The Yankees made an about face in regards to their organizational strategy and one has to wonder if they have taken it too far in refusing to package Kennedy up with Hughes to land Johan.
Last year Philip Hughes was ranked as Baseball America's #1 minor league pitching prospect. Is it reasonable to thus expect him to fulfill his expectations? Let us look at BA's top three pitching prospects each year starting with 1990: Steve Avery, Ben McDonald, Kiki Jones; 1991 - Todd Van Poppel, Roger Salkeld, Arthur Rhodes; 1992 - Brien Taylor, Van Poppel, Salkeld; 1993 - Taylor, Van Poppel, Jason Bere; 1994 - James Baldwin, Jose Silva, Darren Dreifort; 1995 - Armando Benitez, Bill Pulsipher, Alan Benes; 1996 - Paul Wilson, Benes, Livan Hernandez; 1997, 1998 - Kerry Wood, Matt White, Kris Benson; 1999 - Rick Ankiel, Bruce Chen, Brad Penny; 2000 - Ankiel, Ryan Anderson, John Patterson; 2001 - Josh Beckett, Jon Rauch, Ben Sheets; 2002 - Beckett, Mark Prior, Juan Cruz; 2003 - Jesse Foppert, Jose Contreras, Gavin Floyd; 2004 - Edwin Jackson, Greg Miller, Scott Kazmir.
I am not saying that Hughes will be worthless, but you keep hearing Rob Neyer mention in chats that any young pitcher is and extremely unlikely bet to win 100 games in their career. For the Yankees who are looking to put wins up now and compete now, Johan is just about a slam dunk to outperform Hughes over the next seven years and add more value if you remove money from the equation, which is not something I would typically encourage for teams not the Yankees.
Also, the Yankees have built a ton of depth. They have Joba, who might be Jebus incarnate, and Horne as pitching prospects near big league ready if they did move Hughes and Kennedy. The comparison between Horne and Kennedy has been that Kennedy is more refined whereas Horne has better stuff, but further away from contributing and less of a bet to attain his ceiling.
You also cannot ignore the existence of Humber Sanchez, though counting on him shouldn't be high on the Yankees to do list, the high ceiling of Dellin Betances, and Andrew Brackman who could be just as good as any pitching prospect out there. In fact, many teams would be ecstatic to have those five as their top arms and some might actually murder someone. I'm not talking about murder in the hyperbole sense, but actual cold blooded murder. Also, te Yankees can feel free to draft more pitching in 2008 to supplant the two that they lost.
The Yankees could spend on Johan and not blink. They have serious cash coming off the books in 2009 that will easily cover his salary and will be able to add more revenue after their new stadium opens up. Some teams are not in a postion to give up two of their three best pitching prospects, but the Yankees are one of the few teams that could do that. Throw on top of it the fact that if you get Johan Santana, Boston does not get him and that is no small thing considering the best team in the bigs would get substantially better. That should help assauge any wound left by missing out whatever Hughes turns into.
I like how the Yankees now value their young players, but having Kennedy be a deal breaker is truly silly, unless they really do not want Santana. With Wang and Joba around, the Yankees will still have youth in the rotation with more on the way. If the interest is genuine on the Yankees behalf, it is beyond me how it has not gotten done as of yet. They simply cannot get this deal done with Melky as the #2 piece the Twins are getting back and giving up Kennedy in addition to Hughes should be an acceptable casuality for the Yankees and a great haul for the Twins.
It does however look like he is gearing up for National Talk Like a Pirate Day.
The Tigers get him for a three years as opposed to a four year deal that he would be looking for on the open market and for a few million less than they would have to pay a comparable pitcher. Also, the upside is that if he gets a bit of his mojo back, he is unequivocally a bargain. So while on the surface it looks insane just like the Gil Meche deal did, it will probably end up not looking quite as bad just like the Meche deal.
The real hard part is to watch the entire thing at work. I had made it about 1/3 of the way through before I had to shut it off due to excessive laughing at wacky foreigners.
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