While most Yankees and even most Red Sox fans would agree that Phil Hughes has a higher ceiling than Jacoby Ellsbury, the Twins haven’t been too quick to pull the trigger on any Johan Santana deals with Hughes as the centerpiece. In an excellent post, Twins blogger extraordinaire Aaron Gleeman analyzes why the Twins may prefer the Ellsbury package:
Ellsbury can’t compete with Hughes’ upside, but his downside might be more palatable and it’s probably safer to assume that he’ll at least have a good, long career.
Factor in the Twins’ outstanding organization-wide pitching depth and their gaping hole in center field, and it’s not difficult to see why they might value Hughes less and Ellsbury more than most other teams.
In the long run, Gleeman notes that Hughes is a much better trophy than Ellsbury, but the risk may be too much for the seemingly risk-averse Twins.
Hughes’ ceiling is that of a true ace who could literally replace Santana at the top of the rotation in time, but he’d add to what’s already an area of strength for the Twins and there’s more risk that he’ll flop completely whether because of injuries or performance…
They’d be smart to go after the one player who clearly gives them the best chance to come away from the Santana deal with a superstar. In other words, Phil Hughes.
Basically, Gleeman, an impartial observer to the Yanks’ and Red Sox’s shenanigans, would rather see Hughes in Minnesota, but he understands why the Twins seem drawn to an offer that we all believe is inferior to the one put forward by the Yanks. And that is just one of the many reasons why we would rather see Hughes stay in New York.