MLB.com reporter Jim Molony recounts a TV bit regarding Andy Pettitte which might make Yankees fans very happy:

On Tuesday, Pettitte told KRIV-TV that he could pitch another 10 years if he wanted to and, at the very minimum, would like to help the Yankees open their new stadium in 2009.

“I really believe now, especially after playing with the Astros and pitching with my elbow the way it was when I needed the surgery, I realize now I could go out and probably pitch until I’m 45 years old, because I was throwing 82, 83 miles an hour and still being able to compete, maybe because I’m left-handed or whatever,” Pettitte said.

“Everybody wanted me to come back. My wife realized that if she would have said, ‘Let’s shut it down,’ I would have definitely done that. She was like, ‘Let’s see how it goes one more year.’ So with that support and all of my teammates’ support, no matter what, wanting me to come back and do this again, that’s probably the big thing.

“One of the main [reasons] this was such a tough decision for me, one year could lead to another, maybe. For the main reason, if I’m healthy and if my family wanted to support it again, we would consider it, but also the Yankees are going to have a new stadium. I know down the road, when we get through this season, that will be in the back of my head also. That would be awfully nice, to play in that new stadium.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say that was some of the stuff that you think about. I realize there are some things that could be enticing that tie me into playing even another year.”

Give him the Wakefield treatment!

Hat tip to My Pinstripes.

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Geeze, it’s been over three hours since our last Santana post. Apologies. I’m sure you’re twitching in your seats, possibly kicking things and seeming very irritable to coworkers. Fret not. Your fix is here. This should tide everyone over for the next hour or so.

Apparently, the Red Sox are prepared to “improve their offer” for Johan Santana. So, like we thought, it appears that Lester, Crisp, Masterson, and Lowrie won’t get the job done.

Still, does adding quantity to the deal make it better? Would nabbing Lars Anderson or Brandon Moss further ease the Twins into making this deal? I would hope not. More players involved means that the level of those players isn’t particularly high. Else, the Red Sox wouldn’t be trading them.

The sticking point for me (and it’s been said ad nauseum): Why do the Twins want Crisp? It makes no sense.

Further, and I invite Sox fans to answer this, do you really think that Ellsbury is that much greater than Melky that Hughes + Melky isn’t as good as Lester + Ellsbury? I mean, I’m not the biggest Melky fan (you don’t say), but I don’t think his inferiority to Ellsbury trumps Hughes’s superiority to Lester.

Meanwhile, Buster Olney reports:

Here’s the deal Minnesota pitched to New York last night: P Phil Hughes, OF Melky Cabrera, P Jeff Marquez and either P Alan Horne or OF Austin Jackson.

Marquez I can deal with. But, as I’ve said, I’m very opposed to dealing Hughes. But it’s not like the Yanks didn’t budge.

Update: As for Haren, Mike at Canyon of Heroes has the perfect quote:

“Trading away any of our top prospects for Haren is a sure fire way of making the Javier Vazquez mistake all over again.”

Perfect.

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Jon Albaladejo   |   RHP

Background
Albaladejo was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and became the first player ever drafted out of Colegio Janil High School when the Giants selected him in the 34th round (1021st overall) of the 2000 draft. Albaladejo didn’t sign, and instead headed to Miami-Dade College, a 2-yr institution. After a soild but unspectacular year with the Sharks, Albaladejo re-entered the draft pool in 2001, and was taken by the Pirates in the 19th round (564 overall). He signed with the Bucco’s in the days following the draft.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The word all over the place (including the comments) is that the Red Sox are prepared to offer Jon Lester, Coco Crisp, Justin Masterson, and Jed Lowrie to the Twins for Johan Santana. This is after the Yankees rejected a swap of Hughes, Melk, Horne, and Ajax. While I firmly believe that what the Twins asked of the Yanks is of greater value than they will reportedly receive from the Red Sox, I’ll try to avoid pitching a fit about it.

If the Sox want to do that, so be it. It makes a ton more sense for them. Lester is immediately replaced with Santana; Crisp wasn’t going to start anyway because of Ellsbury; Lowrie is blocked by Youkilis, Pedroia, and Julio Lugo’s contract; Masterson is something like Alan Horne, just not as far along in his development.

