. But why?

If the Yankees are willing to give up all of Phil Hughes’ pre-free agency years for just one year of Johan Santana — and, really, they’re only getting one year of the lefty from the Twins — why should they then give up Cabrera and another player? We here might not be so high on Melky; the Twins aren’t that high on Melky, it seems. But for now, while Austin Jackson develops, he has a clear role on the team.

With Melky in the trade, the Yankees are simply giving up too much. They shouldn’t need Melky in this deal to complete, and if the Yanks realize that they’re getting one year of Santana and the distinct privilege of a negotiating window in order to pay the lefty too much, they would be wise to pull Melky out of the deal.

Update by Ben: Adam, in this comment, points us to a story by La Velle E. Neal III in Sunday’s Star-Tribune. The Twins, Neal writes, are prefectly willing to hang out to Santana if the price isn’t right. Fine. Keep him. We’ll keep Phil Hughes and Melky. I like that idea better than Santana in pinstripes right now.

This does not make me happy
Yanks may set a Tuesday deadline
  • BillyBalla

    I have to join this debate! I’m completely behind Rob and Paul and have to contest with Scout and Casey on the whole Cano or Hughes issue! First this topic is completely moot as the Yankees are not offering CANO in any deal as of yet. The issue is who would you rather package, gun to your head, CANO or HUGHES? My answer is CANO! I will explain why with my following points;

    1- Cano is 25 and a positional player. Hughes is 21 and a PITCHER. The pitcher always wins over the positional player no matter how many pitching prospects you have. Reasons are simple, pitching wins, hands down. You can never have enough pitching.

    2- Scout brings up the point that you don’t want to trade Cano and Melky (2 young positional players) as it will deplete the Yankees of youth and spark in the lineup. My answer to that is, Melky will be replaced by a Jackson, or Gardner. One of the 2 will be ready sometime in the season. You may now ask, how do I know? Well Gardner for one was hitting above avg, stealing bases, and playing damm good defense in triple A last year. Than he tore it up in the Arizona fall league. Jackson had a great season in single and double A. He than tore it up in the Hawaian league. You don’t want to trade these guys, right? Than your quick to say they won’t be ready! One will be ready! At the very least they will play better defense than Damon. To replace Cano’s youthfulness, maybe we plug a gold glove caliber fielder in Alberto Gonzalez in that spot. Your losing offense! But is that are real problem? We are definitely gaining defense there! And that is a problem!

    3- Hughes is 21, he was rated the number one prospect in baseball for a reason. He is a big kid that is still developing. He will only get bigger and better. His potential, I’m sorry to say can be higher than Cano’s potential. Cano’s defense can easily be replaced with a Gonzalez. Cano’s offense can be replaced as well as hitters are easier to replace than pitchers!

    4- I hope the Yankees do not trade either, but to say Cano is as valuable as Hughes is ridiculous as pitchers with his talent come along every 10 years. We do not know or cannot pretend to know if Hughes will become the ace he is projected to be. But if he does on another team his value eclipses Cano’s. That is baseball 101 folks! Stop thinking with your heart and think with your head on this issue. Hughes should be an untouchable as Bucholz is to the Red Sox. Bucholz isn’t as highly regarded as Hughes is. Cano should be untouchable as well but if you had to trade one, Cano can be replaced alot easier than a Hughes. If you have a Cano jersey and he is your favorite Yankee and you don’t want him traded, well fine! But the issue here is, who has more value? The possible 21 year old future ace? Or the 25 year old 2nd baseman that may wind up in LF that can definitely hit? my answer once again people is the pitcher! Hands down, no contest, game over!

    5- Finally I need to establish that I do not want to trade Cano but he is the smarter trade of the 2. If you begin your argument by telling me Cano is already proven and Hughes is still just potential, my answer to you is that Cano is already a star, yes, but if Hughes becomes a true stopper who guarantees you a win every 5 days Who is more valuable to there team? The every day player or the stop gap pitcher? Hughes has that potential to be that player, and you do not trade that away. When Santana is 35 Hughes will only be 27, in his prime, can you imagine! Kennedy is a nice pitcher with 4 solid pitches. He hits 91-93 on the gun. He is on your small side, like a Bucholz. Bucholz is also a smallish pitcher who hits 94 on the radar with 1 excellent pitch and 3 solid pitches. A notch above Kennedy. Hughes is a big pitcher, he hits anywhere from 92-96. He has 2 excellent pitches and 2 solid above avg pitches. He is a few notches above both of them now and has the potential to be even more than that. Don’t make this trade and instead turn to Baltimore fr Bedard or just wait out the Twinkies!

    • zack

      Um, can we start this thread off NOT rehashing a dead horse?

    • Ben K.

      Yeah, let’s try to stay on topic here. We’re talking about Melky right now. Or at least I am in this post. The Robinson Cano talk should wait for another day.

