Monday, December 03, 2007

Pettitte to return; and Santana . . . ?

Andy Pettitte will return, presumably for the same $16 million he turned down a few weeks ago.

This gives the Yanks a rotation of Wang, Pettitte, Moose, Hughes, amd Joba, with Ian Kennedy in reserve . . . pending the Santana deal. On which subject . . .

Look for the Santana matter to be resolved (at least as far as the Yankees are concerned) today.

The Twins, who have played the Yankees off the Red Sox for a week now, may end up holding the bag. The Yankees will part with Hughes, Melky and a minor leaguer, but only reluctantly. If the Twins think they can get Kennedy added to that package, they're fooling themselves.

It may be that, all along, the Twins have been using the Yankees to pry loose Jacob Ellsbury (whom they prefer to Melky) from the Red Sox, plus either Jon Lester or Clay Buckholz (either of whom they view as more or less equivalent to Hughes).

Know this: George Steinbrenner has been coveting Santana for going on four years now, but son Hank and Brian Cashman--fresh from their A-Rod triumph, fresh from retaining every single one of their front-line free agents (Jorgie, Mo, Pettitte)--would happily stand pat and see what Joba, Hughes and Kenndy have.

Neither Steinbrenner nor Cashman wants Hughes to go off and become a 20-game winner (which, in limited work last year, he showed early signs of becoming). And Joe Girardi does not relish moving Johnny Damon back to centerfield, where Melky (who has all of Damon's speed plus a cannon arm, which Damon, uh, does not) blossomed last year.

For Santana, though, you take the chance. This is Barkley to the Suns, KG to the Celtics, Unit to the Astros. You roll the dice.

But--but--you don't get jerked around doing it.

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