Apparently the Yankees may be willing to include Phil Hughes in the deal of Johan Santana. I still think they should sit on their offer of Kennedy, Melky, and a prospect for now. If the Yankees do include Phil Hughes, it is imperative that they include few other prospects.
As it stands now, an optimist could envision a Yankee team in a couple years includes a rotation of Wang, Hughes, Joba, Kennedy, and Horne. A bullpen that includes Ohlendorf, Cox, Sanchez, Melancon, and others. An outfield of Jose Tabata, Austin Jackson, and Melky Cabrera.
If Hughes must be supplanted by Santana, that may be the price of being the Yankees. However, it is important that as many of the other pieces as possible are kept. If Hughes is in the deal, Kennedy, Horne, Tabata, and Jackson must remain Yankees.
I understand that the Yankees want Santana because he’s the best pitcher on the planet. Look what just happened with Milledge; Hughes could very easily come out and have a sophomore slump next year and the Yankees therefore could have “sold high” unloading him now. Santana gives the Yankees the best chance at a World Series championship next year. And I certainly want the Yankees to win the World Series.
But when all was said and done with the 2007 season, there were two moments that stood out above all others.
1. Phil Hughes’ second career start against the Rangers. His fastball was blazing up to 96, his curve was dropping off the table, and the occasional changeup kept the Rangers off balance. For 7 innings, he was untouchable. Watching him strikeout Kenny Lofton, a guy who’s been playing baseball since Hughes was born, and seeing Loften shake his head as if he’s saying to himself “I have no chance” left me in awe. The Yanks were in the midst of their terrible slump to start the year. But Hughes was the savior. No matter what else happened in 2007, it seemed, the Yankees would recover because they would have Phil Hughes to be their ace of the future. When he pulled his hamstring and had to leave the game it was devastating. But everyone knew it was just a hamstring, not an arm problem. He would return; hope remained.
2. Joba Chamberlain pitches 2 innings against the Tigers in August. He faces the heart of the Tiger order and overpowers Guillen, Sheffield, and Ordonez. I still remember listening to John Sterling describe the futility of the Tiger’s swings and getting chills. Joba was a force of nature.
I now have a vested interest in both Hughes and Joba, more than just that they play for the Yankees. I cheered for Randy Johnson simply because he was a Yankee. With the young guys, it’s different. And remember, I watch the Yankees not just to see them win. I watch them for moments like I mentioned above as well. And if the Yankees get Santana at the cost of Hughes, the pressure will be on Santana to deliver moments of his own.