Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Memo to Hank Steinbrenner: There is not a single Yankee fan in the entire world who wants you to trade Phil Hughes for Johan Santana

From League Execs Predict Hank To Go For Santana -

"The Johan Santana Sweepstakes are likely to come down to whether new Yankees boss Hank Steinbrenner is willing to overrule GM Brian Cashman again. Steinbrenner wants to go for Santana, Cashman doesn't (at least not at the cost of Phil Hughes)."

This is for Hankenstein and anyone else who has any say in the future of our beloved baseball team:

DO NOT TRADE PHIL HUGHES FOR A PITCHER YOU CAN SIGN FOR JUST MONEY NEXT YEAR.

It would be the worst trade in recorded history.

I'm not sure I can make it any clearer.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Unless the inmates are running the asylum, Hughes won't be traded

I know I'm taking a bit of a leap of faith here, but despite multiple reports citing that the Yankees "haven't closed the door on Santana" (stories which every major newspaper in New York City will be publishing every week of the off-season and likely into the 2008 campaign as long as Santana remains with the Twins), I believe Phil Hughes will be safe.

I know several commenters have expressed concern over Hank "Hankenbrenner" Steinbrenner's proclamations of interest in Santana, and I don't have any hard evidence or knowledge to back me up here, but after reading how Brian Cashman was loath to give Hughes up to begin with coupled with the fact that the A's proffered a veritable king's ransom of prospects from the Diamondbacks in exchange for Dan Haren, the Yankees would not only be doing an extraordinary and ill-advised about face, but also delivering a huge slap to Yankee fans' faces if they now decided to mortgage the future after all the talk of nurturing our homegrown players and building from within.

Look at it this way: As per River Ave. Blues, the A's got the D-Backs' #1, 3, 7 and 8 prospects, as well as two additional presumably high-end minor leaguers.

If the A's received SIX top-notch minor leaguers for Dan Haren, you can bet your ass Minnesota will ask for the entire universe for Santana. Based on John Sickels' list of the top 20 prospects in the Yankees' system that was released earlier today, to simply match what the D-Backs gave the A's, the Yankees would have to surrender the following:

Joba Chamberlain
Ian Kennedy
Dellin Betances
Austin Romine

And that would almost certainly be in addition to Phil Hughes, and probably one or two other players.

So as you can see, despite the rumblings and grumblings about the Yankees being players for Santana if they can move Hideki Matsui's contract, a deal for Santana would not only add yet another $100 million-plus contract to the books, but utterly rape, pillage and plunder the Yankees' farm system. Unless Hankenbrenner has gone clinically insane, I think it's safe to say our boy Phil will be with the Yanks come opening day 2008.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Boohoo, some scumbag former Mets employee named names to try to save his own ass

Come on, New York media. Are we really up in arms over this?

Personally, I couldn't care less than Andy Pettitte allegedly used HGH to try to heal faster during his stint on the disabled list in 2002. Not only is HGH not steroids, but it wasn't even a banned substance in Major League Baseball at the time. Pettitte's done nothing wrong, and any Yankee fan that lets the Mitchell Report negatively affect their opinion of Andy is, to put it gently, a fucking moron.

Now Clemens on the other hand? I have no particular affinity for Rog. But even if the allegations are true, what does it prove? Were steroids able to help him strike more batters out? Stay in games longer? Sure, it's possible, but who knows?

I'm inclined to agree with those who felt that names should've been redacted in this report. While I'm not upset the report came out, linking specific players to steroids and HGH while leaving out countless others who were able to fly under the radar screams witch hunt to me, and ultimately I'm not sure what the purpose of all this was.

Do we have more knowledge of what some players allegedly did in the 1990s and early 200s with regards to performance-enhancing drugs? Yes, to a certain extent. Does it matter for the 2008 season? Probably not. The sense I get is that ever since steroids became such a hot-button issue, most players with half a brain probably realized it was time to cut ties with the needle, as it seems like we haven't heard about too many guys getting bagged save the occasional Jay Gibbons here and Jose Guillen there.

For me, the two biggest issues are (1) Will this deter players from doing steroids in the future? I'd say the answer would have to be yes, and (2) How will this affect Yankee fans' impressions of our players?