    • steve (different one)

      The pitcher always wins over the positional player no matter how many pitching prospects you have.

      no it doesn’t.

      there goes your entire premise.

      absolutes are stupid.

    • Chofo

      I woud trade Cano before Hughes too, but you hace to keep in mind that Cano is allready a star, something Hughes is not yet. I would do Cano first because a rotation of Santana, Wang, Joba, Hughes and IPK could be great for years to come. But we have to agree that the system lacks a bat like Cano´s right now, something you can´t say about pitching. Another good point is with Hughes, you are dealing form strenth and trading one pitcher for another, and in 3 years Cano would be the one peaking, while Jeter, Arod and Posada could look old by then.

  • brockdc

    Ben, I wholeheartedly agree with you re: The Melky inclusion. In fact, earlier today, I posted on WasWatching that Melky, while being a pretty average player in almost every respect, is actually far more valuable to the Yankees in 2008 than he ever would be to the Twins. As far as this trade goes, Phil Hughes is PLENTY.

  • zack

    Phil Hughes is plenty, but apparently, not to the Twins. Heck, Hughes and Melky is more than plenty, but again, not to the Twins. I really really want Santana but this is starting to piss me off. Boston says they will throw in Ellsbury if its Santana plus another player (who, Nathan? yeah right!) But the problem always returns to the Yankees lack of leverage as they NEED Johan more than the Sox do and they both know it

  • brockdc

    Sox’ offer is laughable. What would be the Yankee equivalent? A package of Melky, Gonzalez, IPK, and Veras?

    I’m only half-kidding.

  • Adam

    Check out this story:

    Sounds good to me.

    • Ben K.

      That is a fantastic story.

    • The Scout

      If the story is correct, then I believe the Yankees would be wise to heed the wisdom of Nancy Reagan: “Just say ‘no.'”

      Of course, that’s been my position all along.

      My big fear is that Hank Steinbrenner is looking to make his mark. I very much hope I’m wrong about that.

    • Chofo

      This proves that Boston´s offer was used to get Hughes from the Yankees. If they are not taking Hughes because of the 3rd player on the deal, they were never seriuos of taking Lester with 3 other guys.

  • BillyBalla

    So now we are talking about not including melky! This is insane. I love the Melk-man but regardless of what rumors leaked that the twins aren’t high on him anymore, it sounds like posturing to get more prospects from the Yankees. So now all of a sudden the Twins aren’t high on Melky, but he was one of the top 3 players they initially asked about and wanted included in the trade. By the way the other 2 players initialy discussed were Hughes and Cano. Lets please not start a forum on Melky, and if we should pull him back! We all know he is gonna be part of the deal and it’s posturing by the Twins to get more prospects. This forum should be for educated fans that know better and don’t bye into the bull. So keep it real and lets talk about who we are willing to add in this trade along with Melky. Lets get some productive feedback and not change the subject from Cano and Hughes, stating it’s rehashing a dead horse (?)” when it isn’t at thispoint and than following it up with this absurd feeling that “I am now thinking we should consider keeping Melky”, lol. Absurd!

    • Ben K.

      All I’m saying is that it’s a little ridiculous to trade Phil Hughes AND Melky Cabrera AND one other prospect for one year of Johan Santana. We’re not changing our position on anything. We weren’t initially talking about Cano in this thread and someone else in the other one turned it into a discussion on him. We’re talking about concrete proposals on the table and that’s it.

      I’d also appreciate it if you would try to refrain from name-calling and referring to folks here as uneducated. It’s uncalled for and unnecessary. We’ve all been very good at keeping the discourse civil. Let’s not stop that practice now.

    • steve (different one)

      only uneducated fans “bye” into the bull.

  • Adam

    I think it boils down to the fact that the Twins essentially need a center fielder. And if they really aren’t going to trade Santana for anything less than they deem acceptable (e.g. Hughes AND Kennedy AND Melky) then there is really no point in the Yankees continuing in these talks. The Twins can hang on to Santana and have a formidable 1-2 with Liriano and I’ll enjoy watching #65 pitch every fifth day.

  • Tyler

    If the Yankees are willing to give up all of Phil Hughes’ pre-free agency years for just one year of Johan Santana — and, really, they’re only getting one year of the lefty from the Twins.

    I think you’re forgetting the fact that Santana would use his no-trade clause unless he gets a contract extension for 5+ years at 20m+ per year. The Yankees (and my red sox) are offering up three or four young guys for the right to pay Johan Santana more than any pitcher has ever made every year until at least 2013.

  • BillyBalla

    I’m sorry if you feel I was insulting you Ben. There was no intended name calling amongst loyal Yankee fans . I wasn’t referring to you as being uneducated and I hope your skin is thicker than that because this here is Yankee baseball we are talking about. And PLEASE do not take insult from this, but the YANKEES are not going to trade away top prospects for Santana without having a window to resign him to a long term contract. That statement, while not uneducated is in fact incorrect.

    • Ben K.

