Rethinking Santana and Sabathia, again

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In the winter of 2007-2008, when River Ave. Blues was still in its blog infancy, the hot topic of the Hot Stove League was Johan Santana. The Twins were gearing up to trade their lefty ace, and the Yankees were deeply involved in the negotiations.

As the winter dragged on, we staked out a position deemed extreme by many — but not Yanks’ GM Brian Cashman. “Save the Big Three,” we proclaimed, as it became clear that any Johan Santana deal would probably include some combination of Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy along with other top prospects or Major League contributors. The money, we argued, would be better spent on CC Sabathia a year later when the big man hit free agency. Plus, we reasoned, the Yanks wouldn’t have to pay twice for CC, first in prospects and then in dollars, as they would for Santana.

When all was said and done that winter, our position held the day, but it was not without controversy. Throughout 2008 and even into 2009, a debate raged among Yankee fans over that non-trade, and when the Yanks missed the playoffs in 2008 for the first time since 1994, Cashman and the anti-trade faction received its fair share of criticism.

Yet, last winter, the pieces fell into place. The Yanks landed CC Sabathia, and this year, that signing has paid off in a big way. CC took home MVP honors after the ALCS, and after posting tremendous numbers this season, Sabathia has powered his way through three playoff starts. It’s been wine and roses for the Yanks and CC this year.

With the Yanks gearing up to face the Phillies in the World Series, let’s take a look at how those pieces from the Santana trade are doing. I’m going to assume that the most popular iteration of the trade — Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera for Johan Santana — would have gotten the deal done. The Yanks probably would have thrown in a fourth lesser prospect as well.

Phil Hughes
Still just 23 years old, Hughes has been one of the most heralded young arms in recent Yankee history. He made his debut in 2007 and threw admirably as one of the youngest starters in the league. His 2008, however, was a complete wash. He started the season 0-4 with an ERA of 9.00 and then missed May, June, July and August with a variety of injuries. By the end of 2008, Yankee fans were wondering about the hype, and many rued not trading Hughes when his stock was high.

This year, though, has been an utter revelation for Yankee fans and Phil Hughes. He made a few spot starts in place of Chien-Ming Wang and flashed some decent stuff, but the youngster really came into his own upon moving into the bullpen. As the 8th inning bridge to Mariano, Hughes went 5-1 with a 1.44 ERA in 44 games. In 51.1 innings, he walked just 13 and struck out 65. He put up a 22.7 RAR and a 2.2 WAR out of the bullpen, and without Hughes in the 8th, the Yanks’ season would have played out much differently.

Melky Cabrera
For Melky, 2008 was a setback. He was the subject of many trade rumors and didn’t play well at all. He hit .249/.301/.341 and lost his starting job to Brett Gardner by early August. This year, though, with increased competition from Gardner, Melky responded in turn. Although he faded a bit down the stretch, Melky hit .274/.336/.416 with a career-best in home runs (13), doubles (28) and OPS+ (97). In the ALCS, he went 9 for 23 with four RBI and three walks. At 25, Melky has 2148 Major League plate appearances under his belt and could yet turn into an adequate offensive outfielder.

Ian Kennedy
Similar to Hughes, Kennedy had a terrible 2008. He also went 0-4 with a gaudy 8.17 ERA and found himself demoted after not pitching poorly. To make matters worse, he flashed an attitude unappreciated by many in New York. This year, he had a strong start at AAA but came down with an aneurysm in his arm. He made a triumphant return to the Majors and threw an inning against Anaheim in mid-September. He is currently throwing in the Arizona Fall League where he has allowed five earned runs in 11.1 innings but has a 13:1 K:BB ratio. He will probably factor into the Yanks’ 2010 plans.

Johan Santana
The centerpiece of the deal landed in New York after all but in Queens and not the Bronx. He has been a bright spot amidst a dismal Mets team. With the Mets, he has gone 29-16 in 59 starts. He has a 2.79 ERA in the NL and has struck 352 while walking 109 in 401 innings. His K/9 IP in the NL is 1.6 strike outs lower than it was in the AL. This season, his velocity started trending downward, and he missed the final six weeks of the season after undergoing surgery to remove bone chips in his arm. The Mets still owe him at least $98.5 million over the next four seasons or $118 million over five.

Late last week, Cashman spoke with John Harper of the Daily News about this very topic. “When we added David Cone from Toronto,” Cashman said “we were a piece away at the time. But when Santana became available, in my opinion we weren’t a piece away yet. So I told ownership, ‘Listen, six months really isn’t a long time to wait – though it turned out to be a long time for me, to be honest – and if we can have the patience and discipline, I can’t guarantee you we’ll be able to get Sabathia, but think about what our organization will look like if we can add him and keep these other assets.'”