Well I'd put money down right now that when Dandy Andy toes the mound for his first 2008 start at Yankee Stadium, he'll get a bigger and longer standing ovation than anyone else.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

One step forward, two steps back

According to today's Post, "On the surface, trading Matsui, who is coming back from recent knee surgery, would mean the Yankees would be retaining Melky Cabrera, a key part of their discussions with the Twins in the Johan Santana talks. However, the Yankees have an interest in free-agent center fielder Corey Patterson."

Corey Patterson??? Proud owner of a career .712 OPS? Sweet Christ, did we not learn anything from employing the worst professional baseball player in American history in 2005? The only person likely salivating at the thought of this deal is Steve Goldman, as half of his 2008 columns will write themselves if Patterson is on the Yankee roster.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Determined to smite the youth movement, Yanks sign yet another ineffective 80-year-old middle reliever

Yankees closing in on LaTroy Hawkins with one-year, $3.75 million deal
[NY Daily News]

Looks like Christmas came early this year for David "Cookie Monster" Ortiz. Nice to see Cash thinking of Theo & the boys during the holidays.

What's the over/under on Hawkins' WHIP? 2? Come May, Antonio Osuna, Jay Tessmer & company better make some room at the top of the scrap heap of DFA'd relievers.

Friday, December 7, 2007

How do you say "Another weak dribbler to second" in Japanese?


The latest has the Yanks talking to the Giants about moving the very overpaid and very in love with grounding out to the second baseman Hideki Matsui. While Matsui's been nothing but a model citizen during his time with the team, his streakiness and horrible glove easily make him expendable, and I would have no trouble trading Mats in the right deal.

However, one problem that arises with this scenario is that, according to today's Daily Speculator, the Yanks are looking to move one of their ridiculously expensive aging veterans to free up payroll space for another run at Santana. If this is in fact the case, and Hughes is eventually thrown back into the fray, then I can't support a move like this.

Fortunately, no one in their right mind would want Mike Mussina, the corpse of Jason Giambi or Bobby Abreu at $16 mil/per. Matsui is really the only tradable commodity of that lot.

Now if the Yanks could somehow swindle the Gints into flipping Lincecum for Matsui, that's something I could get on board with, so long as we still don't trade for a pitcher who's not going to be traded anywhere else because the BoSox are bullshitting; the Mets, as we already discussed, have less desirable players than my 3rd grade little league squad; and the Dodgers and Angels are both smart enough to stay the hell away from this deal.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Nonstop laughter from Minnesota's executive leadership tying up trade talks between Mets and Twins

With the Yankees and Red Sox seemingly at an impasse with the Twins, the Mets are desperately trying to hone in on the Johan Santana trade action.

Unfortunately, GM Bill Smith has yet to hear any of Met GM Omar Minaya's trade proposals due to the nonstop laughter emanating from the direction of Smith and the Twins' executive leadership.

"We have some pretty good prospects. We have the players," Minaya was quoted as saying.

"Oh that Omar, what a card!" Bill Smith semi-blurted out while trying to catch his breath in between fits of uproarious laughter. "At first he reminded me of a little kid at Thanksgiving trying to sit at the grown-up table, but then I realized he was serious! Mike Pelfrey, Phil Humber and Carlos Gomez for Johan freaking Santana? That's some good shit! Judd Apatow, watch your back!"

Next to Smith was Twins Vice President of Player Personnel Mike Radcliff, doubled over on the floor and clutching his stomach.

"I know Omar's been dying to make a big splash, but his trade proposals have consistently been more entertaining than The Office -- especially those terrible hour-long episodes earlier this season," Radcliff chortled. "From the bottom of the Twins organization's collective hearts, we truly thank Omar Minaya for a gift that keeps on giving this holiday season."

Even hated rivals the Red Sox and Yankees were enjoying Minaya's unintentional Christmas present.

"It's adorable when a National League team tries to play with the big boys," said Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. "It's kind of similar to that fat friend that every group has who you only let hang around because he has all the latest video games."