      Of course they won’t. So basically, what the Yanks are doing then is potentially trading Hughes, Cabrera and someone else for one year of Santana and the right to talk to him about a contract extension for a few days. I see what you’re saying now, and I wasn’t insulted. No worries. But int he end, I’m still not on board with that trade.

      While highly against MLB regulations, the Yanks should make the trade, talk to Santana and then not sign him to a deal. Thus, the trade would be negated, but during the conversation, the Yanks can say, “Pitch well this year and we’ll reward you handsomely next season.” They keep their prospects and get Santana when he’s a free agent. It’s illegal. It would never happen. But it’s fun to think about it.

  • BillyBalla

    Well if it keeps Hughes, Tabata, and Jackson on the team it’s good for me. I for one am willing to lose out to the Sawx in order to keep these players and during the season if we have a shot at the wild card, bring in a top pitcher that is made available at the deadline for lesser prospects. I for one and willing to wait out the Twinkies, the A’s, and the Orioles. I am willing to part with Kennedy, Melky, and a Horne to get Santana and no more than that as I am already reluctant to give up Horne as the 3rd player. I am willing to also trade Cano and a lesser prospect for Santana if that saves Hughes and add on guys like Tabata, Jackson, Betances, and Melancon. Lets not fold on there bluff Hank, We are the Yankees, act like one and let Cashman decide on when it’s time to go all in!

  • MS

    I agree with BillyBalla in keeping Hughes out and I’ll take it a step further. Cano, Melky, Kennedy, Horne, and maybe one more prospect for Santana and Nathan. That solves our starting pitching problems and helps with a set up man. We plug gonzalez in at 2nd (good fielder) and either Gardner or Jackson in part time for Damon in center. Yes, we lose a little hitiing, but we gain a lot of pitching possibly get better in the field. The only thingI wonder is if the Twins would want more.

    • PK

      What is with all the people ready to get rid of Cano? Do you people realize that what the Yankees have is pitching depth, not positional depth? If we lose Hughes, we are dealing from a position of strength. We have a ton more power arms to back him up. If we lose Cano, we put in.. who, exactly?

      Also, positional prospects are much more of a sure thing than pitchers. There is a reason people say TINSTAAPP. They don’t say that for positional players. Young, cheap, all-star positional players don’t grow on trees.

      At some point, you have to ask yourself: who would you rather lose? Pettitte or Jeter? You can survive the loss of a pitcher who plays once every five days. You can’t survive the hit to your lineup unless you spend a ton of money and get another veteran on a team (if they are even available).

      Oh, and another thing about Joe Nathan: We just signed Mo to a 3 year deal. By the time he is done, and we are prepared to put Nathan into the closer role, he will also be 37. Do we really want a 37 year old closer?

      And to those of you who say “put him into the setup role”: I have two names for you: Eric Gagne and Kyle Farnsworth. Closers don’t like to setup for other closers and it is a risk switching their role.

      There is absolutely NO reason to trade our entire farm (which has taken us 3 years to build) and get Nathan, only to wonder how he will do in a setup role.

  • Mr.Yankee

    I say dont trade Hughes, at all puruse the O’s Beddard or wait til next years free agent class. Where if Santana doesn’t sign an extended offer he and Sabathia Beddard and about 10 other A-class pitchers become free agents.

    If Santana wants to become a Yankee,”And thus play for the best Yankee team possibily” (One that has Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain)
    he’ll refuse any trade to the Sox or any other team and wait til free agency. This way the Yankees can take off Hughes off the bargaining table

    There is something to be said about comradary and “The Big Three” as they’re refered to as of now of Kennedy, Hughes and Joba even though Joba is a bit of a lone wolf renegade (All came up together!)
    Ask Jeter, Posada, Pettite and Mariano!

    I’d only trade Cano with Cabrera and Clipard and a few others minor league B+ type pitchers and or Austin Jackson or Tabata with maybee Wang maybee and try to entice Minnesota by eating the majority of contract! … If this isn’t good enough than “F” them

    • PK

      People, stop treating our positional prospects as if they are spare change. I’m down with all the “pitching wins championship” stuff, but you do need someone stepping up to bat once in a while. As good as the trifecta might be, I don’t think they’ll be spotting ERAs of 0.00.

      With 32 year old CFs like Torii Hunter getting as much as they are, we can’t afford to trade all of our positional prospects away and hope to sign “gritty” FAs.

      To the poster above, look at your own example. Out of the dynasty, look at who the home-grown players were: Jeter, Posada, Bernie. The only starter we had that was home grown was Pettitte. Now I’m not saying we should not care about our young pitchers, but please.. give our positional players some respect. Don’t propose trades like: “I’ll give you Cano, Melky, Jackson, Tabata, Cervelli, Angelini and anyone else not a pitcher for Santana. We’re going to need some of those players to actually field a team.

