To be honest, this Johan Santana talk has gotten a little bit out of hand. Names and crazy deals are flying left and right, and the papers in Boston and New York are feeding this media frenzy like no other.
Luckily, a voice of reason is trying to speak out through this riotous din. For that glimpse of sanity, we turn to the Twins beat writer for [name of paper], LaVelle E. Neal III. In a piece on the Santana trade discussions , Neal urges everyone to take a step back. Not only is a trade still not even all that close, but more teams are involved than just the Yanks and Red Sox.
Blasphemy, I know, but take a look:
Several teams — including the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Angels and Dodgers — have expressed interest. And it was learned on Thursday that the Mariners are in the running, too…
Smith said the Twins could be one of the busier teams next week at the winter meetings in Nashville.
“We’re just looking for the best players we can get,” he said. “Obviously, we’d like to continue add core players at any position. We’ll see what the winter meetings bring, and what’s in the following months.”
So calm yourselves. As you can see, no one’s getting traded yet, and the Yanks aren’t about to do something stupidly drastic such as trading Robinson Cano with a package of players for a guy who’s going to pitch once every five days.
We should all really take a deep breath, back off the trade talk and keep things in perspective. The Yanks are not alone in the hunt for Santana; things are a long way from being settled; and nothing foolish is going down. (At least, nothing more foolish than trading Lastings Milledge for Brian Schneider and Ryan Church.)
Mark Loretta signings asides, based on reports this morning, it sounds like the Yanks aren’t even considering trading Robinson Canó. Jack Curry at The Times writes that the latest trade offer includes “pitcher Ian Kennedy, center fielder Melky Cabrera and at least one minor league prospect, perhaps outfielder José Tabata.” The Yanks feel they could have Santana if they offered up Hughes, but they are rightfully reluctant to part with the youngster. Canó’s name is not at all mentioned. Just say no to trading Canó.
Caught this one off a link from Buster Olney’s blog. Apparently, the Yanks are close to a deal with Mark Loretta. This comes in reference to the Rockies showing interest in the infielder:
However, the Rockies don’t like their chances, believing he will end up with the Yankees. While that deal is close, Loretta has made it known how much he likes the Rockies and would prefer to see how their second base situation plays out before signing with the Yankees.
According to Troy Renck, the Rockies have “as many as six internal candidates” for second base. They want to sign Loretta to add competition to the positional battle. This scares me.
Why? Because he’d have a far better shot at starting on the Rockies than he would the Yankees. Unless, of course, they planned to send Robinson Cano to the Twins in a Johan Santana deal. That would guarantee Loretta a starting job, or at least an unbiased competition with Wilson Betemit.
Of course, it could just be the money, and the Yankees are surely offering more. But with a full infield and Betemit as the backup, this report really makes one wonder if there’s something brewing at Yankees HQ.
As we know, Jorge Posada officially signed his contract yesterday, and had a little something to say when he did:
“We need a No.1, and I think that’s one of the reasons we’re going after Santana. It is a need in October, no question about it. When you look at the past World Series champions, they were able to have a No.1 throwing at least two games to win the title.”
First off, the claim about past World Series. Josh Beckett, 2007, one game start. Chris Carpenter, 2006, one start. Mark Buehrle, 2005, one start. Curt Schilling, 2004, one start. You have to go all the way back to 2003 to find an ace going twice in the World Series. Now, Posada could have meant twice during the playoffs, in which case my response would be: “Duh!”
Mostly, though, I want him to shut up because we don’t need this shit right now. We know how the media in New York operates. Jorge says his thing, and all the outlets are clamoring for Santana because a player now wants him. There’s a reason, though, why few former players become GMs, and further reason why a good number of them (::cough:: Kenny Williams ::cough::) aren’t all that good at their jobs.
So spare us, Jorge. The Yankees will do what the Yankees need to do to win in 2008. And if that means hanging onto the Big Three, so be it. You know there would be no complaints from us.
Whether they want to pursue this philosophy or not, the Yankees won’t be overspending on bullpen help this year. Two pitchers the Yanks had targeted to some degree — Troy Percival and David Riske — have opted to go elsewhere, and that’s probably a good thing.
According to Buster Olney, Riske, the Brewers and a multi-year contract worth about $4 million per are a good fit. For Riske, his timing couldn’t be better. The Brewers just lost their closer, Riske had a great season and Scott Linebrink and the White Sox just torpedoed the relief market.
So Riske, 31, with decent career numbers, will get a large contract and probably break down at some point. At least, that’s what always happens to the Yanks when they sign relief pitcher to large deals. Strike that one off our list.
Percival, the Yanks’ other target, is heading for a two-year, $8 million payday with the Rays. While the Yanks were willing to pay Percival more to set up for Mariano Rivera, the Rays are offering Percival and his 324 career saves a chance to close. Maybe now the Rays will actually manage to beat the Red Sox once in a while.
I’m not that upset about missing out on either of these players. Riske is probably the safer bet, but he’s getting overpaid. Meanwhile, Percival is just a few years removed from basically retiring from baseball due to inoperable arm problems. After spending 2006 on the bench, he threw 40 innings for the Cardinals in 2007.
But here’s his dirty little secret: Percival, 38 and not getting any younger, pitched on back-to-back days twice all season, and one of those times was for 0.1 innings in a 15-1 blowout. The Yanks already have one headcase reliever who can’t throw on back-to-back days. Why do we need another who’s one slider away from blowing out his arm?
So with these deals, thus ends the Yanks’ half-hearted desires to sign two guys who, like the nationally televised Knicks are getting paid too much. I like this approach almost as much as I like the internal options the Yanks have available. Maybe they’ve finally learned that expensive relief options are just as ineffective as inexpensive options.
I just wanted to get this up on top, but be sure to pick up one of our “Save The Big Three” shirts. They make great holiday gifts for the kids, the dog, grandma, whoever. And perhaps even more importantly, every purchase helps offset the increasingly expensive hosting costs of this fine blogging establishment. So make sure you go here and order a shirt (or twelve) if you haven’t already.
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Remember that source I lampooned a bit this morning? Well, now Buster Olney is reporting it, too. He mentions the same players from this morning, only Michael Bowden as a possible replacement for Justin Masterson.
It is also possible, as the rival Yankees and the Red Sox simultaneously engage Minnesota in discussions for Santana, that the Red Sox could go to the brink of a deal in order to push the Yankees to go high in their offer as well, like two competing bidders at an auction. The Yankees, who have been involved in regular conversation with the Twins about Santana this week, may be doing the same thing — trying to push the price high for Boston.
Here’s to hoping that’s Boston’s strategy. Here’s to further hoping the Yanks don’t take the bait.
Update by Ben: Just something to keep in mind: This is the Red Sox equivalent of the story that the Yanks and Twins had entered into preliminary talks. For the Yanks, the keyword was “preliminary,” and for the Red Sox, the keyword is “framework.” It’s all the same stuff, folks. These are just initial discussions. We shouldn’t get too worked up by it. These rumors will increase before a trade happens. Nothing is imminent.