Added Yankee GM Brian Cashman, clad in a Phil Hughes #65 replica Yankee jersey, "I love Omar, but self-delusion is cruel. I mean, who do the Mets even have? Jose Reyes and David Wright could arguably start on my team, but everyone else on the Mets? Let's just say I'd rather field an entire starting nine of Enrique Wilsons anchored by a rotation featuring Pascual and Melido Perez."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Blog posts like this make it all worthwhile

From Pete Abe:

"I sent an e-mail to Phil Hughes asking him how he was dealing with the trade talk. Here is what he wrote back:

It’s been tough trying to follow any of this the past week. One minute it’s a for sure thing, the next it’s not. I want to stay in NY and its good to know I have the backing of the fan base."

Damn right you have the backing on the fan base, Phil! We're doing everything we can to keep you in pinstripes!

Media: We long for a "Groundhog Day"-like scenario in which it's constantly 1985 and the Yanks are selling the farm for fading stars on a daily basis

According to Bill Madden (who, despite taking his licks from a good majority of many of my favorite Yankee bloggers whose opinions I hold in high esteem, I actually agree with every so often) , the Yanks are out of the running in the Johan Santana race.

This is obviously the best news ever (although until Santana is actually being fitted for an ugly red uniform, I won't hold my breath that the Yankees are truly out of it), but Madden's tone suggests he feels the Yanks should've pulled the trigger on a trade that would have apparently sent our man Hughes, Melky, Jeff Marquez (from what I've read, a slightly less-heralded version of Alan Horne) and Mitch Hilligoss to the Twins for Santana.

"The Yankee GM, who is staking his job on his young-gun pitchers, has walked away from a 4-for-1 trade of players the Twins were agreeable to for Johan Santana at the winter meetings that included Hughes, but not Ian Kennedy (as Minnesota initially requested) or any of the Bombers' other top prospects."

If this is indeed the case, then I have to seriously reevaluate my opinion of Brian Cashman. I've had many an argument with my Yankee-fan friends about Cash's merits and faults, and he usually ends up getting tossed under the bus once you start laundry listing all of his terrible acquisitions.

But if Cash really stood up to Hankenbrenner and said "Look, there is no way I'm trading away four kids from a farm system that under my watchful eye went from being utterly barren to one of the strongest in baseball in less than three years for a pitcher that the Red Sox are clearly still bluffing on obtaining and who can we throw gobs of money at to pitch for us next year," then my hat is off.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and his name is Theo Epstein

After Yanks' deadline passes, Red Sox jump into lead for Santana [ESPN]

Obviously the immediate result would sting for the Yanks, but as long as Phil Hughes remains in pinstripes we're still better off in the long run. Additionally, I don't give a shit about what happens north of Exit 6 on the Major Deegan.

Monday, December 3, 2007

If this situation isn't settled soon I may have a coronary

As insulting as it is that the Yankees deigned to offer Phil Hughes - considered by many to be the top pitching prospect in all of baseball pretty much ever since he was drafted - to the Twins over the weekend, incredibly the Twinkies still aren't wowed enough by the Yanks' offer and are pressuring them to include another top-flight prospect. Hopefully the Yankees are not this stupid. If they traded away Hughes and Ian Kennedy to the Twins, I'm not even sure what the point would be anymore.

All we've seen from these Yankee teams during the last four years are offenses that light it up during the regular season and fold like a house of cards during the playoffs, combined with average to mediocre pitching that a team like the Yankees can coast on for 162 games but then gets horribly, horribly exposed come playoff time.

The Yankees have tried to patch the starting rotation with awful free agent signings and trades. Jeff Weaver, Jose Contreras, Javy Vasquez (remember when he was supposed to be a sure thing), Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright and Randy Johnson have all taken their turns at sucking immediately after donning pinstripes.

Perhaps bitten by his weak talent evaluators, Brian Cashman realized that a barren farm system never got anyone anywhere in baseball, and finally starting focusing the team's vast resources toward drafting young talent in 2004. And this past year that patience finally paid off, yielding a trio of pitchers who any team in Major League Baseball would salivate at the thought of filling three slots in their starting rotation.

