• What If All The Ships Come In?

    Posted by on November 27th, 2007 · Comments (16)

    Here’s a “What If?” for you….

    What if…the Yankees acquire Johan Santana and Andy Pettitte comes back in 2008?

    That gives the Yankees a front three of Santana, Pettitte and Wang…which is awesome.

    Due to his salary, contract, and resume, Mike Mussina would also have a slot in the rotation after those three…leaving a fifth spot TBD between Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes (assuming the latter is not traded for Santana).

    So, who gets the fifth spot? Joba or Hughes?

    Based on what they did last year, they both deserve to stay out of Triple-A next season. Do you then put one in the big league pen? Which one? Hughes as a long man? Chamberlain as a set-up man? Is that the best thing in the world for their development at this stage in their careers?

    Or, do you tell Mussina that he’s in the pen in 2008? (Good luck with that one.)

    It’s a nice problem to have…but, it’s a problem, nonetheless, no?

    Comments on What If All The Ships Come In?

    1. Nick from Washington Heights
      November 27th, 2007 | 8:50 am

      I think the risk of putting Chamberlain in the bullpen is that he remains there for the rest of his career. It will be hard to justify moving him back to the rotation when Moose leaves or falters if he’s lights out again. Frankly, from what I saw of Hughes (and I liked what I saw by the way), I think he could use a little time in the minors honing his skills. There’s no disgrace in that. He’s so young.

    2. MJ
      November 27th, 2007 | 8:55 am

      How would the Yanks get Santana without either Hughes or Chamberlain in the trade? You wouldn’t have that problem to begin with since at least one would be pitching in Minnesota.

      I know I’m in the minority on this one but I just don’t want to be involved in the Santana talks. I don’t want to give up all that talent AND THEN have to pay Johan at least $100M for what all those Cy Youngs he won for the Twins. He’s not getting any better than he is now.

      I’m sure Boston can get him for Crisp, Lester, and a pot of clam chowder. Usually it costs the Yanks 1.5 times what it costs other teams to make a trade. But if he goes to Boston, so be it. I’d rather not be the sucker team that sets the record for pitcher salary. I’ve still never seen a pitcher making that kind of money ever live up to it.

    3. Nick from Washington Heights
      November 27th, 2007 | 9:08 am

      “But if he goes to Boston, so be it.”

      With Beckett/Santana, doesn’t Boston become perennial post-season favorites. In a short post-season series, who can beat that?

    4. MJ
      November 27th, 2007 | 9:20 am

      With Beckett/Santana, doesn’t Boston become perennial post-season favorites. In a short post-season series, who can beat that?
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      I understand and accept that. But if I’m the GM, I’m not making decisions based on the principle that I should weaken my farm system and overspend on a pitcher just to keep him from the defending World Champs. If he goes to Boston because they get a sweetheart deal, that’s just how it’s gotta be. Plus, sure, on paper, Boston would look impossible to beat. But anything can happen in a short series (we all know that). Santana’s a good pitcher but I’ve seen teams pound on him before.

      Basically the Yanks should only make the move if it is sensible. And if it costs them their entire roster of good prospects PLUS at least $100M, I’d rather the Yanks not blow all that just to spite Boston.

    5. #15
      November 27th, 2007 | 9:31 am

      Oh, to have such a problem. If they can get Santana without dealing Joba or Phil, then it’s fairly straight forward to me…. Joba displayed dominance last year, so he gets the nod and the spot in the rotation until he shows otherwise. Hughes goes to AAA. He’ll benifit more from the regular work, monitored innings, and further development starting every 5th day in the minors than he will in mop-up duty in the bigs. Count on Moose or Andy or someone getting hurt along the way, or Moose becoming ineffective. Hughes will be ready to step in when that happens. Of course, in order for that to work, they need to tighten up a leaky pen. As I see it, that’s the single biggest weakness to the Yankees circa 2008. Assuming Melky gets dealt (sadly, it might have to happen), outfield defense runs a close second in the problem department. They won’t be able to carry 4 1st basemen. They’ll need a good defensive outfielder, or two, on the bench.

    6. November 27th, 2007 | 9:33 am

      ~~~I’ve still never seen a pitcher making that kind of money ever live up to it.~~~

      That’s a concern – the life of the deal. Catfish Hunter earned his money in 1975 – and then was cooked. That’s the issue for me with Johan – the length of the deal that the team picking him up gives him.

      Then again, Pedro did OK with Boston when they picked him up – albeit not for the type of money that Johan will get.

    7. Jaggie
      November 27th, 2007 | 9:35 am

      MJ I think you make some good points and I tend to agree with you. Simply put, I’m not convinced that Santana will be THAT much better than either Hughes or Joba in 2-3 years time. If we did make a move for Santana it would surely improve the 2008 team, but really, the 2008 team is not really shaping up as a true championship contender. And that’s ok. I’d rather retool for a year or two, while still remaining competitive, then tread water for 5 years like we have been. I just think giving up 2-3 blue chippers for Santana is too much, not to mention the contract extension. I’d rather have 2-3 of the top young pitchers in the game each making 300k and under our control for years than Santana and yet another 8 figure salary.

      On the flip side, Santana himself is still young, proven in the AL, a big game pitcher and also the kind of guy who would seemingly age well (a changeup pitcher). So I wouldn’t be devastated if we made a move for him, I would just tend to lean towards staying put. How about a 2009 rotation of Wang-Joba-Hughes-IPK-Horne? Sick, and no free agency needed.

    8. Pete
      November 27th, 2007 | 10:49 am

      Any deal for this guy is going to put a big dent in our youth movement – I say let the Mets have him and we save someone like Kennedy or Horne for a position player or some bullpen help.