And so today, those assets are still in place. The Yankees are playing the World Series with CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera primed to contribute. Although Ian Kennedy hasn’t yet been what we expected and Melky has hit some development roadblocks over the last few years, the Yankees are right where they expected to be when Cashman turned down the Santana offer. I certainly think it’s worked out nicely for them. Do you?

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  • Marsha

    Yes.

  • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

    I’ll disagree with Brian on one thing: last year’s team with Santana is a championship caliber team- they won 89 games despite losing Wang, Joba, and Posada for long periods. A rotation of Santana, Mussina, Wang, and Pettitte is very strong, and a solid offense and solid bullpen make for a real contender.

    • mustang

      Agree.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      I’d probably agree with you too, Moshe. Perhaps he was thinking long-term though. The Yanks recognized that they couldn’t trade away their youth if they wanted to compete for a while. A rotation relying on Mussina and Pettitte with no younger replacements down the line wouldn’t have much staying power.

      • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

        That makes sense. The only thing is that the Cone example sort of throws that line of thinking off (if he was talking long term, Cone was no better a bet than Santana).

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Yes, but what we would have had to give up to get Santana was way better than what we gave up to get Cone. Making the deal for Cone is a safer bet on the future than the Santana deal.

          Hughes/IPK/Cabrera >>>>>>> Janzen and Jarvis

          • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

            Right, but he doesn’t say that. Cash suggests that if he had been one piece away, he would have made the Santana move. I think it is pretty clear that they were one piece away. Now, if we write in the idea that he meant one move away from long term dominance, then maybe it makes sense, but that seems unclear.

            • Chris C.

              “Right, but he doesn’t say that. Cash suggests that if he had been one piece away, he would have made the Santana move. I think it is pretty clear that they were one piece away.”

              Oh yeah. Crystal clear. They finished third place in their own division last year posting a middle-of-the-pack record, had a bullpen that was shitty and inexperienced, a starting staff that was pedestrian, were defensively mediocre because Teixeira hadn’t yet arrived to save everyone’s ass, AROD was still not in his happy place yet, and their manager was getting on everyone’s nerves.

              But Santana’s arrival would have sent them soaring right to the top? Give me a break. I think I’ll believe the GM on this one.

              • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

                They won 89 games despite all the injuries. Prior to the season, you cannot assume injuries. This would be the team at the start of the season:

                Rotation:
                Santana
                Wang
                Pettitte
                Mussina
                whoever/Joba in second half

                Lineup:
                Damon
                Jeter
                Abreu
                Rodriguez
                Posada
                Matsui
                Giambi
                Cano
                Cabrera

                Bullpen:
                Farnsworth
                Marte
                Veras
                Edwar
                Joba
                Rivera

                Other than needing a bullpen arm, that’s easily a contending team. And the bullpen actually finished among the best in baseball.

                • Chris C.

                  “They won 89 games despite all the injuries.

                  Rotation:
                  Santana
                  Wang
                  Pettitte
                  Mussina
                  whoever/Joba in second half”

                  Cashman did not want to part with Hughes and Kennedy. Why can’t you understand that? And he also knew that Sabathia was a FA after that season. Do you want a GM who is able to look ahead, or one who just lives for the moment?

                  “Prior to the season, you cannot assume injuries.”

                  Oh, I see…….but Cashman should have known that injuries were coming to Hughes and Kennedy, right? The man did not want to part with two of his top prospect starting pitchers, a young centerfielder, AND about 25 mill per year for the next 7 years.
                  And what the heck is wrong with that kind of thinking??

                • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

                  Huh? I said I agreed with Cashman about a thousand times in this thread. All I said was that I disagreed with the idea that Santana would not have made the 2008 club a contender.

                • Chris

                  Mussina had an ERA over 5 in 2007, so it’s not clear what he would provide in 2008.

                  Pettitte had a player option for 2008, so it wasn’t clear that he was going to return. When he decided to come back that pushed the Yankees out of the Santana derby, but it’s possible that trading for Santana could have influenced his decision.

                  A-Rod had opted out of his contract, so his status was not certain at the time. Finally, Mo and Posada were free agents that offseason.

                  Most of those loose ends were tied up by the time Santana was traded, but they were certainly big question marks during the offseason.

                • Chris C.

                  “Huh? I said I agreed with Cashman about a thousand times in this thread. All I said was that I disagreed with the idea that Santana would not have made the 2008 club a contender.”

