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RandBall: MVP Melky Cabrera and the Santana trade

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • July 11, 2012 - 8:24 AM

 

Revisionist history can be such a dangerous and unfair thing. That said, Melky Cabrera's All-Star MVP award Tuesday night unearthed a couple of things about what transpired nearly five years ago that will make you wince.

 

Yes, sorry, we are dredging up the Johan Santana trade again.

Per the NY Daily News from Dec. 1, 2007:

After two days of internal discussions among front-office executives, the Yankees swallowed hard Friday and decided to offer Phil Hughes to the Twins as part of the trade package they hope will land them Johan Santana.

"We're going for it," was the way one club source put it.

Based on their talks with Twins GM Bill Smith, the Yankees knew they couldn't make a deal for Santana without including Hughes, their 21-year-old righthander widely regarded as a potential staff ace.

The Yanks had declared Joba Chamberlain off limits, and the Twins told them that Ian Kennedy, the third of their three prized righthanders, wouldn't be enough. According to the club source, there was spirited internal debate in the organization via conference calls about whether to make Hughes available.

In any case, the club finally agreed to put Hughes in a package that includes center fielder Melky Cabrera and at least one other lesser pitching prospect still to be negotiated, as of Friday night. And by doing so they believe they are the front-runners to land Santana, the two-time Cy Young winner.

So yes, to recap, the Twins could have had Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera as part of the Santana trade. Now: Cabrera would have looked like a bust from 2008-2010, quite frankly performing worse than Delmon Young. But he figured it out in a big way last season, scoring more than 100 runs, collecting more than 200 hits and slugging .470 while also stealing 20 bases. This year? He has 119 hits (33 for extra bases) and a robust .910 OPS.

Hughes, of course, was an All-Star in 2010 when he won 18 games, dipped last season, but is again showing top-of-the-rotation (or at the worst middle-of-the-rotation) stuff this year.

The part we forgot, per that report? The Twins apparently didn't want Ian Kennedy, who won 21 games with a 1.086 WHIP and nearly 200 strikeouts last year for the Diamondbacks.

Again, revisionist history. But enough to make you wince even five years later over a trade that could have shaped the 2012 roster but instead left plenty of areas bare.

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