  • Travis G.

    oh, let them get stuck on that 3rd prospect so the deal falls through. please, please, please…

  • The Scout

    The thread started with Melky, to whom I now return, repeating for what seems like the 87th time that I am not in favor of the deal if it includes Hughes. That said, I do not see the loss of Melky as nearly as serious. I am a Melky admirier in many ways, but I have never seen him as the long-term CF. There is good talent behind him in the organization, and the Yankees may well replace him with an expensive FA (yesterday’s discussion). Melky is not the young player of rare potential that Hughes is. So, as the Yankees have already made clear to the Twins, he isn’t the deal-breaker. Hughes should have been, but it appears that I (and apparently Cashman) have lost that argument. Now I keep my fingers crossed that the Twins continue to demand so much that even Hank S. can’t swallow them. And I hope that Andy Pettite relents and comes back (and, yes, I know all the signs point the other way).

  • Rob

    I’m down with MS:

    Cano + Melky + Kennedy + Horne = Santana + Nathan

    It’s a fantasy though.

  • tony from the bronx

    You are trading for 1yr of Santanna.You will,in all probabilty,get a window to negotiate an extension.The extension would begin in 2009.IMO we should not trade Hughes.Just last year he was considered the most important person in the orginization.Now he is trade bait?Not even one for one?How did he fall so much?If the Yanks relent we will come to regert this trade.Why cant the Yanks hold firm like boston?Are we always the desprate team?Posada(4yrs),A-Rod(over 300mil)Mariano(3 at 15)Damon(4yrs)Give Bstn credit.Pedro(3yrs)Damon(3yrs)Lowell(3yrs)No Elsbury,no Bucholz.Sometimes you have to be willing to let somebody walk to get that player.when you go against your original breaking point,you will always regert the move in the future.The Yanks should not include Hughes.Let the Twins move Santanna someplace else.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    The Yankees will not sign Santana to a one-year contract. They will only pull the trigger if an extension is included. STOP TALKING ABOUT SANTANA LIKE A ONE YEAR DEAL. That throws the whole conversation off…and makes no sense.


    We need Robbie.

    • kanst

      It is a one year deal with a small negotiation window. The Yankees get a window to signn Santana to a market value deal starting in ’09. I they dont make the trade and Santana stays a twin the Yankees get to sign him to a market value contract after ’08. You are assuming if the Yanekes dont get him someone else will but that is far from a given fact.

  • kingshaffy

    Just tell them to beat it already. Sick of the Twins. They are being pigs. Santana isn’t going to Boston, they are just trying to extort a ridiculous package from the Yanks. At this point, just walk away.

  • Steve

    If I’m Brian Cashman, I have Billy Beane’s number on speed dial. Santana’s too expensive already, let them keep him if they insist on another A prospect. If the Bosox wouldn’t give up Ellsbury and Bucholtz for the best pitcher in Baseball, they certainly won’t give them up for a very good (but not yet great) Haren.

    They won’t BTW, they decided to put the process into overdrive once they found out Haren was on the block. They know that if one of these teams land Haren, their whole bargaining strategy collapses. The Twins felt burned by the way the Hunter situation played out, and ALL of the packages being discussed are almost certain to be more than they will get out of draft picks, and they get the players now instead of having to wait years for them to develop.

    • The Scout

      What do you think the Yankees will have to give up for Haren, a player locked up for another three years? Beane now knows Hughes is not untouchable. Do you really think he’ll settle for IPK?

  • Mikek NYY

    If they want Jackson or Horne. Then fine. let them pick between those two and Melky and forget about that third prospect or make that third prospect something like ALberto Gonzalez.

  • Rob

    “We need Robbie.”

    That’s the problem. We don’t.

  • Mikek NYY

    What do you think the Yankees will have to give up for Haren, a player locked up for another three years? Beane now knows Hughes is not untouchable. Do you really think he’ll settle for IPK?

    IPK and an Austin jackson maybe.

    • The Scout

      If you are Beane, why make that deal NOW? He has no need to move Haren right away. That deal weakens the As over the next 2-3 years. Jackson has a huge upside, but he’s never played above A ball.

  • E-ROC

    It seems like the Twins are really high on Ellsbury than Cabrera because of his Ellsbury’s ceiling. The Yanks are reluctant part with a high ceiling third prospect. I wonder who the back up plan is if the Santana deal hits a snag. Hopefully, it isn’t Haren and I’m not a big fan of Bedard.

    • Mikek NYY

      so what should plan B be?

      • E-ROC

        There aren’t many big game pitchers available. I would say Peavy, but he hasn’t won a big game yet. Neither has Sabathia, Bedard, or Haren.

  • Mikek NYY

    How can you give up Cano? Hughes is the #1 pitching prospect in baseball (techincally not a rookie anymore) and a very very rare talent. He showed flashes of brilliance and I`m against giving him up for Santana. However, Cano is already the best second baseman in baseball. His defense is good enough that he could play shortstop. He hits like a first baseman. EVery eyar his power numbers have risen. He chased the BA title in 2006. He`s a proven star player, the best at his position, who’s dirt cheap for a few more years. How many players can you say that about? MAYBE Miguel Cabrera and he`s not the best at his position or as cheap as Cano either.