                  Well, that’s your opinion, and there’s really no way of knowing where the Yanks would have ended up.
                  But I do know this…….the man who loses his job if the evaluation is not correct is Brian Cashman, not you.

                  You made a list of what their roster was at the start of last season, and the entire bullpen, aside from Rivera, was suspect heading into 2008. Marte wasn’t even in pinstripes yet!

                • Chris C.

                  And I’ll tell you something else…….I don’t think Joe Girardi was ready to lead this team anywhere last year either. He was an insecure, stressed-out control freak who was as much a reason for them missing the postseason as the injuries were.

                  He’s still a bozo, but he was 10 times a better manager this year than he was last year. And it’s not just because the team is better. His whole attitude and demeanor improved. I mean, to think just a year ago he was taking candy machines out of the clubhouse! Now he’s allowing kids in.

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                The bullpen was actually pretty good last year, no? I mean, minus Krazy Kyle (who wasn’t awful), they did pretty well. It was the starting staff that disappointed, along with injuries. It could be argued, as Moshe is trying to do, that the ’08 Yankees were, at the beginning of the season, one piece away from being a playoff team. Considering they got 89 wins, despite getting nothing from their original 4/5 starters and then getting 30 starts combined from D-Ras and Snacks Pontoon, one starter may have been able to make the difference.

              • steve (different one)

                while i agree with your conclusion (i don’t think the 08 yankees + johan were a championship team, too left handed, too poor defensively), i don’t think this is a fair argument to Moshe’s point.

                Moshe is looking at the team from Cashman’s POV last winter.

                no one knew Posada would get hurt. Wang would get hurt. etc.

                that’s why they finished in third.

                if those things don’t happen, they probably finish in 2nd, and you could argue that Santana puts them in the playoffs as the WC.

                still, i don’t think they would have won it all, and i tend to agree with Cashman, but i don’t think you addressed his points properly.

                • steve (different one)

                  and just to be even handed, i don’t think you can say Moose’s season could have been foreseen either. many posters here wanted him dumped for pennies on the dollar last winter.

                  so, that’s a point against Moshe’s argument. Moose, heading into the season, was a 4/5 starter at best.

                • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

                  Sure, but with Santana, he is the 4 anyhow. Listen, I’m not saying they would have won it all, just that they would have been a contender, on the level with Boston and Tampa. They would have avoided Ponson and Rasner making a zillion starts.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Perhaps.

      However, trading one year of championship caliber 2008 Yankees for several years of better championship caliber 2009 and beyond Yankees seems a fair gamble, all things considered.

      • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

        Oh, certainly. I was firmly against the Santana deal and fully agree with Cashman about the deal. I just think that he is minimizing the effect it had on 2008 by suggesting that Santana doesn’t make that club a championship type team, something I disagree with.

        • pete

          at the beginning of last year, though, they had a declining bobby abreu, no swisher, no teixiera. and remember mussina was anything but a sure thing. Santana-Wang-Pettitte-Mussina would have been a very good rotation, but with the bullpen and aging offense, They really wouldn’t have necessarily been a definite WS caliber team. They’d have had a much better shot than they did, but their offseason this year turned them into the far-and-away best team in MLB on paper at the beginning of this season.

    • Tank Foster

      I wonder if they had gotten Santana and then signed him last winter, would they have had the $$ to sign both CC and Teixeira? No way they’d have signed those 2 AND Burnett.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        They wouldn’t have.

        I can’t see this team giving both Santana and CC 7yr/150M plus deals. One or the other. Not both.

        • TheZack

          Why not? Everyone said that about Tiex too, and they signed him. I think it would be more of an issue of signing Santana, CC, AND Tiex.

          • Chris C.

            Yeah, why not? They could have signed the Phillies as well, then they’d be champs right now!

            • steve (different one)

              this was kindof funny

          • mvg

            But then they don’t get Teix or AJ, or both. People seem to think the Yanks are a bottomless pit of dollars, but do you remember when they balked at a discounted Carlos Beltran because the cost was too high? I do.

            • nmc

              Um, I would rather have Johan Santana than AJ Burnett, thankyouverymuch. (not over Teix though)

              • mvg

                My point was, no Teix more rather than no AJ. I guess I could have been clearer.

    • Chris C.

      Maybe or maybe not. Regardless, why build for one season, when you can add a guy in Santana’s class a year later, while keeping your prospects? Obviously, the world was not going to end after the 2008 season, was it?
      Cashman does some good things, and does some bad things…….but at least the man has patience…..something alot of the fans lack.

      • mvg

        …and owners lack as well.

