Funny Ha Ha / Winter Meeting Madness
Yet another instant classic. Back to some baseball...
But if the Red Sox wind up sweeping Santana out from under them -- and adding him to a rotation that already includes Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling and Daisuke Matsuzaka -- it will be fascinating to see if the Yankees feel the need to respond by reeling in another ace of their own.
"If the Red Sox get Santana," said an executive of one NL team that's grateful to be in the other league, "they might be the best team in the history of the frigging universe."
Nothing wrong with raising the bar a bit even if you did just win the World Series and it is safe to assume that landing Johan would be raising the bar.
The two deals on the table are John Lester, Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie, and Justin Masterson or another player versus Jocoby Ellsbury, Justin Masterson, and Jed Lowrie. Decisions...decisions. For me, the best thing for the Twins to do would be to take deal number one.
I like Ellsbury, but he has seem to taken on a life of his own in terms of prospect status and while he is a good centerfield prospect, he is not worth that much. He is 24 and has not showed an ounce of power in a pretty big sample size in the minors. He is going to be a solid player, but I actually think the first package gives them more impact players. The Red Sox would probably be better off with them taking deal number two and keeping pitching depth in their system or using Lester in another trade.
Lester slots into the rotation right away and has front end potential and Jed Lowrie could be an offensive star in the bigs while Masterson gives them decent arm in their system. Also, let us not forget that Crisp was pretty good in 2004 and 2005 for the Indians and might have a nice bounceback year outside of Boston and actually outplay Ellsbury over the next three seasons. People have soured on him a lot, but the fact is he is still young and still talented and could very well revert back to form. Afterall, he would not be the first guy that could not cut it in Boston (see Edgar Renteria, Julio Lugo, Matt Clement).
It is hard to envision Santana leaving and not bringing back a starting pitcher being they just gave up two, but they seem to like Ellsbury that much. No matter who they end up getting from the Sox, at least he is not a Yankee. With the Mets boldly dishing off a top tier talent for Church and Schneider, the Yankees landing the world's best pitcher would just be insult to injury.
Here are the three pitching prospects the Tigers are sending to the Marlins in the Cabrera-Willis deal: right-handers Eulogio De la Cruz (3.62 ERA in the minors with a blazing fastball), Dallas Trahern (13-6 between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo) and Burke Badenhop (12-6 between Lakeland and Erie).
Apparently that De La Cruz guy hit triple digits with his fastball. All in all, the Tigers have balls. They made a huge deal and gave up some solid players, but got the second best right handed bat in the game at 24 years old and the resources to keep him around. Also, you have to give it to the Marlins. They made another good deal and truly seem to be a fair trading partner that a lot of small market teams should take notes from. No matter how much it hurts to trade a guy, good deals can be made.
But while Bedard's cost, in terms of dollars, is far less than that of Santana, the Orioles believe Bedard's value, in terms of the talent they should receive in return, is just as high as that of the two-time Cy Young winner from Minnesota -- who is still expected to be traded to either the Yankees or Red Sox in the next day or two, with the winning bidder signing him to a contract extension worth perhaps $150 million.
Bedard has been impressive the last two years, but he still has not notched 200 innings, his k/9 in 2007 was way above anything else he has ever done, and he is actually older than Johan. Also, if you get Santana, you get him for another six or seven years due to the negotiation window. You have to pay out of your ass for him, but you will retain him.
With Bedard, he is only under control for two more years and there is no guarantee at all that he would signing with whatever team acquires him. Is he worth the same haul as Johan? Probably not. He obviously has a ton of value, but we will see if McPhail ends up working something out.
One NL talent evaluator who loves Bedard said, "Bedard is closer in talent to Santana than Haren is to Bedard. In fact, it is not impossible to believe that in a year, we will all think Bedard is better than Santana." An AL executive said, "Here is what impresses me about Bedard, he pitches in the AL East against the Yankees and Red Sox. So, to me, he can pitch anywhere and excel."
Of course it depends if you think Bedard has turned that corner at age 28 to become an elite pitcher or if you think he had a career year and is likely to regress a bit.
One AL team official, in previously providing a scouting report to The Post on the 32-year-old Kuroda, classified his fastball as "average to slightly above average." The official also praised Kuroda's forkball, strike-throwing ability and competitiveness. Kuroda will require a multiyear deal.
This is looking like the better thing to do day by day so the Mets can keep a semblance of a farm system because the asking price for Haren and Bedard are sky high. Also, with the Mets lack of intriguing prospects, it is increasingly unlikely a deal would ever get done. I know the Mets do have some talent, but other teams are just not enthused about them.
The trade of Quentin — to the Chicago White Sox for a low-level minor league first baseman — does nothing to damage the D-Backs’ chances of trading for a high-end starting pitcher, Byrnes said. The D-Backs’ best trading chip appears to be Double-A outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, whose path to the majors is blocked by Justin Upton. Speedy second baseman Emilio Bonifacio is also drawing interest from other clubs, including Washington.
I still have faith in Quentin. The White Sox got themselves a nice right fielder who should be able to put up some pretty damn good numbers from day one. It would have been nice if the Mets could have spun a three way as I would of rather had Quentin in right with Milledge heading to Chicago. But alas, the Mets have become infatuated with elder players.
Just a view from the other side:
Andrew (London, UK): Jayson, I understand what you're saying, but the fact of the matter is that Milledge's OPS was only 26 points less than that of Church, he's older with less upside, Schneider is AWFUL offensively (.336 SLG), and the Mets already have Estrada and Castro behind the plate. Even if Milledge's value is in decline (which I don't think it is - any outfielder who is as good as he is defensively, with an OPS of almost 800 in just 140 AB at age 22, plus he's cost controlled - has trade value), why not let him play every day for awhile to let him re-establish his value?
Jayson Stark: (1:26 PM ET ) You make great points. If this were the only move the Mets were going to make this winter, I'd be with you all the way. But Castros isn't an every-day catcher. They obviously didn't think Estrada was what they had in mind. So they have more well-rounded pieces to deal with now, I think. All they had before was outfielders. So they had to make two deals to address their needs, not one. For pure tools, the Nationals got the best player in the trade. But it makes some sense for both sides. Remember, Omar Minaya feels the heat to WIN RIGHT NOW. If he waits around for Milledge to put it together, somebody else will be the GM of that team.
Otis (Toronto, ON): This is dedication: 1. Start your chat at the office while closing door to office and declaring a "brainstorming session" 2. Continue on the commmute home via blackberry 3. Continue chat on the home computer, taking breaks for smokes and steaks that being said, how close are we to having the Knicks banished to the WNBA?
Bill Simmons: That a boy, Otis! I like the idea of banishing the Knicks to the WNBA - Renaldo Balkman would be the 10th most attractive player in the league.
"A deadline is a deadline. It was pretty much done as of this morning," Steinbrenner said on Tuesday, according to AP. "He's a fine pitcher, but there's a lot of things that go into this. This isn't fantasy baseball."