The NoMaas boys have a tendency to oversimplify things.
So when they suggested trying to take advantage of Joe Torre's presence in LA to get a huge windfall for Hideki Matsui, I ran through all the reasons it won't work they forgot to bring up:
- Hideki has a no-trade clause. So even though his contract is a reasonable 13 million dollars for the next two years, the Dodgers would have to extend him. Even if it was for 'just' two years (maybe 18 per?), that keeps Hideki under contract until he's 37.
- Hideki is coming off of knee surgery. His range was so limited last year that he got bumped out of left field and the Yankees are proceeding as though he is a full time DH. So we have to hope that the Dodgers don't read the papers.
- Hideki brings in a lot of advertising revenue to the Yankees. We don't know how much, but we can be sure that those daily radio spots Sterling and Waldman read aren't cheap.
- While Joe Torre is lousy at breaking in new players, if he thinks they have what it takes to be major leaguers they're set. Mr. Meyers suggest several young players (Kemp, Etheir, Loney, LaRoche, Billingsley, and Broxley) and then describes them as players who have "shown the ability to stick around for years to come."
- Joe Torre doesn't run the Dodgers. Much has been made of Joe Girardi's involvement in all levels of the organization, and change that represents from the Torre approach. If I were Ned Colletti and had fought that hard for control of the Dodgers' farm system, then Joe Torre is my perfect manager: he's going to manage the big club. While he's going to make some requests, all I have to do is come back to him and say, "I couldn't work out a deal that made sense."
So allow me to add my addendum to the NoMaas piece:
Clayton Kershaw, lhp, 19
He finished the year with 5 games in AA, and should start in AA next season. He was the seventh player selected in the 2006 draft, and one of the best lefty prospects out there; he should be the centerpiece of a Matsui trade.
Tony Abreu, 2B, 22
He broke into the majors in 2007, and wasn't spectacular (.271/.309/.404). In the best case scenario, he can battle with Alex Gonzalez for the utility position (he played 2B, 3B, and SS in 2007). In the worst case scenario, he'll be fighting for the chance to turn double plays for Johann Santana.
Joshua Bell, 3B, 20
He hit well in low-A, but struggled in 20 games at high-A. He should start the season there, and he'll be added to the list of Yankee bats in the lower levels. I mainly want him so he can play something better than Cotton-Eyed Joe during the 7th inning stretch.
Maybe I'm selling low, but that contract extension looms large for me, and adding an A+ arm like Kershaw would make the IPK+Melacon+Betemit=Santana equation more palatable.