Meanwhile, the Yanks would have replaced Hughes with Santana, but then would have had to either lessen their outfield defense with the loss of Melky. True, Gardner could have slid into that spot eventually, but he’s unknown, too. Less known than Ellsbury in any event. Then you have Ajax, who just had a monster breakout year, and Horne, who could serve as an injury fill-in next year or as a bullpen cog. And, as I said, he’s further along than Masterson, and I’d venture to guess they have roughly the same chance of panning out.

And that’s not even mentioning the superiority of Ian Kennedy in this deal.

So while this isn’t tasking for Nick Johnson and Alfonso Soriano and then taking Casey Fossum and Brandon Lyon, the Sox are clearly getting the better deal here. Some of it is a lesser breed of players, and some of it is the necessity of those players to the Sox overall scheme.

Update: After exchanging emails with a friend, I think I’ve found a comparable package from the Yanks: Hughes, Melky, Horne, Alberto. Then you have Hughes greater than Lester, Melky greater than Crisp, Horne and Masterson on equal ground, and Lowrie greater than Alberto. I suppose at that point that it would be up to the Twins to decide which parts they value more. Just remember, though, Hughes’s minor league career is superior to even the biggest MLB stars.

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By now, it’s clear that we’re not going to get a resolution to this whole Johan Santana business tonight. But allow me to leave you with two reports which bode well for our efforts but not for Johan Santana’s Bronx future.

In one corner, hailing from ESPN.com and the fine city of Philadelphia, is Jayson Stark with this report:

The Yankees’ “by Monday night” deadline came and went. And Johan Santana was still a Twin when Tuesday arrived at the winter meeting. But even though the Yankees and Twins were still talking about different combinations as the night grew later and later, there was no indication that they were any closer to a deal for Santana than they were four days ago. In fact, if anything, the momentum seemed to be in the opposite direction. Officials from other clubs said several of the Yankees’ baseball personnel at the meetings had begun openly questioning whether they even wanted to make this trade if the Twins said yes. “The more this goes on,” said one AL executive, “the less they want to do it.”

And in the other corner, hailing from Sports Illustrated and the proud city of New York is Jon Heyman, with a report that the Yankees and Twins are at an impasse:

With the Yankees and Twins making limited progress as the Yanks’ self-imposed midnight deadline came and went, the Twins have rekindled talks with the Red Sox and are asking Boston to present a deal including top young lefthander Jon Lester.

People involved in the talks said they believe the situation is coming to a head and that Minnesota will make its call, one way or the other, in fairly short order. The Yankees have been seen as the favorite, but Boston may have renewed hope based upon the midnight phone call.

The Twins, according to Heyman, want Ian Kennedy or Alan Horne and Austin Jackson in addition to Phil Hughes and Mekly Cabrera. To which I say, “Yeah, right.”

Meanwhile, the Twins say they were “amused” by Hank Steinbrenner’s meaningless deadline. Of course, that deadline is only meaningless if the Red Sox don’t scale back their offer under the assumption that the Yanks are truly uninterested in Johan Santana.

For the Yanks’ part, the deadline just shows the internal divide over trading Phil Hughes. They’re not about to turn their backs on Johan Santana just yet, and it sure would be hard to argue against a rotation fronted by Santana, Pettitte, Wang and Joba Chamberlain, however.

Is a member of the Save the Big Three coalition beginning to crack? Stay tuned tomorrow.

Update 1:46: This Jayson Stark article has more info. The Twins didn’t extend a counterproposal after the Yanks rejected the 4-for-1 offer Heyman mentioned, and they reiterated their stance in regards to keeping Ian Kennedy. This could be falling apart for now. But “for now” is simply temporary when it comes to the Yankees.

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According to an anonymous report in the Washington Post, the Yankees did manage to complete a trade on Monday. They reportedly sent Tyler Clippard to the Nationals in exchange for promising 25-year-old reliever Jonathan Albaladejo. While there was really no place for Clippard in the Bronx, he may yet get his chance to start for the Nationals. Albaladejo threw 14.1 innings for the Nats last season with a 1.88 ERA and a 0.63 WHIP. He struck out 12 and walked 2 and immediately becomes a cog in the Yankees’ bullpen.

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