  • JSquared

    It has worked out well. I’m happy where the organization is.

  • http://www.repairmycomputer.com Marc

    Imagine if we had gotten Santana, then picked up CC, AJ, and Tex…Our rotation woulda been: Santana, CC, AJ, Pettite, Joba. Imagine Joba as a 5th starter. So we won 103 games with a rotating 5th spot. We’d easily have gotten 110 games. Granted, all this is unnecessary, as we led the league in games won, and we will win the WS without Santana. It’d just have been a dream team.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      We wouldn’t have signed all three of CC, AJ, and Tex if we already had Santana. Not gonna happen.

      • Tank Foster

        That’s what I’m thinking.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        Damn you, TSJC. Damn you to hell, mister.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          That’s for your flippant remark about the Canes, you brute.

          • Andy in Sunny Daytona

            Good enough.

      • Chris

        You’re probably right, but I wouldn’t be 100% certain of that. We gave A-Rod, Mo and Posada big deals in 2007, and then CC, AJ and Tex big deals in 2008. Would one more big deal have been a deal breaker?

        • Chris C.

          It’s really hard to fathom a Yankee fan pining about one more big deal. That’s the one good thing about a salary cap league…………the rules don’t allow the fans to get jaded.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      There is no way the Yankees sign AJ, CC and Teix if they had signed Santana to a huge contract.

      • http://www.repairmycomputer.com Marc

        Ok, so cross off AJ then. So we now have Santana, CC, and Tex. Isn’t that better and worth the extra 30 mil to have Santana over AJ?

        • Andy in Sunny Daytona

          Let’s see………AJ is healthy…….Santana is not….

          • http://www.repairmycomputer.com Marc

            I can see that AJ healthy >>> Santana Hurt, but on a 5 year contract, which would you rather have? Lets say hypothetically speaking Santana is healthy the rest of the seasons

            • Andy in Sunny Daytona

              But Santana wouldn’t have signed a 5 year contract.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          No.

          Cross of Sabathia. Not AJ. He’s the option for the #2 behind our ace Santana. We don’t sign both. Or, if we do, we don’t sign Tex.

          It’s either:
          A.) CC, Tex, and AJ with no Santana
          B.) Santana, Tex, and AJ with no CC
          C.) Santana, CC, and AJ with no Tex

          Take your pick. I choose A.

          • http://www.repairmycomputer.com Marc

            If those were the *Only* options, of course I choose A. But if there was a D that allowed Santana, CC, and Tex, I’d be all over it

            • Andy in Sunny Daytona

              D. is actually CC, Santana and Tex minus Hughes, minus Kennedy and minus Melky and minus someone else.

              • mvg

                Actually, the minus Hughes, Kennedy, Melky and one more applies to B and C, too.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Exactly.

                  Furthermore, D is not listed because D does not happen. It’s not an option.

        • Chris C.

          “Ok, so cross off AJ then. So we now have Santana, CC, and Tex. Isn’t that better and worth the extra 30 mil to have Santana over AJ”

          Man, you are so damn greedy. You make it sound like the Yankees are thrifting out on you. There are fan bases out there that would have done backflips to be able to add AJ Burnett, but you consider him to be some kind of consolation prize.
          You deserve the Knicks, not the Yankees.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    So I told ownership, ‘Listen, six months really isn’t a long time to wait – though it turned out to be a long time for me, to be honest – and if we can have the patience and discipline, I can’t guarantee you we’ll be able to get Sabathia, but think about what our organization will look like if we can add him and keep these other assets.’

    I love you, Brian Cashman. You’re so wise. Like a miniature Buddha, covered in hair.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      “covered” in hair?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I’m not sure where you’re going with this.

        • Andy in Sunny Daytona

          No facial hair policy.

          • pete

            being able to apply any anchorman quote in almost any situation >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>abiding by facial hair rules

  • jsbrendog

    i wish my save the big 3 t shirt wasnt too small..for some reason it came short and shrunk on the wash so now its like a midriff shirt, like 80s workout video haha…unwearable

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      C’mon, be honest. You wear it even more now.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      Same happened to mine.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        Wash in cold water and dry on low heat. It’s not that tough guys.

        • jsbrendog

          you’re a towel.

          • Andy in Sunny Daytona

            …but a perfectly soft, fluffy folded towel.

  • Ivan

    Wow that’s pretty impressive that Hughes WAR was at 2.2

    It was the right move then, and was the right move now. Point is, Cashman looked at the long term of the yankees and decided that the best decision was not to trade for Santana and go after CC next offseason. The more you think about it, the more brilliant of a move it was. Cashman had a plan along, he knew he had tons of money off the books and I do think he eyed Tex for a while well into the Santana debate.