    9. baileywalk
      November 27th, 2007 | 11:51 am

      Santana is almost pricing himself into the Yankees’ hands. The Yankees have leverage in the fact that they can say “The player wants over a hundred million dollars after the trade; not only are we not giving up our best prospects in such a deal, good luck find another trading partner that will spend that kind of money.” The Angels might on an insane day, but I’m not sure about the Sox.

      As for the Hughes/Joba question, I don’t think it’s a slight to Joba to move him back to the ‘pen for a year, especially since he’ll have innings issues again. With the ‘pen being as weak as it is, if you shore up the rotation 1-5, having a shutdown setup man ahead of Rivera will just further help make them a championship team. Joba is a starter — and a year and a half in the ‘pen won’t change that.

    10. JohnnyC
      November 27th, 2007 | 12:38 pm

      baileywalk, I’ve been tossing this one around for a while (Joba going back to the pen for 2008). I’m beginning to not be sick about the possibility. The reason: we have a new manager whose desire is to win a championship, of course, but, unlike the other guy, won’t have his personnel decisions determined by his own obviously limited timetable. The oft-remarked predilection for “veterans” and the odd desperation of some managerial moves (many of the bullpen kind), I think, was a clear byproduct in recent seasons of the intense pressure Torre felt to win again…before his contract was up and his dream job gone. Such a mindset really has no time for developing rookies or tinkering with what was seen as a successful, almost foolproof formula. And so, the overkill in many areas of the team…even Torre himself remarked on the sameness of his most recent bullpen arms (hard throwers, big bodies, strike-out guys who tried missing bats instead of just getting outs)and the parade of too similar slugger-types in the line-up (which Torre tried to remedy by having batters who couldn’t bunt or simply put balls in play, uh, bunt). Not to say that Girardi won’t feel pressured to win it all immediately (he is wearing # 27 for a reason), but his trip to the DR to see a bunch of kids barely out of puberty speaks volumes about his intention to be in for the long, longterm. And it bespeaks a belief that the system can provide the elements he’ll need to win this year and in the future. I don’t think we’ll be seeing, say, Reggie Sanders or Jamie Moyer wearing pinstripes on his watch. That said, I believe Girardi is fully aware that Joba’s greatest impact will be as a starter and that his tenure as a relief pitcher is just a rest-stop on a long, exciting drive.

    11. November 27th, 2007 | 12:48 pm

      Due to his salary, contract, and resume, Mike Mussina would also have a slot in the rotation after those three
      =====

      I didn’t realize that getting overpaid and pitching like crap despite success in the past guarantees anyone a rotation spot. If Joe Torre was willing to pull Mussina from the rotation last year, what makes you think Joe Girardi is going to fall back on nostalgia and use Mussina when better options are available? The money’s spent as it is. There’s no reason to waste a rotation spot as well.

    12. brockdc
      November 27th, 2007 | 12:58 pm

      I realize I’m deviating from Steve’s either/or scenario – and that I’m looking waaaaay into the future – but I’d rather keep Hughes, Jackson, and Melky AND acquire a proven #1 pitcher…still in his prime…in ’09…in the form of Sabathia.

    13. November 27th, 2007 | 1:22 pm

      ~~I didn’t realize that getting overpaid and pitching like crap despite success in the past guarantees anyone a rotation spot. If Joe Torre was willing to pull Mussina from the rotation last year, what makes you think Joe Girardi is going to fall back on nostalgia and use Mussina when better options are available? The money’s spent as it is. There’s no reason to waste a rotation spot as well.~~

      Ben – do you really think the Yankees are going to have Mussina report to camp and then tell him that he doesn’t have a spot in the rotation, and he needs to earn his way, if both Johan and Andy are there? Really?

      I agree – he shouldn’t be on the team, if they get JS and AP – but, what’s right, and how things work in the real world, are not always the same.

    14. RICH
      November 27th, 2007 | 1:47 pm

      ~I don’t think we’ll be seeing, say, Reggie Sanders or Jamie Moyer wearing pinstripes on his watch.~

      I’m glad you think Girardi is going to have full say on transactions because even Cashman has seemed to been shunted aside for Hank.

    15. j
      November 27th, 2007 | 2:03 pm

      > Due to his salary, contract, and resume, Mike Mussina would also have a slot in the rotation after those three

      Someone mentioned this, but this isn’t necessarily true. Hell, Mussina got bounced from the rotation for sucking in 07.

      Mussina still has some life left in him (he had very good stretches in 07, but his 07 is marred by that horrid 3-4 weeks). 6 starting pitchers is a good problem to have, especially when 2 of them are kids with innings caps and you’re hoping to make it to the playoffs. I wouldn’t worry too much about this.

    16. JohnnyC
      November 27th, 2007 | 2:36 pm

      RICH, what makes you think Cashman’s been “shunted” aside? From where I’m standing, it looks like he’s fully in control of all personnel matters. What exactly has Hank done or said that deviates from what we believe Cashman has advocated…including the hiring of Joe Girardi over Don Mattingly. We’ve “known” for months now that Cashman wanted Girardi to succeed Torre. Cashman is the only voice in the organization that has championed propspects in our own system, including George and Torre, who wouldn’t hesitate to trade a 25 year old for a 35, no, 45 year old any day of the week. Indeed, Hank’s the only other official in the organization who’s talked highly of and deemed many of our prospects “untouchables.” It’s just as likely that Hank’s visibility in the media and in public plays right into the way Cashman would prefer to operate…under the radar.

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