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   1. Darren Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:47 AM (#2628841)
One question I have on the various packages being bandied about: how far apart are Phil Hughes and Jon Lester. Hughes is ahead but I don't think the gap is really large. Hughes had the better minor league career (by a healthy margin) and they've been about the same in the Majors. Both seem like they have very good major league stuff but have yet to harness it effectively.
   2. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:52 AM (#2628845)
When I say it, nobody believes me.

Also, I hope the Yankees offer a ridiculously large offer for Santana. because then they'd end up not being able to trade for about 2 years.
   3. JB H Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:55 AM (#2628848)
I think Lester is miles behind Hughes.

I also think some teams would much rather have Lester.

Peter Gammons had some tidbit where he asked GMs at the first meetings this offseason who they prefer and it was overwhelmingly Lester.
   4. Darren Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:57 AM (#2628852)
Why do you think he's miles behind? Age? Stuff?
   5. Valentine Posted: November 30, 2007 at 06:04 AM (#2628857)
Kevin Goldstein rates Lester between Buchholz and Ellsbury, both themselves 5-star prospects. Compare his numbers to Garza and they aren't as far apart as their ERAs would have you think. Hughes is better, but TANSTAAPP applies. Their proven performance is similar.

Doesn't matter, though, as long as the Yankees refuse to offer Hughes in that deal. They could offer their next 30 prospects and not beat a Lester/Lowrie/Bowden/Crisp package. Quality makes the deal, not quantity.
   6. Joel W Posted: November 30, 2007 at 06:11 AM (#2628864)
Valentine,

I'm quite sure if the Yankees offered Joba, Kennedy, Jackson, and Tabata they'd do just that.

It's quite ridiculous, but it's entirely possible that Lester's 5 1/3 innings in the WS could be the difference between the Red Sox landing Santana and not.
   7. villageidiom Posted: November 30, 2007 at 06:19 AM (#2628868)
What I can’t put my finger on is the value of getting the chance to negotiate with a premier player.

That value is high to Boston, but nil to Minnesota. They've already found they can't get anything out of negotiation. If they want to trade Santana to improve on the 2 draft picks they'll get when he leaves, the only way it happens is if Santana is compelled to waive his no-trade. And no amount of prospects going to MIN will move the needle on that; Santana won't care.

People seem to keep evaluating the package as weak based on the value Boston will get. But there's a rather large gap between the value Minnesota has currently (one year of Santana plus the inevitable picks) and what value Boston will have if the trade goes through (5-6 years of Santana). Boston is offering a package that is greater value to Minnesota than what they have currently, and the only thing that will raise that bid closer to the value Boston gets is if there's a bidding war. While it might seem like Minnesota has no reason to make the deal, they do.

OTOH, they can hold out for more. By the July trade deadline some contender will surely see a pitcher head to the DL. They could nab a desperate team at the right time. But then come a few snags. First, midseason negotiation with Santana might get messy and shoot down a potential deadline deal. Second, the contending team in question might not have much to offer in terms of prospects. Third, the scenario might not happen anyway. But the biggest reason is that the pitcher heading to the DL could be Santana himself. While they could get a lesser package if the DL pitcher is Roy Halladay instead of Josh Beckett, for example, they get nothing if Santana goes to the DL. The offseason is the safest time to deal him.

I'm not saying the Twins can't do better than this. But I am saying this is already a net positive for MIN, and the market - not the Twins - will determine if they can do better than this.
   8. JB H Posted: November 30, 2007 at 06:39 AM (#2628872)
Why do you think he's miles behind? Age? Stuff?

I think Hughes is a lot better today based on performance, and I don't really see any reason to think Lester is going to improve much more than Hughes going forward.
   9. JB H Posted: November 30, 2007 at 06:47 AM (#2628878)
Also I think the Lester/Crisp/Lowrie/x deal is pretty reasonable, even if this site doesn't think so. If the Twins think Lester is better than Hughes, which is very possible, why wouldn't that deal seem ok to them?
   10. NJ in DC Posted: November 30, 2007 at 06:48 AM (#2628880)
Number 6 hit nailed the issue. In a world where Jon Lester doesn't pitch in the World Series, no one cares as much about him as they do this off-season. This is not a knock on Lester, but a knock on the idiocy of the mainstream.
   11. Marcel Posted: November 30, 2007 at 07:09 AM (#2628892)
I know this might (will) be an unpopular opinion, but considering that a team can never have too much starting pitching and how highly the Twins apparently value Ellsbury, why not make an offer of Ellsbury/Bowden/Lowrie/Bard or Masterson. That gives the Sox a lot of depth in the rotation for when one of the 40-something year olds go down, Beckett gets a blister/avulsion/whatever, Santana's arm decides it doesn't like his workload from the past 4 years, or whtever else could happen. In terms of center field, they could stay with Crisp for a couple more years, which wouldn't really be as bad as some people make it out to be. Or they could sign Jones, deal with the luxury tax for a year, and then in 2009 not have to worry about how they're going to replace Manny's bat in the lineup
   12. baudib Posted: November 30, 2007 at 12:36 PM (#2628955)
Santana is worth far more than Lester, Buchholz and Ellsbury.
   13. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 30, 2007 at 01:57 PM (#2628964)
Then don't trade him. I won't lose any sleep if the Twins re-up him.
   14. plink Posted: November 30, 2007 at 02:33 PM (#2628977)
Santana is worth far more than Lester, Buchholz and Ellsbury.

Why?

I'm not saying you're wrong, but taking into account salary, there are good arguments that, say, Buchholz and Ellsbury combined are more valuable than Santana.
   15. DCA Posted: November 30, 2007 at 03:16 PM (#2629004)
Santana is worth far more than Lester, Buchholz and Ellsbury.

Is Santana also worth far more than Chamberlain, Hughes, and Melky? ... because that's pretty close to an equivalent package.
   16. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 30, 2007 at 03:25 PM (#2629016)
Apparently Papelbon just went on WEEI saying we should make the trade, and he said something along the lines "i know fans have a lot of faith in young prospects, but you have no idea how they are gonna perform in the big league."