  • Free Mike Vick

    Wasn’t Jeff Marquez in the Santana deal as well?

    • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

      As an interchangeable part. So was Hilligoss at one point, I believe.

  • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

    The strategy looked good back then and looks good right now – but it seems the Mets have mismanaged Santana’s arm – and no one knows how it would have been with us.

    In reality we’ll probably only know if it was the right move in 4-5 years time but it sure looks good now

  • mustang

    I was one person who wanted Santana, but I didn’t want them to give up Hughes. I must admit Cashman plan worked out he was very lucky to get CC and have him be this successful.

    • pete

      “he was very lucky to get CC and have him be this successful”

      “very lucky” is a bit of a stretch on both accounts – cashman is a good negotiator and had a lot of money and a shot at the world series to offer. CC is one of the best pitchers in the game, in his prime, without an injury history. Obviously there was some luck in terms of CC not hating NY and taking a discount somewhere else, and some in terms of him not getting injured or randomly sucking, but i really don’t think many people would have thought it “lucky” when the yanks started going hard after cc that they a) acquire him, and b) that he would perform at a level consistent with his norms leading into this season. I think most reasonable people started to expect the year we’ve gotten out of CC around november last year.

      • Chris C.

        “very lucky” is a bit of a stretch on both accounts – cashman is a good negotiator and had a lot of money and a shot at the world series to offer.”

        I’m not sure how good a “negotiator” he is. The Yankees seem to overpay for everyone who comes here. I wouldn’t call landing a guy by offering him the most scratch a sound negotiating ploy.

        “Brian, here’s the best offer we got. Can you beat it?”
        “Yes”
        “Super…….you drive a hard bargain, but we’ll take it!”.

        • steve (different one)

          Heyman reported the Angels offered him $140M.

          if we believe this report, then Cashman’s bid wasn’t exactly crazy.

          we know the Sox bid $168M for Teix. we know the Braves bid $80M for AJ.

          of course he has to make the top bid. that’s not the same as “overpaying”.

          • Chris C.

            It’s also not really “negotiating”.

            You know what “negotiating” was? Getting the Rangers to pick up 9 mill per year and take Soriano for AROD. That was slick. But of course, that would all later become undone by some smooth-talking horse farmer from Florida.

            • steve (different one)

              fair enough.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Oh, hey, Chris, you’re back.

          Great.

          • Tom Zig

            Shame

        • mvg

          So you don’t remember CC wanting to stay in the NL and on the west coast? Or the stories of Cashman flying out there to Cali to sell his wife on coming to NY?

          There’s more to these negotiations than money. See Schilling, Curt and how the Red Sox signed him out from under the Yankees.

          • Tom Zig

            Schilling was traded to the Sox and agreed to a contract extension, that was kind of different

            • jsbrendog

              i believe schilling had a ntc and said he would only go to the yanks or sox and theo went to his house during thanksgiving to cconvince him to come to boston no? i could have made all or some of this up

              • Tom Zig

                That part is true. So i guess that’s what he was getting at.

                • nmc

                  i think he was saying that curt schilling is a dick

                • Chris C.

                  “i think he was saying that curt schilling is a dick”

                  He may be a dick, but anyone who can go to 4 World Series’ and come away with 3 rings without having to ride the Yankee coattails for this has got my respect!

                • mvg

                  Yeah, the Thanksgiving thing was what I was getting at.

                  Also, yes, Schilling is a dick. Not what I meant to be my point, but I won’t disagree : p

            • Chris C.

              “Schilling was traded to the Sox and agreed to a contract extension, that was kind of different”

              The Yankees version of that was how they got Randy Johnson.

              • Tom Zig

                Which didn’t allow us to get Carlos Beltran. That still irks me

                • Chris C.

                  “Which didn’t allow us to get Carlos Beltran. That still irks me”

                  Yeah, and Carlos Beltran has been so “big time” for the Mets. The only reason any Yankee fan would complain about not getting that guy is because the Yankees haven’t really made any effort to get a full time centerfielder since.

                  I thought Beltran was going to be a star too, but he never really stepped up to be the kind of on and off the field leader the Mets need.

                  Maybe he’d be different as a Yankee, but I don’t think he’s worth all that scratch as a Met.

                • jsbrendog

                  in his last 4 yrs with the mets:

                  ops + of 150, 126, 129, and 141 in only half a season this yr,.

                  3 gold gloves.

                  he is a star. leader maybe not, but he is a slid star with star numbers.