    • Rob

      “However, Cano is already the best second baseman in baseball.”

      See Utley, Chase.

      “His defense is good enough that he could play shortstop.”

      Um, no.

      “He hits like a first baseman.”

      On the Yankees, yes. Otherwise, no.

      • Mikek NYY

        Okay, I`ll give you Utley. THen best in the AL.

        Have you seen his range? You don’t think he could do better than Jeter.

        He hits better thasn the average first baseman. Easily.

      • steve (different one)

        the AL average at 1B was .267/.347/.443 last year.

        Robbie hit .306/.353/.488

        • Rob

          That’s misleading Steve. The AL is very weak at 1b because they choose defense there and put the bats at DH (Giambi, Hafner, Papi, Thome, etc.). You have to look across baseball for a more informative average, and even the the DH screws things up.

      • Rob

        I could play SS better than Jeter. That’s not saying much.

        Robi’s .841 OPS would have tied him with Konerko at 13th of 19 full-time 1B, just behind Garko and Youkilis. At best, he hits like an average 1B.

        Look, I love Robi but I just don’t think he’s going to improve much. He is what he is and that’s highly dependent on his average (or BABIP).

        • steve (different one)

          yes, he “is what he is”. a plus fielding 2Bman with “only” an .840 OPS.

          in other words, the best 2Bman in the AL.

          and why can’t he improve? we don’t think he could hit some more HRs? i’m pretty sure that he can.

          as for his dependence on his BA, he DOUBLED his isoD from 2006 to 2007. no, he’s never going to walk 80 times in a year, but if he walks 50 times a year, he’ll be an all-star for the next 6-8 years.

          this is a classic case of focusing exclusively on what a player CAN’T do instead of focusing on what a player CAN do.

          Cano is VERY VERY good. and the Yankees know that. which is why he is off-limits.

        • Rob

          Yes, his patience improved but his power took a HUGE hit. If he puts both power and some patience together he’ll be ridiculous. But I think that’s far from certain now. He’s never done it at any level. His performance has always been driven by his average.

          • steve (different one)

            it didn’t take a huge hit at all, and i am not sure where you are getting that from.

            batting average is a component of SLG%.

            his isoP was EXACTLY the same.

          • Rob

            That’s a good point. But, it proves exactly my point. His numbers are driven by his average. And that’s driven by chance:

            2006: .359 BABIP
            2007: .329 BABIP

            He’s just not improving as a hitter. You’d think if his patience was improving his power would get BETTER. It didn’t. Ergo, he’s not a great hitter and he doesn’t have a good approach at the plate.

            I love Robi. But I wouldn’t be surprised to look up in four years and see he’s exactly the same player. After this past year, I feel the same way about Melky too. They’re fine for home grown talent. But you should sell high while you can.

            • steve (different one)

              right, and in 1700+ plate appearances, he has shown he can hit for a high average.

              this isn’t the same situation as posada. Cano is a legitimate .300+ hitter.

              if he can walk 50 times a year, you can basically pencil him in for .300/.350/.500 each year with strong defense at a premium up-the-middle position.

              that is the makings of a Hall of Famer. seriously.

              here are Cano’s 10 most comparable hitters through age 24:

              Joe Mauer (960)
              Tony Lazzeri (959) *
              Shanty Hogan (943)
              Jason Kendall (931)
              Yogi Berra (931) *
              Bill Dickey (930) *
              Tony Cuccinello (929)
              Nomar Garciaparra (927)
              Rod Carew (926) *
              Mickey Cochrane (924) *

              5 Hall of Famers plus Nomar and Joe Mauer.

              and you guys want to TRADE him?

  • Jeff

    I don’t know how you look at it as a one year situation just because he has one year left on his contract… any team knows that they are dealing to try to lock up the best pitcher in baseball for 5+ years and that is why the bidding isn’t as simple as one good prospect.
    Do you think any team would go through with the deal if they couldn’t work out an extension?
    Think this post was just to give us something to do while we wait to hear that Hughes Melky and Gonzales are going to Minnisota. That deal I’d be fine with.
    I know its a dead horse as this entire tade has been been dangling in the wind for a wile now but those of you who have been going on about Cano are just off their heads. For one the Twins who just shipped out Garza are not going to lose Santana without bringing some good pitching back so you’re either talking about Hughes + Cano or IPK + Cano both trades I wouldn’t even make no matter how much I like Santana.
    Hopefully this will get done today and maybe Ben can open up a blog titled: “Bad moves by Cash and the Tampa Mafia”. Seeing most of you feel this is a bad deal.