I can't believe somebody with less than 200 IP in the big leagues can say something like that. Maybe he just stole some line from Curt's blog, not realizing you could only say stuff like that if you were 40.
   17. Valentine Posted: November 30, 2007 at 03:51 PM (#2629029)
#6 The Yankees reportedly value Joba ahead of Hughes. If they aren't offering Hughes then they won't be offering Joba either.
   18. Valentine Posted: November 30, 2007 at 03:55 PM (#2629031)
#16 Ellsbury is going to have a VERY hard time living up to people's expectations for him. What happens if he "only" hits .290/.350 with minimal power and 30 SB? Ought to be considered a promising beginning, but could easily be viewed as a disappointment given the numbers I've seen thrown about.
   19. JPWF13 Posted: November 30, 2007 at 04:08 PM (#2629044)
Can't trade Ellsbury. He's as good as Grady Sizemore.


No he's not fanboy.

Ellsbury at 23 hit .323/.387/.424 between AA and AAA
then hit .353/.394/.509 in the MLB- but only 33 games
despite that fluke 100 Ab Slugging %- he really doesn't have a lot of power

Sizemore has hit .289/.348/.484;
.290/.375/.533 and
.277/.390/.462 the last 3 years and will be 25 next year.

Just eyeballing it, my guess is Sizemore's ZIPs projection will be about .285/.380/.490 and Ellsbury's will be .285/.365/.420

Of course if I'm the Twins and I've just lost my long term CF I certainly ask that Ellsbury be in the deal if I'm trading Johan.
   20. JPWF13 Posted: November 30, 2007 at 04:10 PM (#2629047)
I can't believe somebody with less than 200 IP in the big leagues can say something like that.


Players start saying that as soon as they

1: Are no longer rookies; and
2: Feel reasonably secure about their own roster spot.

Jonny Gomes of all people said something like that a year or two ago.
   21. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 30, 2007 at 04:27 PM (#2629071)
Can't trade Ellsbury. He's as good as Grady Sizemore.

Jacoby will be Kenny Lofton. And I will be very very very very happy if he's kenny Lofton, because Kenny Lofton is one hell of a baseball player.
   22. NJ in DC Posted: November 30, 2007 at 04:33 PM (#2629082)
Yes, he is.

Ellsbury created 8.4 runs/27 last year as a rookie. Sizemore's best is 7.8.

That ZIPs OBP you put up for Ellsbury is absurd. With his speed and bat control, he'll at least do a .390.

Sizemore never came close to doing anything like what Ellsbury did in AA this year.

Also, while Sizemore has great speed, Ellsbury is even faster.

Ellsbury is as good as Sizemore.


Well...this just has to be the most unbiased, well-reasoned argument ever on Primer. Baseball for the thinking fan, indeed.
   23. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: November 30, 2007 at 04:34 PM (#2629083)
8.4 runs/27 last year as a rookie.

In 33 games.
   24. Josh Posted: November 30, 2007 at 04:36 PM (#2629088)
Please, please, please don't drown out this thread with another silly Pedroia-is-better-than-Wright type debate.
   25. Josh Posted: November 30, 2007 at 04:41 PM (#2629094)
Remember the Pedroia discussion last year?


Wouldn't the Pedroia discussion (i.e., don't obsess over his small sample size and ignore his history of success) go the other way here?

Why do I respond?
   26. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 30, 2007 at 04:43 PM (#2629096)
Can't trade Ellsbury. He's as good as Grady Sizemore.


No he's not fanboy.


He's just trying to get a rise out of you.

Jacoby will be Kenny Lofton.

I'm with you, Wok. I don't think he'll ever have Lofton's '94, and I certainly wouldn't bet on him having anything like Lofton's longevity, but I think he's a perfect comp as far as the shape of his performance (.280-.310 hitter, solid walk rate, just enough doubles power to keep pitchers honest, 40-50 SB, and good defense in CF).
   27. Cowboy Popup Posted: November 30, 2007 at 04:47 PM (#2629104)
Doesn't matter, though, as long as the Yankees refuse to offer Hughes in that deal. They could offer their next 30 prospects and not beat a Lester/Lowrie/Bowden/Crisp package. Quality makes the deal, not quantity.

It's my understanding that Alan Horne is starting to be very highly thought of. From Salfino's article yesterday:

Another pitcher in the Hughes/Chamberlain class, according to McKamey, is 24-year-old righty Alan Horne.

"He always has possessed potential, going back to his days at the University of Florida, but has dealt with injuries. He has a solid fastball with velocity and movement, which helped him lead the Eastern League in ERA and Ks. Stuff-wise, he's not too far behind Chamberlain and Hughes."


Of course, Kevin Goldstein at BPro thinks he tops out at as a 3rd starter so who knows how the Twins value him.
   28. John DiFool2 Posted: November 30, 2007 at 04:54 PM (#2629119)
Steve Finley seems like a more reasonable comp: he chugged along at 8-11 HRs/season until age 31, when he shot up to 30 and more or less stayed at that level for 8 years. Yeah I'd like to see Jake's power take off sooner than that, but it's certainly a reasonable possibility. And even if he doesn't he's likely still more valuable than Coco offensively, and once he learns Fenway (and road parks) he'll be good to great defensively.
   29. JPWF13 Posted: November 30, 2007 at 04:57 PM (#2629121)
Also, where do you get this "fluke" crap, without power? He put 3 balls into the rightfield bullpen within 2 weeks of being called up.


That's where I got it, he put 3 balls in the RF bullpen within 2 weeks of being called up and slugged .500+ over those 30 games.

In 1017 career minor league at bats he has 10 homers, 20 triples and 44 doubles, and a carer isolated slugging of .112 (By way of comparision little Petunia had 21 homers, 9 3B and 71 2b in 1040 ab- and Petunia's 1040 abs spanned the ages 20-22, whereas Ellsbury's spanned 21-23)

and you are convinced that he's a legit .500 slugging guy based upon 45 games, where in addition to said homers he had a BABIP of .380?