        • pete

          i didn’t say that cc’s was necessarily a tough negotiation – merely that cash is a good negotiator, and had it come down to good negotiating (as it did w/ tex), he would have been a good man for the job. Cashman’s job this winter wasn’t to try and get a steal of a deal, or find somebody in the cracks. It was to ensure that the yankees would be better than any other team out there. He did that.

  • toad

    Pitchers are always a high-risk proposition. Averages don’t tell the whole story. That was one good argument for not trading Hughes and Kennedy for Santana.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    At 25, Melky has 2148 Major League plate appearances under his belt and could yet turn into an adequate offensive outfielder.

    Somewhere in the great city named New York, a young outfielder has a tear in his eye as a friend translates this sentence to him in Spanish. Ben Kabak has kind-of-sort-of complimented Melky. :)

  • mustang

    Two Issues with your Santana break down:

    1- “This season, his velocity started trending downward”

    You guys were sing the same song in the winter of 2007-2008 it has yet to effect his results.

    2- I don’t think the money is that big of a issue.
    How much are they paying AJ?

    • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

      His WHIP has increased each of the last 5 years, while his SO/BB has decreased each of those years as well. He is declining.

      • Chris C.

        “His WHIP has increased each of the last 5 years, while his SO/BB has decreased each of those years as well. He is declining.”

        I’m having a hard time figuring out where you stand on Santana. On one hand, you say that the Yankees would have been contenders last year if they made the trade. And on the other, you’re saying they would have traded for a declining pitcher.

        So if you agree that Cashman was smart not making the deal, then how good the Yankees would have been with Santana last year means nothing. It has about as much relevence as wondering how good the Yankees would have been with Brandon Webb!

    • Tom Zig

      How much are they paying AJ

      A lot less than the Mets are playing Johan.

      • mvg

        About 6 mill per year, based off the total value of the contracts.

        • mvg

          A.D beat me to it.

    • A.D.

      1. Has yet to effect his results…in the NL. But yes, none the less you prefer those don’t trend down.

      2. There is a big difference between Santana and Burnett’s contract. Burnett is owed 82.5 over the 5 years. Santana is owed almost 100 million over the next 4. Their AAV on contract is the difference of ~6.5M per year

      • mustang

        Do you think that Santana is 6.5M per year better then AJ?

        I do.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Actually, this year, Burnett was worth $1.6MM more.

          (Though that was most likely due to Santana’s lack of health and Burnett’s health this season. But, that counts).

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        Santana is owed at least 98 million over the next 4 years, Burnett is owed 66. That’s an 8 million difference per year.

        • mustang

          And Santana is a ace with a history of few health issues while AJ is a 2 or 3 with a history of lots of health issues.

          • Andy in Sunny Daytona

            I guess that history is over for Santana now.

            • mustang

              He is going to be ready for Spring Training it’s not like he had tommy john.

              • tim randle

                so what? he could be ready today, its doesnt make a hill of beans…HE’S STILL ON THE METS :(

          • Mike Pop

            And Santana is a ace with a history of few health issues while AJ is a 2 or 3 with a history of lots of health issues

            But, that’s irrelevant. There was no getting Santana AND CC. Just wasn’t plausible.

        • A.D.

          Yeah but then we’re discounting that part of Santana’s deal was last year, and that he took less money early, thus i took the AAV of the actual signed contract (i.e. including this and last, not including the team option. Though I didn’t include the buyout which would raise it to almost a million more a year difference).

        • pete

          this is conjecture, so don’t take it as gospel, but AJ also seems like the kind of pitcher who could continue to mature and improve, without his stuff ever really dipping into the overly-hittable range. Santana is a flyball pitcher who relies on a fastball-changeup combination. His fastball is still around 92, which is enough, considering his excellent command and still filthy changeup, but much more and he’ll start looking a lot like andy pettitte. Andy’s great and all, but not for the money johan’s getting.

          AJ, meanwhile, is still very comfortably in that 93-95 range with terrific movement on his fastball, and a disgusting breaking ball. I don’t necessarily see him getting much better than he is now, but he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’s going to see a huge performance dropoff in the next four years.

    • Chris C.

      “1- “This season, his velocity started trending downward”

      Wasn’t this actually happening before he even got to the Mets? I read from a few scouts that some of his numbers were just starting to head south. Only slightly, but something that should be notible when throwing those kinds of prospects and loot around.

  • A.D.

    Plus, we reasoned, the Yanks wouldn’t have to pay twice for CC, first in prospects and then in dollars, as they would for Santana.