If the Yankees buckle from this nonexistent pressure from Theo & Co. (and really, is there anyone out there who still believes the Red Sox are a serious player in all this? Despite supposedly being willing to deal Jacoby Ellsbury, they still refuse to include both Ellsbury and Lester, and won't even think about trading Buchholz. That alone shows me that the Sox are far better evaluators of their own talent than the Yankees. Sure, Buchholz is a nice pitcher, but he's no Phil Hughes. I never thought I'd say this, but I'd almost rather have the Sox front office running the Yankees right now - you know they wouldn't dangle a prize like Phil Franchise), it will truly represent an end to this so-called new way of Yankee thinking. We will never again be able to believe the team when they claim they are embracing a youth movement.

Thankfully the Yankees have set an arbitrary deadline of today. I highly doubt we'll have any sort of resolution, but if I could have one wish this holiday season, it would be for the Twins to demand too much, the Yankees pull out and Hughes' name never mentioned in trade talks EVER AGAIN.

UPDATE: River Ave. Blues is reporting that Andy Pettitte is returning next year! If this is true, this is HUGE. This should allow the Yankees' desperation for Santana to wane. Thank you Andy! You just may have SAVED PHIL HUGHES!

Friday, November 30, 2007

If this trade is consummated it will haunt the Yankees for generations

Yankees ready to trade Hughes for Santana.

If there is a God, please do not let this happen for all that is sacred and good.

Posada: "Boo-hoo I'm old so let's mortgage the future for a guy no other team can acquire"

Way to be diplomatic there, hip-hip Jorge.

I understand why Posada, as a 53-year-old catcher with only so many chances left at a ring, wants Johan Santana so badly, but outright begging for the Yankees to trade for the man is pitiful.

After rededicating themselves to nurturing the farm system, it strikes me as mind-boggling that the front office would completely reverse course.

If I'm the yankees you HAVE to look at the bigger picture here: NO OTHER TEAM is going to come close to what the Yankees are thinking about offering.

It's becoming more and more apparent as the Phil Hughes hostage drama carries on that it's a one-team race. No other team can come close to matching a package of Phil and others. Yesterday's news had Boston dangling a quartet of players that no one gives a shit about. Simply put: Unless the Sox are willing to part with Jacoby Ellsbury, there is zero chance that Santana will ever don a Red Sox uniform.

Outside of the Sox there are no other contenders. The Angels and Dodgers keep getting mentioned, but as suitors for Miguel Cabrera. I could maybe see the Angels pulling something off if they lose the Cabrera sweepstakes, but the Dodgers? They haven't done anything noteworthy since leaving Brooklyn 40 years ago. (On a related note, if you're a baseball fan living in New York, do yourself a favor and go see the Museum of the City of New York's wonderful "Glory Days: New York Baseball 1947-1957" exhibit. You won't be disappointed.)

Getting back to the present, ultimately the Yankees are once again bidding against no one but themselves.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Yet another reason the Yanks shouldn't even think about dealing with the Twins

This is the same organization that let David Ortiz walk after the 2002 season.

I've often wondered how different the last few years would have turned out had the Yankees signed Ortiz instead of the Sox, and I think it's probably safe to say that the Red Sox' World Series championship drought would still be in effect to this day.

Just say no to giving the stupidest baseball team of all time the best pitcher the Yankees have ever produced.

The Phil Hughes hostage drama, day 649

It's great to see all the support I've received from many of the outstanding Yankee blogs I've been reading on a regular basis for the last four years - hell, River Ave. Blues turned it up a notch and already created merchandise.

As for our boy Phil, he obviously 100% agrees with everything we've been saying here, and had some choice words for Brian Cashman in today's News:

"It's not like you can get a guy like Santana away from the Twins for nothing. It's nice that other teams think highly of me, but I'm very happy with where I'm at. I'd love to stay," said Hughes, who went 5-3 with a 4.46 ERA in 13 starts for the Yankees this year.

"I've always had the mind-set of coming up and playing for the Yankees," said Hughes. "It was an exciting change in the philosophy of the way it used to be. Looking at the guys who came up this year - me, Joba and Ian - we can help in the rotation for years to come, which would be cool. Not many times do you get three guys 21 or 22 years old to fill three spots in the same rotation. "You can never assume things are going to happen, but it's fun to think about the way things could be."