Look, I like Ellsbury, he's one of the better REAL leadoff types to come along in a long time (not like the pseduo-lead off guys like Pierre etc)
But if you think he's a real .350/.400/.520 hitter your gonna be sorely disappointed- he's gonna outslug Petunia by 75 points despite having a 1000+ AB track record evidencing far less power at a slightly higehr age?
   30. JPWF13 Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:06 PM (#2629136)
Wouldn't the Pedroia discussion (i.e., don't obsess over his small sample size and ignore his history of success) go the other way here?


Yes, but Kev's incapable of being objective WRT the Sawx.

As he says in 32, he's not dissing Sizemore, he really thinks Ellsbury is THAT good.
And he was more or less right about Petunia (not for his specific Wright comparison, but he did back off of that eventually).

Personally I see Ellsbury as comparable to Shannon Stewart, Stewart hit .286/.368/.446 as a 23 year old and peaked at .319/.363/.518

Ellsbury probably will have more defensive value from what I've seen.- and get on base more but slug less.

Of course Stewart has been merely a good player and not a star so Kev probably thinks this comparison is insulting.
   31. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:08 PM (#2629142)
But if you think he's a real .350/.400/.520 hitter your gonna be sorely disappointed

I don't know, the CFBPS has him at .372/.470/.623 next year, and three straight years hitting .390 or better to follow, topping out with a .421/.535/.708 with 191 SB in 2011.
   32. bunyon Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:08 PM (#2629143)
That value is high to Boston, but nil to Minnesota. They've already found they can't get anything out of negotiation. If they want to trade Santana to improve on the 2 draft picks they'll get when he leaves, the only way it happens is if Santana is compelled to waive his no-trade. And no amount of prospects going to MIN will move the needle on that; Santana won't care.

Is there a chance that a team could offer TOO much? If I'm Santana, I don't know that I'd want to go to a team that just cleared out all of its prospects. Say the Yanks offer Melky/Huges/Joba/Cano (just hypothetically); is that a team you want to go spend the next 6-7 years with? I'm not sure if that kind of calculation would really come into play or where the line would be if it did, but it certainly seems possible to me.
   33. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:08 PM (#2629144)
In a world where Jon Lester doesn't pitch in the World Series, no one cares as much about him as they do this off-season.

Why shouldn't people care about 140 MLB innings of 101 ERA+? And that despite having to deal with chemotherapy? Gammons aside, I doubt that any GMs drool over Lester the way they might over Buchholz or Chamberlain, but the guy is an established major league starting pitcher at the age of 24, and he's got five cost-controlled years left. He's a pretty darned valuable commodity.
   34. The Essex Snead Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:08 PM (#2629145)
That could be a record.
   35. The Essex Snead Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:10 PM (#2629148)
That could be me being slow on the posting trigger.
   36. gay guy in cut-offs smoking the objective pipe Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:10 PM (#2629150)
Yes, but Kev's incapable of being objective WRT the Sawx.

Just think of him as the counterweight for all the NY prospect hype. :)
   37. NJ in DC Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:11 PM (#2629151)
Why shouldn't people care about 140 MLB innings of 101 ERA+? And that despite having to deal with chemotherapy? Gammons aside, I doubt that any GMs drool over Lester the way they might over Buchholz or Chamberlain, but the guy is an established major league starting pitcher at the age of 24, and he's got five cost-controlled years left. He's a pretty darned valuable commodity.

I refer you to my post:

In a world where Jon Lester doesn't pitch in the World Series, no one cares as much about him as they do this off-season.
   38. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:11 PM (#2629152)
topping out with a .421/.535/.708 with 191 SB in 2010

Doesn't that mean that he'll be stopping at second on a lot of balls that could be triples or inside the park homers, just so he can steal third? I think a .900 slugging with only 110 SB is a lot more likely.
   39. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:13 PM (#2629154)
Wrong, JoeC. I really think Ellsbury is as good as Sizemore.

Well, to each his own.
   40. JPWF13 Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:14 PM (#2629157)
Is there a chance that a team could offer TOO much? If I'm Santana, I don't know that I'd want to go to a team that just cleared out all of its prospects.


Most players are more wedded to the idea that prospects are fungible and that seasoned experienced vets are needed to win than the MSM is. Vets at or past their peak will get pissed at their own team for not ransacking the farm and trading away everything to get an "experienced bat" or solid starter...
   41. tfbg9 Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:23 PM (#2629167)
What about Haren? He's no slouch, and can be had also, I read just now.
   42. JPWF13 Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:27 PM (#2629172)
What about Haren? He's no slouch, and can be had also, I read just now.


If their reputations are accurate Beane and Theo likely won't reach a deal because they think too much alike. It's a lot easier to make a trade if the other guy values what you are trading more than you do and vice versa
   43. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:31 PM (#2629179)
STOP SAYING PETUNIA!
   44. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:33 PM (#2629183)
Kenny Lofton is a legitimate inner-circle-hall-of-very-good player. He's a fantastic athlete, and he does almost everything well.

Hell, we don't even know if Grady Sizemore will have a better career than Kenny Lofton.
   45. Joel W Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:36 PM (#2629187)
I think there are some great reasons for going after Haren. He is under control longer. The A's value players like we do. Therefore, a player like Lowrie might be looked upon more highly. So will player defense. However, that could work against us for the same reasons I suggested above that Lester may be especially valuable to a team like the Twins.

Lester is, objectively, a very solid pitcher right now. He can put up at least league average innings, and has a chance to be very good. Scouts love his stuff, and we don't know how much his strength was affected by having had cancer. He could be very good. Even so, his walk rate is really scary. He's never had great control, even in the minors. The hope has always been that he'd figure it out eventually, and obviously, pitchers do get better control as they age. He's a very valuable trading chip, but he's not on the Joba, Hughes, Buchholz level w/o his WS game.
   46. Valentine Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:42 PM (#2629191)
He always has possessed potential, going back to his days at the University of Florida, but has dealt with injuries.

