Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Quick Trade Thought

There hasn't been all that much movement on the Santana trade front today, but the one piece of news that has emerged is that the Red Sox have decided to offer up Jacoby Ellsbury in a potential deal -- but that if Ellsbury is included, Jon Lester will be out of the deal. This leads me to ask two questions: is it worth it to swing a deal with the Red Sox that includes Ellsbury and 2 or 3 other prospects not named Clay Buchholz or Jon Lester; and would a deal with the Yankees centered around Phil Hughes be a better deal?

Make no mistake -- I think Philip Hughes is a stud, someone who could potentially anchor a staff some day. The idea of him pitching with Francisco Liriano for a few years at least is certainly intriguing. To me, however, Jacoby Ellsbury is the better piece for the Twins. Ellsbury would immediately solve the Twins problem in center for roughly the next 5 years. He has speed, a good glove, and he's hit well at every level at which he's played. He would look great hitting at the top of a revamped Twins order. I'm not going to go into an in-depth comparison here, but for me Ellsbury is a more exciting possibility than is Hughes.

The last question, then, is whether a deal centered around Ellsbury would be worth it if Jon Lester wasn't part of the deal. I say yes -- the Twins will not get a player of Ellsbury's caliber by trading Johan Santana at the deadline. They could potentially get a good player in the draft if they let Santana go and received draft pick compensation, but the draft is a crapshoot. A one-for-one deal of Santana for Ellsbury wouldn't be a good trade, but a deal in which Ellsbury and a couple of other solid prospects come over would be a solid trade, and the Twins should pull the trigger if the information about what's being offered right now is accurate. I say let's get this deal done.

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has reported that Santana has informed the Twins that he will not waive his no trade clause during the season, so any thoughts of holding onto him until the deadline are now moot, assuming the report is accurate and Santana is serious (and do you really want to doubt that he is?). Now more than ever, I think the Twins should pull the trigger on an Ellsbury/Jed Lowrie/1 or 2 more prospects deal.



  • At Sun Dec 02, 06:32:00 PM , Anonymous SethSpeaks.net said...

    I have to wonder if they get Lowrie and Ellsbury, could they get both Masterson and Bowden?


  • At Sun Dec 02, 07:52:00 PM , Anonymous Dustin said...

    Ellsbury/Lowrie/Masterson/Bowden would be a great haul and should be a done deal if that's what's being offered. Something tells me the Twins might get greedy and hold out for Lester, thus only hurting themselves if the Yankees pull out of talks and the Red Sox are still the only team legitimately bidding...

  • At Sun Dec 02, 07:58:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    Dustin, I agree. At this point, if Ellsbury and Lowrie are in a deal that includes 1 or 2 more players, the Twins need to pull the trigger. That haul would be much better than the alternative of losing Santana for a couple of draft picks. While I've thought for awhile that the Twins could sign Santana to an extension, I've changed my mind and am convinced he's going to leave. That's while a deal has to be made, and Ellsbury is a great centerpiece for a trade.

  • At Sun Dec 02, 08:27:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Whether they get Cabrera or Ellsbury, aren't they set in center field? It would seem that a deal with the Yankees that produces a potential replacement for Santana and a decent center fielder is a pretty good deal. And Cabrera is really more of a sure thing than Ellsbury. He has at least played a couple seasons in the big leagues. Ellsbury barely has 100 at bats and he is a year older then Cabrera.

    Remember when people were talking about Lew Ford as Torii's replacement? Then the leagues pitchers caught up with him and now he's going to play in Japan. Until Ellsbury has a few more at bats, you don't really know what you are getting.

  • At Sun Dec 02, 08:46:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    Anon -- while I accept your point that Ellsbury is not yet a proven commodity, I disagree with your argument. Ellsbury has a significantly higher ceiling than Melky, he's faster, and he plays better defense. Melky would undoubtedly become the Twins CF if we acquire him, and he'd probably hold the position down for a few years. In my mind, however, he is not in Ellsbury's class. Look at Ellsbury's stats going back to college -- the guy can flat hit. Obviously, he's not going to repeat the .350+ he put up last year in his partial season with the Red Sox -- but I do think he'll consistently hit in the .295-.310 range, with occasional spikes above that.

    Again, I accept your cautionary note (and the reference to Lew Ford is apt, because with the exception of one half season, Ford regularly hit over .300 in the minor leagues). I still think that Ellsbury would be a better long-term solution for the Twins in CF than would Melky, and I think the rest of a potential Red Sox package could make up for not getting Phil Hughes.

  • At Sun Dec 02, 09:15:00 PM , Anonymous Dustin said...

    Yep, jst hit the nail on the head. I also like what I'm hearing about this Lowrie kid and if he really is similar to Pedroia we should be excited for what he can bring to the team in '08, be it at the start of the season or a later callup. If Casilla improves a little we could have one heck of a middle infield in a few years.

  • At Mon Dec 03, 07:21:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    the rest of a potential Red Sox package could make up for not getting Phil Hughes.

    Who is Boston offering that makes up for Phil Hughes. Hughes, not Cabrera, is clearly the central player from the Yankees.

    I agree Ellsbury has more value than Cabrera because he has a better upside. But he is less proven and his upside is nowhere near Phil Hughes.

    Lowrie, according to one scouting report, has "serviceable defense", at second base. His bat is going to be mediocre for third base. He has some value, but no one is going to be looking at him as a core player except on their roto team.

    And if you are going to trade away Santana you want to get someone in return who has a shot at provoking the same kind of bidding war Santana has. Hughes looks to be the only guy on the table that does that.

    I think the key to this trade is which one has the best player, the other players are just fill. I am not sure the Red Sox are a better option even if they throw Lester back into the deal.

  • At Mon Dec 03, 10:05:00 AM , Blogger JST said...

    Anon -- we've both made our case, and I don't think we're going to change the other's mind. I'll just say again that I think considering the position he'd be playing, his upside, the significantly lower risk of major injury for a position-player prospect against a pitching prospect, and the likely result of getting another 2-3 serviceable players, I'm pro-Ellsbury. This is more because I'm not that high on Melky (I think he's replacement level, at best) than because of how I view Hughes. Good discussion, in my mind, and people can decide which (if either!) of us to agree with.

  • At Mon Dec 03, 06:45:00 PM , Blogger Marty said...

    I'll add that I'm with Josh on this; Ellsbury would be a great addition to the Twins. Ellsbury has a much higher ceiling than Cabrera.


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