I'm sorry, who wants to trade this man away again? He LOVES THE FACT THAT HE'S A YANKEE and knows that he, Joba and IPK will TEAR IT UP given the chance.

If I were Cashman I'd tell Bill Smith to either beg tightwad Carl Pohlad, he of 114th-richest American fame, for more money or stick it where the sun don't shine and enjoy one last season of Santana before having to wave goodbye to him for no compensation save two draft picks. This dangling Hughes as bait thing has GOT TO STOP. I've been looking forward to watching this kid dominate for the Yanks next year and many many years after that, and I simply cannot believe that the Yankee hierarchy could be this shortsighted.

SAVE THE BIG THREE

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

OK, just to play devil's advocate, here's who I would trade for Johan Santana

Psyche!

I wouldn't trade anyone from the Yankees' farm system for Johan Santana.

I would, however, be happy to make the following trade on behalf of Theo Epstein: Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia for Johan Santana. If the Sox want to make that move, I say let 'em.

As I said in a comment from yesterday's inaugural post, as great as Santana is, who knows how well he'll fare pitching half his games in the Fenway Park bandbox? The last thing Yankee fans should be worried about is what the Sox do. Sox fans worry about the Yankees -- not the other way around.

If Theo wants to mortgage his own farm, I can live with that. I know the Sox have shown that they're willing to part with talent to get talent, but in this case it seems unlikely. Epstein, Gammons et. al. talk about Ellsbury as if he's the second coming.

I would say 90% of the people who have come to this site so far have been overwhelmingly supportive of keeping Hughes. The minority in favor of trading for Santana have all cited the same concern: That Santana won't be available to pick up as a free agent next year.

I completely disagree. As highlighted above, I simply don't see the Sox being willing to part with that much young talent for Santana, when they can also make a play for him for just money next year.

And who the hell else not only has the quality prospects to entice the Twins but can also afford to pay the man the $25 million a year or so he's expected to command? The short list includes the Mets, the Angels Angels of Anaheim and the Dodgers. Unfortunately for the Mets, no one cares about their prospects, so unless Minaya wants to part with Jose Reyes, I'd say this deal is a non-starter. According to Mark Feinsand, the Angels are busy prepping a package for Miguel Cabrera, and if that deal were to go through, it's unlikely they would remain players for Santana. And who cares if Santana goes to the Dodgers? We're never going to see them.

Regardless, the News continues to stoke the fire that the Yankees are the leading candidate to land Santana right now, which is why getting the word out about this site is more important than ever. Do you want a lefty with 900-plus innings on his arm, or the most exciting young pitcher this side of Joba Chamberlain?

Phil Hughes has the chance to be a New York legend. During Game 3 of the ALDS against Cleveland, I couldn't have been prouder sitting in the upper deck and wearing my "HUGHES 65" tee as Phil was mowing the Indians down left and right. At the stadium as well as on the walk home from the subway, complete strangers were coming up to me giving me five and saying "that's the shirt to have tonight!"

Look, Santana is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and it's rather insane that he's even being shopped in the first place, which is why baseball should never let stingy billionaires own franchises.

But in this fan's mind, not even Santana is worth the man Pete Abe oh-so-wisely dubbed Phil Franchise.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

If the Yankees trade Phil Hughes for Johan Santana I will be forced to drop my lifelong allegiance and root for another team

Over the weekend there was a good deal of scuttlebutt regarding what it would take for the Yankees to trade for Johan Santana, namely top pitching prospect Phil Hughes, mediocre center fielder Melky Cabrera and outfield prospect Austin Jackson.

Despite Santana being one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball, I truly hope the Yankees aren't seriously entertaining the idea of trading one of the most exciting young pitchers their system has ever produced for a player they can have for NOTHING BUT COLD HARD CASH IN ONE YEAR.

The fact that deals are even hypothetically being thrown around makes me nervous. After witnessing the success of the trio of young pitching studs the Yanks introduced to us this year, the aforementioned Hughes, the sensational Joba Chamberlain (who has rightly been declared untouchable by the organization) and Ian Kennedy, coupled with years of ineffective free agent pitching signings and trades (see Neagle, Denny; Weaver, Jeff; Contreras, Jose; Brown, Kevin; ad infinitum) it looked like Brian Cashman and company were finally on the right track of developing pitching from within.