The kiss of death for a prospect. Horne = Anibal Sanchez?
   47. Joel W Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:45 PM (#2629198)
JPWF,

I think you're wrong about the Beane thing generally, though I agree with your point on some level. We might think that the Red Sox can get a better deal from a team that values players poorly. However, if market economics ever taught me anything, it's that two rational actors can make mutually beneficial trades. Haren might be more valuable to the Red Sox than the prospects that they give to the A's, even though the packages have the same value objectively. Suppose Lester and Ellsbury are worth Haren objectively. It may be more efficient for the Sox to have Haren because the fall off to Crisp is not as far as the gain of Haren over Lester.

Anyway, that's why I always hate the question, "who won this trade?" when ever a trade happens. Many more trades are mutually beneficial than is ever claimed by sportswriters.
   48. Dave Cyprian Posted: November 30, 2007 at 06:55 PM (#2629327)
I really hope this is just a ploy to get the Yankees selling the farm. Would Theo Epstein really give a 30-year old pitcher $150 million? I don't think so. So this would be a rental... so there is no way we can trade Lester or Buchholz for that.

If I'm wrong and they do trade Lester and sign Santana, the Sox would be huge favorites for the '08 World Series, and the Sox would be the new Yankees. Food for thought: With Beckett and Santana in the rotation, who starts opening day? Who starts game 1 of an ALDS? Is it the same guy?
   49. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 30, 2007 at 07:00 PM (#2629335)
who starts opening day?

They should start Timmy opening day, just so we could watch tfgb cut himself and post on his myspace page that the World doesn't understand him.
   50. tfbg9 Posted: November 30, 2007 at 07:09 PM (#2629352)
You're beyond weird Wok.
   51. DL from MN Posted: November 30, 2007 at 07:37 PM (#2629430)
On the radio this morning the rumor was Santana said "No thanks" to playing for the Red Sox. He has his heart set on Yankees or Mets. I don't know if there is any truth to the rumor but in reinforces that Santana controls his own destiny, not the Twins.
   52. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: November 30, 2007 at 09:23 PM (#2629775)

On the radio this morning the rumor was Santana said "No thanks" to playing for the Red Sox. He has his heart set on Yankees or Mets. I don't know if there is any truth to the rumor but in reinforces that Santana controls his own destiny, not the Twins.


according to the boston globe's report, those negotiations (santana's agent and the sox) haven't even begun because the deal is still too amorphous. and i doubt any player's "heart" is set on anything but more money. if you had said, santana's heart is set on getting the yanks and mets involved in a bidding war, then i might agree with you.
   53. nycfan Posted: November 30, 2007 at 10:24 PM (#2629926)
On the radio this morning the rumor was Santana said "No thanks" to playing for the Red Sox. He has his heart set on Yankees or Mets. I don't know if there is any truth to the rumor but in reinforces that Santana controls his own destiny, not the Twins


God i hope this is true. Is there any way the Mets can beat a Kennedy, Melky, Tabata package without giving up Reyes?
   54. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 30, 2007 at 10:25 PM (#2629928)
Kenny Lofton is a legitimate inner-circle-hall-of-very-good player.

What's the inner circle of the hall of the very good? Wouldn't that be the Hall of Fame?

those negotiations (santana's agent and the sox) haven't even begun because the deal is still too amorphous

Those negotiations can't begin until the deal is agreed to AND Santana agrees to talk. It may seem unlikely that a player wouldn't even agree to talk to a team that wanted to trade for him, but it's completely within Santana's rights to simply nix a trade right off the bat.
   55. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 30, 2007 at 10:26 PM (#2629932)
Is there any way the Mets can beat a Kennedy, Melky, Tabata package without giving up Reyes?

Well, we know they can't use Milledge.
   56. Margo Adams FC Posted: December 01, 2007 at 12:53 AM (#2630138)
Enough already, Theo. Pick up the g*d*n phone, give them Lester, Ellsbury, Lowrie and a butterball turkey and let's get this done already if that's what it takes, before they come to their senses. You don't pass up a Santana for an Ellsbury. There's another Tacoby almost surely lurking in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft; the chances of finding another Santana there are much more modest. With that rotation, you'll be able to stick whoever in center in 2011 and beyond and win. The only untouchable should be Buchholz.
   57. Margo Adams FC Posted: December 01, 2007 at 12:56 AM (#2630144)
   58. Margo Adams FC Posted: December 01, 2007 at 12:59 AM (#2630149)
On the radio this morning the rumor was Santana said "No thanks" to playing for the Red Sox. He has his heart set on Yankees or Mets. I don't know if there is any truth to the rumor but in reinforces that Santana controls his own destiny, not the Twins.


Actually, we already seem to know that money controls his destiny to some degree, since he's been generally happy in Minny by all accounts, yet is not staying there as a happy millionaire. So I know 150 million reasons Johan might come to appreciate Back Bay and Red Sox fans after all, if he doesn't already.
   59. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: December 01, 2007 at 01:30 AM (#2630176)
I'm a little bit afraid of Santana's mechanics. He has this strange bend to his left elbow as he delivers. He doesn't use much shoulder, and to me, that means his elbow could blow out. Elbows are more fragile than shoulders...
   60. Darren Posted: December 01, 2007 at 01:33 AM (#2630180)
The more I see the price of getting someone like Santana, the more I don't think it's worth it. 4 players, two who are MLB ready and slightly proven, just seems like too much.
   61. Valentine Posted: December 01, 2007 at 02:41 AM (#2630253)
the chances of finding another Santana there are much more modest

To find guys like Santana you need to work the Rule V draft. ;-)

Buchholz was a supplemental pick. Nineteen positions below Ellsbury, in fact.

He has this strange bend to his left elbow as he delivers.

His multiple elbow surgeries attest to that fact.

The more I see the price of getting someone like Santana, the more I don't think it's worth it.