  • Rob

    Great profile of Hank in today’s Daily News by Bill Madden:

    “Steinbrenner assigned then-GM Clyde King to serve as Hank’s mentor and, later, when Woody Woodward succeeded King in The Boss’ ever-revolving GM seat in those days, he became a tutor. As one who spent a lot of road time in the company of King, Woodward, managers Billy Martin and Lou Piniella and Hank during the two-year period Hank served his apprenticeship before retreating to The Boss’ horse farm, I came to see how the relationships between the son and the father’s minions were mutually therapeutic.

    In Hank, they found an understanding and sympathetic sounding board for the verbal abuses inflicted upon them by his dad while, through them, he was able to absorb a wealth of baseball knowledge as well as being accorded a firsthand view of the inner workings of the very-manic Yankee kingdom.

    “I had a lot of good teachers whether they know it or not,” Hank says now. “All those dinners on the road with Clyde and Woody and Lou – I learned a lot.”

    “What was the most important thing you learned?” I asked him.

    “The mistake of trading young pitching,” he answered quickly. “It killed me seeing all those young pitchers we traded back then – (Scott) McGregor, (Jose) Rijo, (Doug) Drabek – who went on to have great careers because we just didn’t have the patience. If there’s one thing that’s going to be different between me and my dad it’s patience.”

    “Maybe,” I said, “but it sounds like you’re about to do the same thing – trading young pitchers – for (Johan) Santana.”

    “There’s a big difference,” Hank countered. “Santana’s only 28 and just coming into his prime. I remember consoling Woody when my dad insisted we trade Drabek for (Rick) Rhoden. Rhoden was 32 or 33, but back then that’s the way we did things.”

  • LBA Prequel

    Save Hughes! Save Melky! Save “Prospect X,” for the love of God!

    If the Yanks make this deal, they’ve been hornswaggled by the Twins FO, and laughably so. If the Twins want Lester and Crisp, feel free, let them have ’em.

    Trading Hughes alone makes me upset, but if we dump Melky and another prospect, it may ruin not only my winter, but hell, my March to October of 2008 as well. :(

  • Travis G.

    dont know if ya saw this:

    the Twins are demanding Kennedy (!!!) be that 3rd guy in the deal. Gotta be a dealbreaker, right? lord, i hope so.

  • BillyBalla

    “have you seen Cano’s range”

    People that is one of his knocks, that is why it has been mentioned prior to A-ROD-iculous returning that he move to 3rd. He has quick reflexes but his range is avg at best. His arm is excellent. Now 3rd is tied up for 10 years. He lacks top notch range but he plays an adequate 2nd base none nonetheless. Is he gonna be our everyday 2nd baseman for the next 8 years? I wouldn’t mind that a bit! Him along with A-Rod at third and I guess we would just have to leave Jeter at SS at the ripe age of 38. And if Jeter is not getting it done at SS we can move him to first. Wait, that is where Posada or one of these big sluggers that do not have a position may wind up. Well than we can move Jete’s to 2nd and put Cano in LF. Wait, well I feel we can replace his offensive numbers in left! Can we replace Hughes numbers in 7 years when he is 28? I don’t know. That is why Cano was brought up to replace Hughes. We all know Cano’s name is off the table right now anyhow so this is going in circles, but it was pure speculation in an attempt to show the difference between trading 1 over the other.

    A pitcher like Hughes comes along once every 15-20 years in the Yankee organization. A positional player can be replaced. Cano is a star right now at the age of 25. Hughes at the age of 21 projects and has the ability to be an ace. A guy that comes in every 5 days and stops the opponent from winning. Who is worth more in the longrun? The pitcher of course. If I traded Cano, I would not put anyone else in the deal other than Melky too get it done. Hughes is too valuable a commodity to trade. We haven’t seen him over an entire season just as we haven’t seen Joba or IPK. Hughes is built like a bull dog and his mechanics are smooth and without allot of unnecessary strain placed on his arm. It would be foolish to trade him and I along with Steve and Paul are just pointing out that he should be untouchable along with Joba, Cano, and Bucholz!

    • steve (different one)

      He has quick reflexes but his range is avg at best.

      you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

  • Travis

    It’s been interesting chatting the last 24 hours on a Minnesota blog. The fans are knowledgeable, top-notch, and frustrated. They have Johan Santana, the best pitcher in the game, and an owner who is worth more than $3 billion and won’t offer a contract that will keep him with the team.

    Now, because Santana will command such a large deal, the demand for him among MLB teams is weak, and they aren’t going to get nearly the return they had hoped for. These Twins’ fans know their baseball, and some of them were originally led to believe – by media out there, whatever – that the Yankees would give up Hughes, Cano, Tabata, and Horne to land Santana. The demand for Santana, given his contract demands, just isn’t what they expected. Bottom line: Fans of both sides are duly frustrated.

  • BillyBalla

    Now they want Hughes, Melky and IPK? I hope the Yankees don’t turn around and say, okay we will give you Horne or Jackson instead of IPK, which is what the Twins wanted all along. Just say no Hank, we are behind you. We are willing to lose out on Santana to the Sox in order to keep our young prospects. Yankee baseball will once again be exciting. Watching these young kids and adding some vets along the way with the superstar lineup we already have. Leave it alone and back out for the love of everything good and decent in the world, back out!

  • LiveFromNewYork

    The Twins have backed off the Kennedy demand (and smartly so).

    The Yankees have made it clear they will not take Santana without the extension.

    If I were the Twins’ fans with the stinginess of the owner and the GM just willing to deal Santana away, I’d be frustrated too.

  • Mikek NYY

    If that`s what the Twins are asking for just hang up.

  • Travis

    I couldn’t agree more with BillyBalla! Most Yankees’ fans I know will be OK with Santana going to the Red Sox if it means the Yankees maintain their renewed emphasis on the farm system and developing homegrown stars!

  • The Scout

    I think the Yankees have finally drawn their line in the sand at Hughes, Melky, and a lesser prospect. This is a smart move (although the smarter one would have been to keep Hughes out of the mix). Otherwise the Twins will keep stringing the Yankees along while other teams try to push up the price the Yankees will pay. If no deal happens now, one could still be made later — for the Yankees, “no” doesn’t mean “never.” (See A-Rod)

    • LiveFromNewYork

      I think the Arod thing is a different story. We “let him go” as we said we would but there is no replacing the best player in baseball and we know it. The Arod return was a compromise. From what I’ve seen/heard of Hank, he does not like being played and right now, it seems like the Twins are playing him.

      • The Scout

        I hope you are correct. Perhaps that will lead Hank to re-think the entire deal.

  • Mikek NYY

    Actually, from the Twins perspective it does make sense to trade Santana considering everything they`ll get for him.

  • save hughes

    good… if i were the twins i’d be doin this same exact thing. i would be milking some team with a weak FO for everything they got. but, what i want the yankees to do is grow some bojangles and refuse… and to do so with absolute disregard for what the red sox do.

    • LiveFromNewYork

      The Twins are playing both the Yankees and Red Sox (and everyone at the meetings knows it). Without that rivalry they got nothing.

      • Travis G.

        whats the source that the Twinkies have backed off Kennedy?

        • LiveFromNewYork

          NY Daily News

  • trevor

    How great would it be if the mariners or dodgers swooped in and grabbed santana. As good as he is I don’t want to give up hughes, but at the same time the sox would be scary good if they got him. Hopefully someone other than us or the sox comes in and spares us from doing this. Hank is so obsessed with making his mark by getting Johan. If he is trying to please the fanbase he is going to have a hard time. After reading a bunch of blogs daily, no one really wants santana that bad.

  • bkight13

    We overpaid for ARod, Jorge and Mo because they are our guys and the replacements available were horrible. We aren’t that desperate for starters. If we are willing to take a chance on not winning it all in 2008, we keep our 3 top of the rotation kids and our CF. We need Melky this year and probably next. If the Twins don;t want him, then what is the point of throwing him in the deal?

  • Brian

    I don’t think we have a weak FO. We have money, which might alleviate the strain of some of our decisions, but Cashman and Hank are a competent combo. They are both patient guys from all I can tell, and neither will completely defer to the other. If, that is, they are the two principal decision-makers, of which I have no idea right now. I’d hope.
    The Twins are playing their hand, and rightly so, and that doesn’t make our FO weak because we can’t make them pull the trigger. The idea that this deal rests squarely on Hughes is a little scary for the Twins because they don’t expect a whole lot more than previously seen from Melky, and losing Santana is obviously huge. And they are right about it being risky! So I don’t begrudge the Twins this point or think they are ludicrous for going for more. But enough is enough. And Haren…yeah, that could be even a worse situation…

  • dan

    From Tyler Kepner of the NYTimes,

    “But the Twins have continued to talk with the Red Sox about center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, a player they seem to covet even more than Hughes.”

    Seriously, WTF?

  • save hughes

    i think our FO is weak in this scenario because i think they are caught with their pants down a little bit. i think that Epstein and smith are playing Hank steinbrenner like a violin. they know how he thinks. Whatever the red sox have he just HAS to have something better. well the sox have josh Becket and we dont have a “”Staff Ace””. so they are gonna give up one of the best pitching prospects in baeball for Johan Santana. but the red sox and Twins are going to milk Hank for everything he has. he should not be basing his actions by what the sox just he needs to address team needs. IMO we dont need another starter(especially if Andy comes back) because a “”staff ace”” will emerge out of the big 3. we need to address the bullpen.

  • casey

    The moment the Twins mentioned 2 of the big 3 in the same sentence, the Yanks should have walked, knowing that the indications are that Sox aren’t likely to part with Ellsbury or Bucholz and that Hughes >>>>>>>Lester as far as that horrible 4 player package goes.

    Ben, I agree that Melky has a definite role on this team at least until one of the younger, higher ceiling guys is ready. He and Cano definitely brought an element of fun to the Yanks that would not otherwise have been there. As Boston has shown is, PAY ATTENTION TO CHEMISTRY.