I'll never forget Tuesday, May 1, 2007. I was watching the Yankees play Texas with my brother, and it was Hughes' second Major League start. I had of course read all the hype surrounding Hughes for the past three years, and couldn't wait to see what he was going to do after a rocky first outing against Toronto.

As any Yankee fan can attest to, Phil didn't disappoint, and as batter after batter went down, my brother and I kept laughing in giddy amazement about what we were seeing. I've been watching the Yankees regularly since 1993, and even attended Dwight Gooden's 1996 no-hitter, and not only can I simply not recall being more excited during a regular season game than I was for Phil's near no-no, but I don't think I've ever been more excited for the opposing team's lineup to come to bat than my own.

Of course, Phil's brush with baseball history didn't quite turn out the way we had hoped, but everyone who saw the game that night knew that without a doubt, Phil Hughes would have pitched a no-hitter had he not pulled up lame with one out in the 7th.

After returning from the hamstring injury in August, Hughes' results were a bit mixed, although his peripherals were still sound. He seemed to really settle in come September, pitching the Yankees to a huge must-win victory against the Mariners early in the month, paving the way for the team to snag the Wild Card lead and never look back.

And what happened in October? I was fortunate enough to attend Game 3 of the ALDS against Cleveland, and simply witnessed the Yankees' only victory of the series authored by none other than Phil Hughes, in relief of an 80-year-old Roger Clemens.

Those in favor of a trade for Santana will cite Santana's track record as well as Hughes still being a relatively unknown commodity -- despite positive early returns, we don't know what Hughes will ultimately become.

However, after YEARS OF SHITTY STARTING PITCHING, I'm more than willing to take my chances with Phil Hughes in the rotation, who could very well deliver multiple Cy Youngs in the future. In 2004 we thought we were getting an ace when we traded Nick Johnson and Juan Rivera for Javy Vasquez. On paper it looked like a great deal, but the Yanks sure ended up getting bitten in the ass on that one, huh? Nick the Stick and his .400-plus OBP would look pretty damn nice at first base in 2008. And the following year, we traded for Randy Johnson, only to kick him to the curb two seasons later after subpar results, which were lowlighted by the punting of his two pivotal Game 3 playoff starts.

Now if the Yankees actually acquired Santana, chances are he'd be better than Vasquez and Johnson. But I think he has just as good a shot at coming over and falling far short of expectations as he does of dominating. Simply put, the Yankees do not have a positive track record of success in dealing for starting pitching.

Additionally, what Yankee fan in their right mind would prefer rooting for Santana over a top-flight Yankee farmhand? And getting back to my initial point, WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU TRADE FOR SANTANA WHEN YOU CAN SIGN HIM WITHOUT HAVING TO GIVE UP THE FARM IN 2009?

I can't stress this enough. What Yankee fan is so rabid for a championship in 2008 that they would actively mortgage a future of potential multiple championships for a shot at winning it next year?

Honestly, if the Yankees were to trade Phil Hughes, I might seriously have to consider switching my lifelong allegiance. I practically came out of the womb with a Yankee hat on, and I eagerly look forward to passing my Yankee fandom on to my son one day. But it would be very difficult for me to pull for the team if they traded away their most exciting homegrown player in more than a decade -- one that I have a serious rooting interest in and who has become my favorite player on the team.

I don't know who I'd root for. The National League is almost as boring as hockey, so the Mets aren't an option. I suppose I would have to vigorously campaign to bring back a third New York baseball team, which is actually a pretty cool idea regardless of everything I've written prior to this.

In conclusion, the Yankees absolutely cannot trade Phil Hughes to the Twins for Johan Santana. There is no conceivable way this deal makes sense to anyone with a brain, especially when (say it with me now) SANTANA WILL BE A FREE AGENT IN ONE YEAR. And if he gets traded somewhere else, who fucking cares? Let the Red Sox or the Mets unload all of their top prospects to get Santana. I'll be more than happy as Joba, Hughes, Kennedy and Horne pitch us to many, many championships over the next decade-plus.

e-mail: keephughes@gmail.com