It's not the quantity, it's the quality. Glad to see the Yankees chipping in Phil Hughes.
   62. Kyle S Posted: December 01, 2007 at 02:57 AM (#2630275)
It's a good thing the Sox held onto Casey Fossum rather than foolishly dealing him for a veteran with an injury history. He really put the team on his back in 2004 and carried them to the world series.
   63. Darren Posted: December 01, 2007 at 03:28 AM (#2630305)
It's a good thing the Sox held onto Casey Fossum rather than foolishly dealing him for a veteran with an injury history. He really put the team on his back in 2004 and carried them to the world series.


I see your point but I don't think the package for Schilling was close to the package for Johan.
   64. Kyle S Posted: December 01, 2007 at 03:56 AM (#2630336)
Darren, I agree that by the time Fossum was dealt, he was less valuable THEN than Clay Buchholz is NOW. However, in 2001 (and 2002, really) he was considered very valuable, roughly equivalent to pre-cancer Jon Lester and near the value of Buchholz now.

So really, the point is two-fold. First, better to deal top prospects at the peak of their value than before they get exposed. Second, be careful of overvaluing the bird in the bush and discounting the one in the hand.

Despite Buchholz's strong start to his career, he's highly unlikely to ever have seasons like the ones Santana is likely to have. IMHO, the Sox with their millions of dollars should concentrate on accumulating elite players, even if expensive. Who cares if they maximize wins per dollar when they can maximize wins, period? Their success of the past ten years has been built on the backs of players like Manny, Schilling, Ortiz, Beckett, and Pedro.
   65. Valentine Posted: December 01, 2007 at 04:02 AM (#2630340)
Kyle, you are joking? Right? Please tell me you didn't just compare Fossum to Lester?!?

Lester was rated the #22 prospect in all of baseball in 2006 by Baseball America (the last year he was rookie-eligible). Casey Fossum never once made their top 100.
   66. Joel W Posted: December 01, 2007 at 04:04 AM (#2630343)
Darren you're right that it was much less than what's being talked about for Johan, but...Curt Schilling was about to turn 37. Also, I think many of us thought that at the time the package was a real steal save for Eric Van who loved Fossum (and even he I think said we have to take it).

However, I also was going to add to that something about Curt being nowhere good as Johan was in the three previous years until I looked at his baseball reference page and realized...he was. I don't know why I forgot that, since I was so damn excited when we got him, but, Schilling's ERA+ in the 3 previous years in Arizona before the Sox got him: 157, 142, 159.

At the same time, PECOTA basically thinks Santana will put up 3.3 ERAs for the next 4 years of his career.

As sad as I would be to see Ellsbury, Lester, Lowrie, and maybe 1 other go, I still think I might still want the Red Sox to do it.

1) I don't care if the Red Sox lose efficiency.
2) I think that this is the type of trade where the Red Sox might stay even in terms of regular season wins, but would gain EV WS from this trade. Johan and Beckett in a playoff rotation would be quite something, and given the research that shows high strike out, good defense teams tend to win in the playoffs, I'd have to think that this would be a transaction that bumped up their chances in the playoffs a small but significant amount.
3) I think Coco could bounce back offensively, is young, relatively cheap, and is so good defensively that the difference between he and Ellsbury isn't as big as it seems.

I won't be sad if the Red Sox don't do it, and I look forward to rooting for the kids if they don't, but I would love to have the pleasure of watching Santana and Beckett take the mound for 40% of our games next season. Also, I love the idea that Dice-K might be the Red Sox 5th best starter next season and I expect him to improve.
   67. Darren Posted: December 01, 2007 at 04:05 AM (#2630345)
Despite Buchholz's strong start to his career, he's highly unlikely to ever have seasons like the ones Santana is likely to have. IMHO, the Sox with their millions of dollars should concentrate on accumulating elite players, even if expensive. Who cares if they maximize wins per dollar when they can maximize wins, period?


This all sounds very sensible but I'd like to see a bit more compelling evidence mathematically that this sort of trade makes sense for the Sox. Signing pitchers long term is almost more expensive than it's worth. How does piling on 4 good players on top of that longterm commitment make sense. I have less reservations about superstar position players, but still wonder about the 4 likely good/free players vs. 1 super expensive player who's great.

Their success of the past ten years has been built on the backs of players like Manny, Schilling, Ortiz, Beckett, and Pedro.


A couple thoughts here. Ortiz is not a superstar at full-price. He's a guy they got cheap and is still somewhat cheap. They've also built their championships on supercheapos like Pedroia, Youkilis, and Papelbon, and medium-cheapos like Mueller, Lowell, and Damon. These are the good players that make up most of the team. (You could also argue that Manny's defense makes him a good, not great player).

And look at the Beckett trade--are we sure they are better off than if they had Hanley and Sanchez and large buckets of cash to spend elsewhere?
   68. Darren Posted: December 01, 2007 at 04:10 AM (#2630346)
Also, Kyle, to make clear, I was talking about the whole package. Even if you equate Fossum with Buchholz/Lester, the others don't match up.
   69. Joel W Posted: December 01, 2007 at 04:11 AM (#2630348)
Also, if the Yankees send Hughes and Melky to get Santana, offering the packages we've offered will make me very happy.
   70. Darren Posted: December 01, 2007 at 04:18 AM (#2630356)
Joel,

You've kind of worked your way through to my point. Schilling was much older than Johan but...

--he was similarly awesome
--he was coming on a 2-3 year deal rather than a 6+ year deal
--Schilling's deal was going to be pretty on reasonable yearly salary

Overall, 2004 Schilling probably had very similar or better value to 2008 Johan. And the package for Schilling started with Fossum.

Fossum ~= Lester
Lyon < Coco
de la Rosa << Bowden
Goss <<< Lowrie

I think the only way you do the sort of deal that's being discussed is if you really think top players are going to continue to eschew free agency.
   71. Rough Carrigan Posted: December 01, 2007 at 05:25 AM (#2630418)
With player salaries at an unusually low 42% of total revenues in 2006 (they were as high as 56% of total revenues in 2001) maybe top players are unusually likely to eschew free agency at this moment. But if salaries jump up in the next few years, maybe top players again become just as likely to become free agents as they were circa 2001.
   72. Joel W Posted: December 01, 2007 at 05:55 AM (#2630448)
Darren I think that analysis is basically right in the comparison of Santana to Schilling, but I'm not sure I'll accept that it necessarily implies the Red Sox shouldn't go after Santana.

First, we did the Schilling deal, so it's not a binding set of facts on the upper bound. We can't say that given we didn't do that deal rightly, we shouldn't do this one. All we can say is that we rightly did that one, and it should inform our opinion of this one. What if Schilling had demanded more money? Or the Diamondbacks more prospects (did we even have any)? We still might have wanted to do it.

Second, suppose Johan wants 6/150 or something like that. The Red Sox would be getting him from 29-34, which are pretty good years to get a pitcher. And I'm not sure I think that's such an outrageous contract given where the market is going.
   73. Marcel Posted: December 01, 2007 at 06:32 AM (#2630479)
Second, suppose Johan wants 6/150 or something like that. The Red Sox would be getting him from 29-34, which are pretty good years to get a pitcher. And I'm not sure I think that's such an outrageous contract given where the market is going.

But it's still six years. And six years for a pitcher, I don't care how good he is, is not a good idea. Seriously, look at Wakefield. He has a tear in his labrum. He tore his labrum while basically lobbing balls up to homeplate. Santana puts significantly more effort into his delivery and blow out something at any point. And when that happens, not only are the Sox on the hook for his salary while he's not pitching, but he's looking for someone to replace him because they traded their pitching depth to get him.
   74. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: December 01, 2007 at 06:42 AM (#2630485)
Anyone scared of Johan's 2007 season?
   75. Joel W Posted: December 01, 2007 at 08:19 AM (#2630538)
And six years for a pitcher, I don't care how good he is, is not a good idea.


Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown.

If you signed all of these pitchers to 6 year deals at 29 for a ton of money, it would've been completely worth it. Which pitchers who were the best pitcher in the league at 29 would you *not* sign to a long deal if you could? It's ridiculous to say 6 years is too long for even the best pitchers. I smile every time I think of the Red Sox signing Pedro for 7 years. Johan is no Pedro, but he's the best pitcher in baseball right now. He's thrown over 200 innings for 4 straight years.

Wakefield is 40 and has thrown 2600 innings in his career, I don't think your comparison holds. Also the Red Sox have pitching depth, certainly through next year, as they have 6 starters right now.

This isn't to say that it's definitely worth it. Giving up so much talent to get Johan isn't worth it just because it's sensible to sign a great pitcher to a long deal.
   76. Margo Adams FC Posted: December 01, 2007 at 09:04 AM (#2630577)
If your goal is to win every year and your farm system is decent and you don't trade a lot of the kids you end up with a lot of average MLB players on your roster, which is not a recipe for success in a period when fewer and fewer stars are hitting free agency (because of long-term extensions, trades like Santana's, etc.) So when you have a chance to convert some of your not-quite-a-star farm talent into a true expensive superstar, even with all the risks involved you go for it. I trust John Henry to figure out how to get his money back somehow. Or not: I think John's hip to psychic rewards beyond money now. That said, I won't be that bummed if the Yanks get Santana and we either hook Haren for less or reallocate the resources somewhere else. I just see no other Santana-like game-changers out there.
   77. Margo Adams FC Posted: December 01, 2007 at 09:06 AM (#2630578)
And don't forget how cheap 25MM for a star will seem in 2013!
   78. J. Cross Posted: December 01, 2007 at 09:19 AM (#2630580)
If your goal is to win every year and your farm system is decent and you don't trade a lot of the kids you end up with a lot of average MLB players on your roster, which is not a recipe for success in a period when fewer and fewer stars are hitting free agency (because of long-term extensions, trades like Santana's, etc.) So when you have a chance to convert some of your not-quite-a-star farm talent into a true expensive superstar, even with all the risks involved you go for it.


I think I've seen you work this philosophy successfully in FLB and no doubt it works if your drafting well and discerning the players that will be true superstars in the future from those who are merely good.

However, in the Red Sox case I think this has them dealing Lester, Ellsbury and Lowrie but not Buckholtz. Buckholtz could be a star quality guy. I also think that the Red Sox are (likely) in the playoffs next year regardless so it doesn't seem like it's worth dealing quite as much for extra wins in 2008.
   79. Margo Adams FC Posted: December 01, 2007 at 09:25 AM (#2630583)
As someone mentioned above, it's in the playoffs that the value of a Santana is magnified, even more so than in regular-season W's. I absolutely agree on Buchholz belonging to a different class from the rest of the Sox names bandied. I don't want Santana if it means losing him, and I honestly don't believe he's going anywhere but into the Sox rotation.
   80. J. Cross Posted: December 01, 2007 at 09:33 AM (#2630588)
Fair enough. I guess I feel like in the playoffs are enough of a crapshoot that the goal should just be getting there every year. That said, maybe it's hard to spell out exactly what the Red Sox goals are. Is making the playoffs all that matters or does winning the division matter as well?
   81. J. Cross Posted: December 01, 2007 at 09:38 AM (#2630591)
I think you're right about Buckholtz staying. They could have improved their chances in the playoffs this year, IMO (yes, I know that they won), by using him but valued his future too highly to even risk his health for a better chance of winning a championship now.

A playoff rotation of Santana, Beckett, Matsuzaka and Buckholtz could be pretty nice over the next few years.
   82. Valentine Posted: December 01, 2007 at 09:55 AM (#2630607)
At the same time, PECOTA basically thinks Santana will put up 3.3 ERAs for the next 4 years of his career.

But did you check the attrition rate?

2007 7%
2008 11%
2009 29%
2010 32%
2011 39%

Even if you accept that a healthy 2007 pushes these all back a year (not exactly true), there is a 30% chance that he'll have a big drop in his innings in 2010 and the odds get worse after that.
   83. Squash Posted: December 01, 2007 at 10:11 AM (#2630613)
Along the lines of Lesters 5.1 innings this October, I just wonder if Buchholz had allowed two hits rather than zero how much differently everyone would think about him.
   84. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: December 01, 2007 at 10:15 AM (#2630614)
I just wonder if Buchholz had allowed two hits rather than zero how much differently everyone would think about him.

Pretty much the same, he was great in the minors, IIRC.
   85. Valentine Posted: December 01, 2007 at 12:48 PM (#2630631)
I think you guys are overrating the impact of those single games. If Buchholz had allowed 15 hits in three innings my confidence MIGHT have been shaken, but I've been REALLY impressed with the kid since he faced Clemens in a game earlier this year. Everything else has just been marking time until his arrival.
   86. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: December 01, 2007 at 02:58 PM (#2630658)
He has this strange bend to his left elbow as he delivers.

His multiple elbow surgeries attest to that fact.

Well. There it is, then. 150 million to a guy who has a history of elbow problems doesn't seem like such a good idea to me.
   87. Darren Posted: December 01, 2007 at 03:03 PM (#2630661)
Darren I think that analysis is basically right in the comparison of Santana to Schilling, but I'm not sure I'll accept that it necessarily implies the Red Sox shouldn't go after Santana.


I'm not meaning to imply that. I'm only saying that Kyle's example, while an important reminder of the value of prospects, is not a perfect comparison to the current situation. The Javy Vazquez trade that the Yankees made at that time might have been a better (or similarly decent comparison):

--Javy wasn't as good as Johan, but he was a guy who had four straight 200 IP seasons, with an average ERA+ around 125.

--He was traded for a top young position player/prospect, another pretty good prospect, and Choate.

I think the takeaway from that trade is quite different. Johnson and Rivera have been pretty good players, but nothing special. Vazquez has generally been decent, rather than the stud he was considered to be.

Here's an interesting question, that's sort of relevant. Who's future more predictable: a rookie hitter with a great minor league track record or a veteran pitcher with a great pro track record?
   88. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 01, 2007 at 03:48 PM (#2630677)
It's really, really hard for me to see how trading players with all-star upside, rather than MVP / Cy Young upside, for the man who's won two of the last four Cy Youngs is a bad idea. You get a guy who's already better than any of the players you give up are going to be.

6/150 is a great contract for Santana. I think that if he were a free agent, we'd all want the Sox to pay that out, right away. He's not going to be a free agent, and the problem with free agents is that you might not get them - if you squirrel the money away, you have to be very certain that the good players are going to be there, and that you'll make the best offer, and that the offer you make is the one you predicted. Otherwise it's very easy to be left holding the bag, with a big pile of money and no one to give it to, and those are the situations that produce either efficient payrolls that just miss the playoffs or Edgar Renterias and Julio Lugos.

I tend to think that the market for superstars will explode soon enough - the owners seem to be tamping down on the highest-end salaries but not the 80th percentile guys (Hunter / Soriano), which is both odd and bad business. The guys who are worth the money are the Cy Young / MVP candidates. The Sox should be going after them before their salaries get back to market value.
   89. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 01, 2007 at 03:50 PM (#2630678)
So, while I love Ellsbury, I don't think he should stand between you and Santana. Buucholz has Cy Young upside, so he's a different story. It's not that I'd rule out trading Bucholzz, but I'm less confident it's the right move.
   90. John DiFool2 Posted: December 01, 2007 at 04:50 PM (#2630703)
Despite Buchholz's strong start to his career, he's highly unlikely to ever have seasons like the ones Santana is likely to have. IMHO, the Sox with their millions of dollars should concentrate on accumulating elite players, even if expensive. Who cares if they maximize wins per dollar when they can maximize wins, period?


If the best pitching prospect in the game (or 2nd or 3rd best, depending on what you think of Joba or Fill In The Blank) is "highly unlikely" to ever be a solid Cy Young candidate, then well...let me just say that guys like Santana/Pedro/Maddux et. al just don't spring out of holes in the ground. Clay has a much better chance of that than "highly unlikely"-that's just ######## pure and simple.

If your goal is to win every year and your farm system is decent and you don't trade a lot of the kids you end up with a lot of average MLB players on your roster, which is not a recipe for success in a period when fewer and fewer stars are hitting free agency (because of long-term extensions, trades like Santana's, etc.) So when you have a chance to convert some of your not-quite-a-star farm talent into a true expensive superstar, even with all the risks involved you go for it.


I am pretty much shocked at the consensus of opinion that is forming here vis a vis good young prospects; you guys sound just like the mainstream media, which refuses to acknowledge any value to a young player until said player "proves" himself at the ML level; until then he's just a mere bargaining chip. Good young prospects are highly valuable for two main reasons:

1. Cost controlled for a goodly number of years, which provides you with payroll flexibility

2. Often will develop from "good" young players into "great" young players-you don't need very many of your kids to do that to get a huge benefit. Yet almost all posts here and elsewhere don't even acknowledge the possibility of rapid-fire development-even if one of the 4 guys on the table does that, goes from a solid ML regular to a star or even superstar, then the Twins win the trade big time (or the Sox hopefully break even at least with Santana still pitching great thru his contract, a la Beckett and Hanley). Zips projections (et. al) are ALWAYS conservative (both going up, and going down, for past-prime vets), and I don't put a huge amount of stock into them.

Thus, the tide of history runs strongly against your opinions. Good young players tend to get better, often MUCH better, and are cheap. Veteran players decline much quicker than you think, all told, and are typically overpaid. Take a look at Johan's comp list (yes with all the caveats which apply): none are in the HoF, many burned out by their early 30's. A team which has plenty of the former, as the Sox do right now, is in pretty good shape, allowing the team to either stay at a high level (as Boston is right now) or quickly zoom forward into contention (as Washington and Tampa Bay are trying to do), or yes trade some of the excess away wisely to fill a hole. Going with veterans is the old Treadmill Strategy: I had thought that the Yankees were going to get off the thing, but I guess not. Let them trade away most of the rest of their young talent to get Santana, while keeping Jorge, ARod, and Rivera until they can apply for an AARP card; the Sox will then be in such a superior position it won't even be funny.

[And even if they're "average" and never develop beyond what Zips says they still have lots of value.]
   91. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 01, 2007 at 04:59 PM (#2630706)
1. Cost controlled for a goodly number of years, which provides you with payroll flexibility
Which you need to use for it to have any value. I suggest the Red Sox use it on pitchers who have won two of the last four cy young awards, for instance. Usually, when people make "payroll flexibility" arguments, they never mention where the money will be spent. I find that very unconvincing.
2. Often will develop from "good" young players into "great" young players-you don't need very many of your kids to do that to get a huge benefit
This is where I think you're taking a know-nothing-ish posture. (Hey, you said I sounded like hte mainstream media, so tough noogies.) There is a lot of information on prospects out there, and one of the key things that scouts can tell us is which players have the raw tools to become great. They have been quite clear on Ellsbury, Lester, and Lowrie that those upper-limit tools are lacking. These are guys who will not peak as high as Santana already is.

Now, I don't have any idea how to quantify this. There are so many variables and unknowns - where would the saved money be spent? what is the value of knowing where you'll spend your money? how much money is there? - on top of the uncertainty that accompanies young players. I think there's a problematic tendency among stat-influences fans to imagine that money simply turns into wins, when I think that theorizing exactly how that happens includes a massive number of overly complex variables.
   92. Darren Posted: December 01, 2007 at 06:04 PM (#2630728)
Otherwise it's very easy to be left holding the bag, with a big pile of money and no one to give it to, and those are the situations that produce either efficient payrolls that just miss the playoffs or Edgar Renterias and Julio Lugos.


I thought those deals stemmed from having a desperate need at a position, not having money to spend but no one to spend it on. I think when the Red Sox have encountered situations where they can't find a player that they like to fill a hole, they go with a stopgap like Alex Gonzalez.

Which you need to use for it to have any value. I suggest the Red Sox use it on pitchers who have won two of the last four cy young awards, for instance. Usually, when people make "payroll flexibility" arguments, they never mention where the money will be spent. I find that very unconvincing.


The Red Sox have used it though. They've used it on Schilling, Matsuzaka, Manny, Drew, etc. Using it on the top pitcher in the league is a good idea too, of course. It's just that there has to be a limit to how much you're willing to give up for the right to pay that pitcher top dollar.

I also don't think it's a forgone conclusion that 6/150 is a great deal for Santana. It may be the going rate, but longterm deals for pitchers are really risky. Investing in a great position player might be a better bet.
   93. dave h Posted: December 01, 2007 at 06:21 PM (#2630746)
The fundamental question, which none of us knows, is what contract Santana will be willing to take. He (not the Twins) is in a great bargaining position. Maybe he'll take a lower-than-market-rate contract, but why would he? And if he won't, then why on earth would you give up significant prospects in addition to paying his salary? You'll get an exclusive negotiating period, but you'll still have to beat whatever offer the Yankees would make, or Santana won't take the deal - he'll make the Twins take the Yankees package and sign a contract with them. Would anyone have been okay with the $51 million posting fee for Matsuzaka if we then had to pay him as if he were a free agent?

I think Santana's contract will be lower than his true value to the Red Sox (because, as some have said, elite players should command exceptionally high salaries and the market doesn't seem to be acting that way), so they could throw in some players. There's no reason to toss an elite prospect in though, and if someone else does they shouldn't outbid another team's mistake.
   94. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 01, 2007 at 06:26 PM (#2630755)
There are other starters out there too. Getting Erik Bedard on OUR side might really help us, and if I were a bettin' man, I'd bet the Orioles giving up a better deal than the Twins. Bedard also has one extra year of control. (Btw, I can guaren-damn-tee everybody here Erik Bedard if not traded will test free agency. If I were him I"d be sick of the B!@#$%^ I'd have to put up with in Baltimore, the lack of run support, bullpen support, etc.)

AJ Burnett seems like a good buy-low guy. For some reason the team hates him and he hates the team. He's a health hazard, but with our rotation depth we can afford for AJ Burnett to pitch 150 IP.
   95. Joel W Posted: December 01, 2007 at 07:02 PM (#2630770)
Damn slow posting. Darren, as risky as deals are for top pitchers, it seems like if you gave a big deal to the top pitchers in the league, let's say, pitchers who had won a Cy Young by 28, for 6 years at the top of the market price, you'd usually walk away a very happy person right?
   96. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 01, 2007 at 07:08 PM (#2630773)
Btw, what are the chances that Johan Santana makes it to free agency?

Just like to hear the odds on that.
   97. Darren Posted: December 01, 2007 at 07:18 PM (#2630777)
I don't like the Cy Young as a qualifier. Look at Pecota, it's basically doing what you're trying to do. It finds other guys like Johan and sees how they do going forward. Generally, they have a large attrition rate, according to what others here have said. Looking at his (meaningless BBRef) comps, I see a couple guys who look like similar pitchers to Johan. Tim Hudson, Kevin Appier, and Mike Mussina had ERA+s between 129 and 136. They were all durable for several years into their age 28 season. Mussina remained really good and durable for the next 6, but Hudson and Appier dropped off.
   98. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 01, 2007 at 07:21 PM (#2630780)
Timmy Hudson is back. He had a very good 2007
   99. PJ Martinez Posted: December 01, 2007 at 07:37 PM (#2630783)
Wow, I forgot how good Kevin Appier was in the early 90s. He should not have lost the 93 Cy Young to Jack McDowell (or Randy Johnson, for that matter, who was better than Jack McDowell that year). Also, RJ and McDowell (sounds like an 80s buddy PI show) pitched 255 and 257 innings that year! Appier threw 239, and was considerably better.
   100. Joel W Posted: December 01, 2007 at 07:42 PM (#2630787)
You're only looking at 1 year though. Santana's ERA+ for 2005-2007: 155, 161, 130. His top 3 comparables on PECOTA coming into last year: Koufax, Seaver, Carlton.

I'd like to see a Dan Z. 5-years ZiPS for Santana.
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