Wait, what? Sox in hunt for Ben Sheets?

UPDATE ON JOHAN SANTANA TRADE TALKS: Buster Olney reports that the Red Sox have “generated a few new ideas for its proposed offer.” I have no idea what that means. It certainly doesn’t mean that the Red Sox have changed their offer to include Clay Buchholz or Jacoby Ellsbury.
Wow, I’m surprised this hasn’t gotten more press.
Hat tip to Brewers Bar, the MVN Brewers site
David over at Brewers Bar was checking out Tim Haudricourt’s blog on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s online site and mentioned that there was a rumor of Julio Lugo, Jon Lester and two prospects for Ben Sheets and J.J. Hardy. Note: In following David’s link, I found no reference to this rumor, and a cursory look at the site as a whole yielded no results. Will find the link David is referencing. Update: JSOnline.com link, Projo.com link
David says:

Trade Sheets and Hardy? I guess I can see where Doug Melvin is putting pressure on himself to make changes, because last year

Categories: Ben Sheets J.J. Hardy Johan Santana Jon Lester Julio Lugo Milwaukee Brewers Minnesota Twins Trades

Born on the 37th anniversary of the the day Babe Ruth died (1985) which later became the day Jimy Williams was fired in 2001 (a monumental event at the time), Evan was too young to experience the pain 1986 brought, but a deep wound was sowed in 2003. Since then, Fire Brand has become a blog that Red Sox “club officials read,” as per Peter Gammons. Evan enjoys working out, writing, reading, quality television, science fiction and history and being newly married. He is a professional baseball journalist as well as president of a state non-profit and member of the Board of Directors for a national profit. (Twitter.)

51 Responses to “Wait, what? Sox in hunt for Ben Sheets?” