Twins no longer demanding Kennedy

Can Mike Mussina be league-average?
Gossage sitting pretty for HOF

According to Murray Chass’s column today, the Twins might be backing off their demands of the Yankees for Johan Santana. The two sides were stuck on Ian Kennedy, whom the Yankees refused to put in a deal along with Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera. Now, as Chass says, they’d be willing to substitute Jeff Marquez for Kennedy. I now expect a bevy of “We have to make this deal!” comments.

Remember, though, that Bill Madden said a while ago that the Twins would have accepted Hughes, Melk, Marquez, and Hilligoss for Santana, but were turned down by the Yankees. So this could be nothing new. Then again, we heard after the Marquez-Hilligoss rumor that the Twins were still demanding Kennedy, so who knows.

I still stand in favor of keeping Hughes. If he busts, you lose nothing except his potential. The investment is minimal, so even if he goes down in 2009, they wouldn’t have put too much into him. However, if Santana succumbs to injury, you’re out a whole shit-ton of money. Say what you will about the Yankees having unlimited funds, but there’s a limit somewhere, especially considering the hefty luxury tax bill they foot yearly. If they sign Santana to a long-term extension and he gets injured in year two or three, he will affect the Yankees ability to go out and get another pitcher. Whereas if Hughes goes down this year, next year, whatever, he will in no way affect the team’s ability to pick up someone else.

It appears that the Twins will soon be looking for the best, final offers from the Yanks or Sox — though we’re still not sure if the Yankees are putting anything on the table. We’ll see, though.

So instead of a comment thread full of “we should do this deal” or “we shouldn’t do this deal,” why don’t we make it more interesting? If you’re the Twins and you can either have the Sox package (Lester, Crisp, Masterson, Lowrie) or the Yanks package (Hughes, Cabrera, Marquez, Hilligoss), which would you take?

Can Mike Mussina be league-average?
Gossage sitting pretty for HOF
  • Cam

    Wow, just posted on the last thread about this literally 2 minutes ago, just to look up and see that you had a new post regarding this topic.

    As for me, I definitely think the Yanks package is better. Much more potential there than what the Sox are offering. If in fact the Twins dropped their demand, and if the Yanks actually decide to call and offer up this deal, I see no reason that this won’t get done. Could this be a way though to get the Sox and Yanks back in a bidding war, eventually forcing both to make their respective packages better?

  • Kevin

    I think the Yanks should pass on Santana. The upside with Hughes and the young kids is great, with the obvious risk they won’t pan out. However, there is strenght in numbers and it’s doubtful all three kids won’t do well. Santan also has great upside, but I think his downside risk is greater. If he breaks down, and you watch Hughes go on to become a star, that would be very difficult to accept. The three kids will provide enough quality to minimize the gap between the Yanks with the three kids and the Yanks with Santana. And at a much lower cost.

    • Miles Roche

      I’m with you all the way on this one.
      I believe that this trade will come back to bite us in the rear-end in the future if it’s done…
      And i know it’s a small sample size, but Phil Hughes – pre-injury and in his last 3 appearances – showed me something!

    • Miles Roche

      Oh, and let’s not ignore the Dave Eiland factor…

  • stuart

    I do not trade Hughes under any circumstance… The long term risk of loss and the long term ost of Santanas’ contract is way too much..

    As others have said if Hughes bombs he bombs but the financial cost for the next 5 yrs. is nothing. If Santana gets hurt and his performance decreases at $20 mill a yr. it is a killer……

    • Mike44

      I don’t like the “If Hughes bombs vs. If Santana bombs” rationale. Yes, Hughes is costing FAR less than what Santana is costing you but the reason this rationale is inaccurate is because Santana has actually been a 5-star pitcher in the league and Hughes has not (yet). I’ll counter that rationale with: What if Hughes bombs and Santana goes to the Red Sox where he wins 3 world series over the next four years? That has as much, if not more, of a chance of occuring as Santana coming to the Yanks and getting injured or ‘bombing.’ Not to mention, Hughes at this point is more of an injury risk over the next 5 years than is Santana.

      Go with the sure thing. Get Santana (so long as Kennedy isn’t involved).

  • SS

    I think the Yankees deal is better from the Twins perspective – Hughes and Cabrera are obviously more considerably more valuable than Lester and Crisp. Hughes is simply a better pitcher, and Cabrera is both younger and cheaper than Crisp. Masterson and Lowrie are probably better than Marquez and Hilligoss, but the difference isn’t particularly large.

  • barry

    I take the Yankees offer, Hughes deffinately has a higher ceiling than Lester and is already arguably better and Melky is already twice as good as Crisp. If I’m the Twins I would have to take the Yankee deal, however if I’m the Yankees I spit in their face and take my chances.

  • Mike A.

    Honestly, I’d take the Sox offer. Hughes > Lester and Melk > Crisp (especially considering salary), but Masterson/Lowrie >>> Marquez/Hilligoss, enough to make up for the Lester and Crisp shortcomings.

    • zack

      I agree. Plus, I think the Sox package fills more of a need with Lowrie. I don’t think either package is really worth Santana, personally (from the Twins POV), but Hughes might be a better sell to the fans…

  • Mike

    How about neither? If I’m the Twins’ GM I see if I can make a run with the current team. The offers aren’t going to get much worse in July and they might get better. And if nothing else, I take two draft picks.

    As a new GM (Smith), I’m more interested in not looking bad than in looking good. I know that I can’t possible get as dinged by a deal I never make than one that I do and have all the acquired talent fail. Those current offers are borderline acceptable. So I wait.

  • E-ROC

    The Yanks should pass. $20 million a season for a pitcher is terrible for business. If he were a position player like Albert Pujols, I wouldn’t mind. Things tend to happen to pitchers when they hit 30. I hope this deal doesn’t happens.

    If I were the Twins, I’d take the Yanks deal. Hughes is the closes thing to an ace in either and the best player. What is Lester’s potential?

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    If I’m the Twins, I take the Yankee deal. However, if I’m the Yankees, I don’t pay through the nose twice for the same player. The package is still way too much for a player who you then have to negotiate a massive contrac with.

  • gus

    the yankee offer is A LOT better. Not only is Hughes the best player being offered by either the sox or the yanks but on a realistic note, why would the twins make coco crisp of all people the highest paid player on the team or atleast top three then add to that, crisp is only under contract for 08 09 and an 2010 option for like 6mm. So hes ten times the price of melky cabrera AND if hes the franchise player in MN that they want either guy to be there, they wont be able to keep him just one year after switching stadiums, having coco included in any deal for Santana makes no sense for Bill Smith, the Yanks still want Santana and despite a very valient effort b Epstien to squeeze more out of them, it appears and I certainly hope, that Santana will become a Yank this offseason and on terms acceptable to the club……27 here we come…..

  • Steve S

    I just read that column, it seems to me that Murray is speculating (and not reporting) as to the rumored Yankee package and what the Twins are willing to accept. Especially since he didnt cite any sources. Plus Murray Chass isnt really someone who provides the breaking news, he really just provides commentary.

    And as for the the question posed I think the Red Sox package is better. Granted Hughes is the best potential player in the group, but the Red Sox are offering greater quantity. A number 3 starter, a starting shortstop, a starting centerfielder (relatively cheap and not a long term commitment), and Masterson who is projected to be a 3-5 starter or a at least a serviceable bullpen guy. I think that gets Bill Smith some instant low risk reward which is better for a new GM.

  • Michael

    I agree with Mike A. Top of the deal is stronger from the NYY end, but I fear that they will need to upgrade the lower half by including Horne. I don’t see how either package gets this deal done after Arizona paid so much for Haren.

    • The Scout

      The Haren deal won’t work as a comparison. Many more teams were involved in the bidding there because Haren is salary-controlled for several years and will cost teams a lot less than Santana. Few teams can afford Santana under his pending contract. If the Twins think they can get the same return for Santana that the A’s got for Haren, I say good luck to Minnesota.

  • Grant

    I think they should just hold off, if they don’t move him, and it looks like they need him they have until the trade deadline, I want him, but that package plus 7 years and $140 million is just getting to be too pricey. If they swapped Huhges for IPK and maybe another prospect I would say do it.

  • It’sMeSNITCHES!!!

    Anyone see the main photo on right now?

    • Mike A.

      Damn bugs. Everybody but Joba blamed those fucking midges.

    • Pickett

      The Yankkes offer is better for 2 reasons: (1) the Twins will never accept Coco Crisp in a trade (his inclusion in the deal is Boston’s Fail Safe so the trade to the Sox will never happen); and (2) If Hughes is part of a Yankees offer but Clay Buchholz is NOT part of a Red Sox offer, then the Sox offer is a joke (I hope for his continued health but would you tade for a guy (Lester) that has just gotten over cancer therapy?). Believe me the Twins GM is no fool – he knows this and I never for one minute ever expected the Red Sox offer to be accepted by the Twins. The Twins always intended to accept the Yanks proposal but overplayed their hand when they asked for Kennedy, too. Getting Kennedy in addition to Hughes would equate to the Red Sox offering both Lester AND Buchholz. But of course, the Sox never did that because all along they never intended to make this deal for Santana. They were in it only to drive up the price for the Yanks. When Cash$$ and Hank saw what was happening they told the Twins to bugger off. That’s where it stands now. If I’m the Yankees I do not make this deal and I keep the young guys until we see what they can do. Plus, signing Santana would increase the payroll to $225 million. Gulp!! In 2009, if we want to get Sanatana we can sign him as a FA (Giambi, Pavano, and a lot of other salary gets freed up) and give up zilch. Tell me all you geniuses out there, what do you think is the more sound business decision?

      • ceciguante

        i like your points Pickett, but i wouldn’t assume that santana will still be there after this year. i’d be very surprised if smith shops santana around all year, then settles for 2 compensation draft picks. that would be a complete failure for him in these negotiations. and i’m not so convinced the red sox are 100% out of it. santana could mean dynasty for them, so they might bite depending on what the yanks do. but i do agree that their current packages look designed to set the bar for the yanks to jump over.

        also, keep in mind that if the yanks stand pat, hughes could very well have a poor year (or first half), which would drive up the cost as the trade deadline approaches. lotta factors in play here.

        • Mike

          Two picks as a complete failure? Whaaaat?

          1) Neither the Yanks or the Sox are even offering two *former* picks.

          2) Smith keeps Santana and contends through July.

          3) He can still trade him then for either of these packages.

          Worse case, he keeps Johan all year and then gets those two picks. As a young GM, he’ll never look bad in contending or in a trade he never makes.

        • Mike

          I meant:

          1) Neither the Yanks or the Sox are even offering two *former* first-round picks.

  • NC Saint

    I think the way people are comparing the two packages (Hughes vs. Lester, Melky vs. Crisp, etc.) falls apart after the Hughes vs. Lester part. I agree with the consensus around here that Melky gets overrated, but with what potential he has and how little he stands to make, the Yankees are actually giving up someone they can use, and the Twins are getting something they want. Crisp isn’t breaking anyone’s bank, but considering how he has turned out, his contract makes him a wash at best. The Sox would rather not have him, and the Twins certainly aren’t motivated to give up anything for him.

    Melky and Crisp are both the CF piece in their respective packages, but the parallel breaks down there. Hughes/Melky are the higher-end part of Yankees package, but Crisp just doesn’t fit that patter the way people are suggesting. I would rather have any prospect in either package (except, presumably, Hit-Streak) than Crisp at his salary.

    I don’t know the Sox prospects nearly well enough to have an opinion about which package is stronger, but I do think the way everyone is presenting the comparison is misleading. Crisp should be compared to the humblest Yankee offering because of his salary, not to Melky because of his position and readiness.

  • Larry

    I think the NYY deal for the top two is stronger than BOS top two, but I have no way to compare the second two palyers team to team. my question is whose court is the ball in? Are both teams’ deals on the table? If so, are we waiting for Smith to say yes to one of those two deals? Do bioth BOS and NYY not want to do this deal now? According to Ortiz (apparently Theo’s ass’t), he is not going to BOS. The best scenario for NYY is if neither team makes a deal. Santana says he won’t waive his NTC once the season starts and the Yankees make a strong play for him in free agency. But is all of this really likely to happen? I think not as Smith ends up with nothing.

  • godfather

    i’m very afraid nyy will capitulate and hughes will be gone, since i think minny will like the yanks’ package better…hope i’m wrong because i’d like to see hughes in the stripes…i think he’s a young fun with ability and adaptablity and will figure it out up in the bigs…i know worst things than a johan coming aboard can happen, but i’d like to forego it in this case

  • godfather

    meant to say young gun….but he could be fun, at that

  • mustang

    The trade must and will be made people. With Mussina and Andy ages you need a proven Ace on the staff. It’s asking a lot from these kids otherwise. Getting Johan lets you put Joba in the pen and you have a staff of Johan,Mussina,Andy,Wang and Kenndey with Horne for back up if injuries happen. You can use Gardner and company to back up Damon or sign Mike Carman for 1 to 2 years. For the Twins the Yankees’ package has always been the best one they are just playing games with Boston trying to see if they can get more. I hate to see Hughes go , but right he is not Johan

  • Realist

    So now they will back down??? lol , seems they have been backing down since Hank walked away from the table? Tell them to take the Sox offer , which they won’t , and wish them well. Time to end this nonsense , until Hughes isn’t part of the deal….which , if patient , will occur.

    Btw, I ave read several reports that Santana wanted to be a Yankee….anyone read one where he wanted to be a Sox??????????? Food for thought….

  • Chip

    I really really really don’t want to see this deal happen but the idea of a rotation fronted by two guys who could very easily reach 20 wins (Santana and Wang) for the next few seasons is VERY tempting. I honestly think Kennedy could really become something so I’m glad that he will not be included

  • NC Saint

    I really hope this doesn’t happen. But here’s a question for other people who would rather keep Hughes:

    If you knew that Santana staying put wasn’t an option, and neither the Yanks nor the Sox were going to change their offer from what we’re considering here(no fantasizing about Epstein shipping away the entire farm plus Pedroia or the Yankees getting Santana for Brian Bruney), who would you rather the Twins traded him to?

    As much as I love Hughes, if Santana must go, I think I’d rather we made the deal than they did.

  • Larry

    Does anyone know who is in position to trigger this deal? Is it up to Smith (now) to say yea/nay to Cash and/or Theo?

  • nick blasioli

    make the deal for santana…hughes is a great pitcher..but not as good as santana…why worry about the payroll of the yankees…they will get well after this year after giambi and mussina leave..i really like santana in the yankees rotation next cant think about injuries….what about arod …he could get injured too but the yankees signed him for ten years….so please pull the trigger…..git er done….

    • Travis G.

      Nick, pitchers get hurt more often than hitters. the Yanks ARE thinking about $$ now that it hasn’t gotten them anywhere the past 3 years. and that $20+ mil in taxes they’re paying to other clubs hurts the Yanks too bc it makes our competitors better.

  • Travis G.

    i would rather give up Kennedy AND Horne than Hughes. i would do Kennedy, Horne and Melky, but would rather not Hughes, Melky, Marquez, Hilligoss. Hughes has that much ceiling in my (and others) book(s). imo the Sawx offer is slightly better. Hughes/Melky is definitely better than Lester/Coco, but Lester is a LHP, and Masterson/Lowrie is significantly better than Marquez/Hilligoss (afaik).

    to NC Saint, any NL team would do. and i know it would never happen (intradivisional and all) but imagine if Detroit traded for him. that would be a sick team: Santana, Verlander and that lineup! but by trading for Miggy they killed any chance.

  • Travis G.

    just read the article now – Chass is merely regurgitating old news about the Twins lowering their demands from Kennedy to Marquez; this happened near the end of that night-long negotiating session during the GM meetings weeks ago.

    the only news is the stuff about the luxury taxes.

  • ken

    Except for the 04 and 06 seasons, the great santana, had good…but, not great…years. He is a good pitcher, but not the 2nd comming, even though he is left handed. Being a lefty in bsox park, with his homeruns, no way will he want to go there. Now, a lefty in nyy land…oh,yha. I still like to keep the kids.

  • Lil Jimmy Norden

    If I was the Twins GM, I’d probably look to take the biggest package of mid to upper level prospects I could get. Stock up the farm a bit much like what the Yankees did last year. If I felt the offers were too low, I’d probably take the 2 draft picks and a final year of Santana + make a last ditch effort to sign him to an extension in the spring.

    If the Yankees arent in on Santana, the Sox are overpaying with that package. In any case, it would be a great pickup if it happens and facing the Sox with a Santana led rotation would suck.

    I agree with those who say the Yanks should pass on Santana at the current price, even if it means he goes to Boston. Unless Hughes can be pulled from the package it’s really paying too much for a guy who is great, sure, but also very expensive.

    Theres also no guarantee hes going to be great for all the years of his contract. Having Melky, Hughes, etc on the cheap for multiple years is alot better I think. Plus the Yankees have been hyping Hughes for ages, how much would it suck to see him dealt at this point?

    If I’m the Yankees, I’d make a final offer of Kennedy, Cabrera, Marquez, Hilligoss and perhaps another minor leaguer. But in the end, I think the best bet is to take a pass and hope he blocks a deal to Boston or that trade talks fall apart.

  • adam

    I’m sorry, did the Red Sox take the Ellsbury offer off the table?

    I’m a Twins fan, and following and Sons of Sam Horn it seems like Theo is offering two mutually exclusive packages, one centered around Lester/Crisp and one centered around Ellsbury.

    As a person familiar with the Twins farm system there is nobody with anywhere near the upside of Ellsbury in the outfield pipeline (Ben Revere, Denard Span… yea, there’s a reason you’ve never heard of them) and there is nobody near as good a hitter as Lowrie coming up through the farm system. Meanwhile the pitching ranks are stacked.