    This. When money is your greatest asset, why trade away the top of the farm just to hand out a record setting contract, you can out-bid anyone on the FA market if need be. Until there becomes some time when all young players are getting locked up through their prime before ever hitting FA, then there is no reason to pay big in cash & prospects.

  • mustang

    No one last winter thought the Yankees would sign the top 3 free agents even Cashman said he wouldn’t. Yet there they are so to say that a CC, Santana, Tex combo wouldn’t happen is a bit much.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Still wrong.

      The top three free agents that we signed were:
      1) An ace guy who got a 7yr/161M deal
      2) A heart of the order bat who got an 8yr/180M deal
      3) A clear NON-ACE, #2 pitcher who got a 5yr/82M deal.

      Yes, we signed the top three free agents, but what we really did was sign the two big ticket studs of the class and also sign a good but not great second tier guy. That’s what AJ is. It’s not like we signed three 150M plus deals all in the same winter. The difference between AJ’s 5/82 deal and the 7/150 we would have already had on the books if we made the trade for Santana is MAMMOTH.

      If we had Santana, we wouldn’t have signed CC. We would have went the safe-money route and signed AJ, figuring we already had one ace (Santana), a solid #2 (Wang), two aces-in-waiting (Joba and Hughes) and a slew of solid back end options with upside (Andy, Aceves, IPK, Mitre, etc.) We don’t need to add a second ace and a second 150M+ contract to that, we only need to add a good #2 like AJ Burnett.

      Adding Santana means no CC. It’s a fact. Stop with the pipe dreams, people. It’s one or the other. There’s no realistically feasible permutation that leads to both of them being on this team.

      • mustang

        So I guess when Felix Hernandez becomes a free agent they wouldn’t try to sign him since they have CC and they can take “safe-money route “.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Ugh.

          THAT’S NOT THE SAME SITUATION AND YOU KNOW IT. STOP BEING DENSE.

          • Tom Zig

            Getting angry is akin to allowing the terroists to win.

            Woosah TSJC, woosah.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Sorry. I got champagne in my eyes.

              /OldManPosada’d

          • mustang

            Why?
            They already have a ace in CC that they are paying 160 million too. Why then pay another ace at least that much?

            Who needs 2 aces in thier rotation? They should go the “safe-money route .“

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              I feel like I’m Andy Dusfrene, and you’re Warden Norton.

              • Joe D.

                That tears it. I’ll pull you out of that cushy fanbase and cast you down with the Royals. You’ll think you’ve been fucked by a train! And the Yankees? Gone…sold off to the Mets and Red Sox, player-by-player. We’ll burn that fancy new stadium down. They’ll see the flames for miles. We’ll dance around it like wild Injuns! You understand me? Catching my drift?… Or am I being obtuse?

                I’ll give you another month in solitary to think about it. No World Series for you. Just a TV playing a repeated loop of the 2004 ALCS.

                /Warden’d

            • Tom Zig

              CC may opt out don’t forget that part. Oh and we might have 3 aces in CC, Joba, and Hughes, so adding a 4th ace would be kind of cool.

            • TheLastClown

              Well, for one, Mr. ‘Stang, CC has the opt out option post-2011, conveniently when ol’ King Felix hits the market.

              It seems that if CC wants out, Felix comes in, unless of course they accidentally set it up that way…

              • Tom Zig

                or if CC wants to stay, Felix can come in anyways.

                That’d be one hell of a rotation, CC or not.

      • mustang

        “safe-money route ” and Yankees.

        LOL

        That might just be the funnest thing you have ever posted.

  • tim randle

    think about all the things that changed because we didnt sign santana…would the rockies have done as well as they have without giambi who was cut by the (some random california team) who wasn’t resigned by us? would we have let giambi go (i say of course but who really knows) if our outlook were different?

    giambi is an easy example because he has so many moving pieces, but i think most of us would have let him go–i wouldn’t have because i’m sentimental and over value current players but clearly that’s poor baseball judgement.

    look what its done to the mets? imagine what it would do to our fanbase to see CC (fill in what i refuse to write because im superstitious here)????

  • steve (different one)

    don’t forget that the yankees would likely have had to trade more prospects to fill the role that Hughes did in the bullpen this year.

    why not leave it at this: it *could* have worked out well with Santana, but it DID work out with CC.

    i know that everyone has SO MUCH invested in their side of the argument from last winter, but maybe it’s time to just let…it…go….on both sides.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      i know that everyone has SO MUCH invested in their side of the argument from last winter, but maybe it’s time to just let…it…go….on both sides.

      But a situation like this is guaranteed to repeat itself in the near future. Guaranfrickinteed.