    One last point on Cano vs. Hughes, and then I SWEAR I’m done with it. Here are some of’s most similar players through age 24 for Robbie:

    1. Joe Mauer (960)
    2. Tony Lazzeri (959) *
    5. Yogi Berra (931) *
    6. Bill Dickey (930) *
    8. Nomar Garciaparra (927)
    9. Rod Carew (926) *
    10. Mickey Cochrane

    Couple of pretty good players on that list, eh? (Including BOTH of our retired #8’s)

    Now, here are Phil’s stats from last year, when he was 21:
    5-3, 64 hits in 73 innings, 58/29 SO/BB, 4.48 ERA, 1.28 WHIP.

    Finally, here are the stats for an outstanding 22 year old a few years back:
    18-6, 183 hits in 211 innings, 245/50 SO/BB, 2.43 ERA, 1.10 WHIP. (Can we agree that we’d never possibly expect better than this for Hughes in 07, or possibly even 08 depending on how the next year goes?)

    The name of that pitcher? Mark Prior. Personally, I would take my chances with Robi on the list above.

    Losing Cano (and to a lesser extent, Melky) means plugging another weak/inexperienced bat into a lineup that already includes Alex CrunchTime Rodriguez, JuiceMan Giambi, First Baseman Du Jour, and Johnny Mistake Damon. Our offense is good, but it’s far from endless.

    Melky is a known quantity, unspectacular bat but outstanding D, and a role in the clubhouse. He’s not the best, but don’t sell him so short.


  • casey

    I’m not sure if everyone realizes this, and I didn’t know until yesterday: The Twins have a rookie GM.

  • Marcos

    The Twins are not “wowed” by the package with Hughes and want Kennedy too? WTF. As if there gonna get anything close to that from the Red Sux

  • LiveFromNewYork

    Yeah I knew this. He said he’s going to be “more aggressive” than the former GM. Maybe that translates to stupid.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    They backed off that demand. I think they realized the Yankees were ready to walk.

  • BillyBalla

    Casey states “One last point on Cano vs. Hughes, and then I SWEAR I’m done with it”

    Can you please read Mark Feinsand’s quote on Pinstripe Alley. Read his quote on the top of the page and than please read all the comments. As you will find out more Yankee fans than not are reluctantly willing to part with Cano over Hughes if they were forced to choose one with the obvious reasons I posted as well as the reasons in this article. Please read it and Than, maybe we can move on. My hopes is they keep both players and the Dodgers swoop in and take Santana. My hopes are also that we explore other avenues such as a Eric Bedard. Is Bedard a Santana? No! I do believe he has unhittable electric stuff though, and he is also a lefty.

  • Anthony

    Tell the twins to go F themselves. Trying to get two top pitching prospects and Melky. I hope this deal falls through.

  • Travis

    From Buster Olney:

    With the Minnesota Twins insisting on center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury in any trade for pitcher Johan Santana, the Red Sox have altered their offer and have told the Twins they are willing to include the outfielder.

    But sources say the Red Sox have also told the Twins they will not trade left-handed pitcher Jon Lester and Ellsbury together in the package they are offering.

    The Yankees, meanwhile, have informed the Twins that they are going to pull their offer off the table soon — perhaps by Tuesday at the latest — unless they get an answer. The Yankees changed their offer on Friday, adding pitcher Phil Hughes after much internal debate, to go along with Melky Cabrera and a third prospect.

    The Yankees have told the Twins they will not give them one of their top prospects as the third player in their offer — not pitchers Ian Kennedy or Alan Horne, or outfielder Austin Jackson, for example.

  • Travis

    Guilty as charged. A suggestion: When you make a new post could you enter it into previous thread’s comments, so we’ll be reminded to check it out and move our conversation to the newest post? I might be a dolt, but I’d appreciate the assistance.

    • Ben K.

      Will do. We may begin aggressively closing comments on older posts as we write new posts on the same topic. I think that would lessen the confusion.

  • Travis

    That would be great. It gets really easy to get in a time warp, working on a project while refreshing the blog comments. It never dawned on me to even go back to the main page, I was having so much fun here! Thanks for the updates.

  • brxbmrs


    You’ve finally convinced me – the Yanks should keep Melky ;-). Also, anyone who thinks we don’t NEED Cano isn’t thinking clearly – two years from now all our current offensive players may not even be on the team (except A-Rod) and if they are, they most likely will be in steep decline.

    Cano will be all of 27 then – and I can’t wait to see what he continues to grow into.

    As for his #’s declining last year over 2006 – gimme a break the kid hit .342 in 06.

    I like to keep saying it – Melk and Cano are the only two + defensive playears on this team and the only two position players under 32-33 – I’d say we need em both maybe more than Hughes or IPK.

  • me

    Edited by RAB: Basically this post said “I’m an idiot and now I’m banned from commenting.”