    Even without Liriano the rotation is full of guys who, while not Buccholz/Hughes level stars are arguably Lester good. Say Liriano is a total bust, doesn’t start a game in 2008, and Santana doesn’t get dealt. You’ve got a whole year to try to get Bill Smith to pry open Pohlad’s purse-strings with the jaws of life and sign Santana and opening day rotation is still Johan, Scott Baker, Boof Bonser, Kevin Slowey and Glen Perkins. S-Bake is probably like Lester; he projects as a 2 or a 3 and is also 26. Slowey projects higher and has I think been reasonably been compared to other sinkerballer/finesse guys like Wang. That is not even to get into the second tier of Twins pitching prospects.

    And this is all assuming that Liriano is a non-factor; always a possibility with a guy coming back from TJ, but enough guys have come back and done it successfully that to pencil him in tentatively as a #1 on that rotation for the medium-long term is not insane.

    So, with that said… if Ellsbury/Lowrie/Masterson is on the table and I’m Bill Smith I do it. You trade from strength (the very deep pitching corps) to shore up deep systematic flaws with very high upside guys. Yea, I know Melky flew through the minors, but he strikes me as an above average center-fielder; Ellsbury strikes me as a possible perennial all-star. Also the fact that the Yankees are heaping garbage onto their offer like Kei Igawa just smacks of arrogance.

    If I’m Bill Smith and the best offers on the table are really Lester/Crisp/Lowrie/Masterson and Hughes/Melky/garbage I would work the phone with the Mets, see if they will dump Gomez/F-Mart and like four other prospects, get on the phone to the Dodgers to see they won’t move Kemp, and if that’s the best that’s on the table, I’d sit pat. Which appears to be what’s happening. But my understanding is that the Ellsbury package is still on the table, and as a Twins fan that’s what I’m rooting for; I think the lineup with five guys who can rake like Ellsbury, Mauer, Lowrie, Morneau, Young and Cuddyer combined with a Liriano/Baker anchored rotation and a Masterson/Neshek bullpen could be competitive by the time the Twins open their new stadium in 2010.

    Just my $.02.

    • Steve S

      I have to make one comment here. I agree that the Red Sox package is better than the Yankees. But Ellsbury has been completely overrated. He hit five homeruns lasy year in three different levels. He projects to be a speed, high OBP guy. And yes hell be better than Melky BUT he will not be a perrenial all star. His best hope is Johnny Damon.

      I mean even yesterday Callis said that Milledge has bigger upside but Ellsbury is the safer pick. Im not saying Ellsbury isnt a good player. However I needed to get this off my chest since it seemed like people had used the World Series as an excuse to make jacoby the next Willie Mays.

  • Rob_in_CT

    It seems to me the best deal for the Twins is an Elsbury/Lowrie+ package. I agree with Steve that Elsbury is a bit overrated right now, because of what he did in a small sample in the majors, but he should be a solid player. Lowrie is a middle infielder who can hit, which would be a nice change for the Twins.

    This is the problem for the Yanks. The Twins need position players more than they need pitching, but the Yanks’ best prospects are pitchers. Therefore, in order to beat a Boston package, the Yanks would need to “overpay” in a sense. If the Yanks want to put together a position-player heavy package (involving Austin Jackson and Jose Tabata, I’d imagine), then they are trading from weakness and will have next to nothing in pos. players left on the farm if the Twins take the deal.

    So I’m just hoping the Twins can’t work things out with Boston and end up keeping Johan.

  • pounder

    Lets do the math.Santana comes to NY,for whatever package which includes Melky.We are then on the hook for 25mil+ for 10 years for Santana.We then must go out and obtain a centerfielder,please no Johnny Damon or Brett Gardner or Kevin Reese et al. We would need a real centerfielder,and the only one available of merit is Cameron,who, with apologies to Tony Clark is nothing but a human windmill at the plate.Great glove,granted,but you pay this incomplete player millions of bucks for,say, 3 or 4 years.All the while we can watch Hughes and or Kennedy, (and don’t think for one second that Marquez is chopped liver ) procede to become the players we all expected.Keep the kids.We did the right thing by signing Arod,and not having to scrounge around for a 3rd baseman,and for a #4 hitter in the lineup,and a right handed bat with pop.We got all of that when we inked Arod. The players we would have wound up with would have been inferior and as expensive as Arod,and would have cost us roster space.I bring this up as,hopefully a sign that Hanky lets Brian Cashman handle this.

  • ken

    it seems to me that someone may be missing something. Remember when mussina was very good? Look at kennedy, he is the young mussina, check out his numbers. Hughes gets all the type(well deserved) but the numbers on Kennedy are better. I don’t like the trade…not for either one of them.