      I want Yankee fans to learn the important lessons from this Santana/Sabathia story, so that we all make the correct analysis next time.

      • Zack

        Exactly.
        We look back on history to educate people and show why a certain decision was made.
        Because if we dont then we let guys like Francesa get away with wanting to trade Hughes and Ajax for McLouth over the winter, or other trade options that come up

    • mustang

      “i know that everyone has SO MUCH invested in their side of the argument from last winter, but maybe it’s time to just let…it…go….on both sides.”

      So agree.

      Done.

  • pete

    to all who are talking about having gotten Santana and then still getting CC and Tex this year: why would you do that? You’re financially handcuffing yourself for the next half-decade on three players after having traded away all of your viable cheap options for that time period and beyond. For a few years they’d have been unstoppable, no doubt – Santana-Sabathia could have been the single best 1-2 in history, but it likely would have prevented them from keeping/signing anybody else over the duration of their (and A-Rod’s) contracts. Imagine the insanity if the yankees couldn’t even afford to keep jeter even on a discount?
    It’s the guys we didn’t trade for santana that allow us to give out the big contracts that we need to give out sometimes. Without them, we’d need $2-5 million for every other player on the roster if we didn’t have our league-minimum guys.

  • Tank Foster

    Johan pitched in pitcher friendly parks in both his NL seasons, in AAAA. Given his declining numbers, I think Yankee fans might have ended up disappointed had the Yankees given up much to get him. Spending CC money on a guy and getting AJ numbers would not look good. We got the better lefty, I think.

  • YankFan

    Moshe, your lineup is off. We would not have Cabrera, so we would have had to spend money or even more players for a CF for 2008.

    • steve (different one)

      this is a good point b/c don’t forget that the “don’t make the trade” side of the ledger is still incomplete.

      what if Melky is swapped this winter for another valuable piece? what if Hughes turns into a solid, durable #2 starter?

      as bad as the no-trade looked last year, and as “solid” as it looks now, in 5 years, it could be a landslide.

      show a little faith, there’s magic in the new stadium.

  • Mike HC

    I think the jury is still out on this one, but as of right now, it looks like not trading for Santana was the correct option. Of course, there is a chance they could have also signed CC last offseason, by not signing AJ, and counting on the money that is coming off the books this year.

    Hughes, Kennedy and Melky all still have to develop. They are not even close to being there yet. Santana can easily bounce back (and he really never went anywhere) big time over the next couple of years. I would count on it actually. Let’s see how it plays out for next 5 years or so. So far, so good though.

    • pete

      gahhhh no. the jury is not still out. the decision was made when it was made. if CC suddenly starts sucking, that doesn’t render Cashman’s decision “wrong” it makes it unlucky. This is the same way of thinking that people who want to fire Girardi have because they can say “I didn’t agree with the move and then it didn’t work out, so I was right and he was wrong!” when in reality, people have to make decisions BEFORE the outcomes are known. The rightness/wrongness of a decision is a singular, unchanging fact that is based wholly on the information available to the decision-maker at the time of the decision. The decision was right when it was made, because many of the events that followed (signing CC, him being awesome) were, at the time, likely to follow.

  • mustang

    At the end this is less about CC and Santana and more about Santana and Hughes.

    No one knows (maybe only tommiesmithjohncarlos) who the Yankees would of sign if they got Santana.

    So its Santana’s decline vs. Hughes success the jury is still out on this one.

    • mvg

      Melky and IPK may take issue with this before their career is over. And the never agreed upon fourth player.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Yeah… no.

    • Ivan

      I think Tommie is saying that the Yanks were not signing 2 pitchers for well over 100M dollars. That wouldn’t be smart no matter what. Basically the Yanks felt they rather just spent money on CC rather than money AND talent for Santana if both pitcher were equal in talent/production.

      Add in the fact they would sign Tex (I believe was on of Cash goals for a long while) will have gave them 3 players with well over 100M contracts and 2 of them pitchers. AJ was a huge contract but thats chump change compared what Santana got and Santana was top flight caliber pitcher, where as AJ was 2nd tier wasn’t going to get 100M+.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        That.

  • Moboy

    Lets not get too crazy.Hughes isn’t Lincecum,Melky is still a fourth starter and KEnnedy is trade bait.

    • Chris C.

      ……and Santana is on the DL.

      So right now while he’s out,
      Hughes has been the set-up man who posted a 1.40 era as a reliever, Melky is hitting around .400 in the postseason, and Kennedy is making a resounding comeback in winter ball.

      So if you want to deal in the “now” instead of the future, there’s your present.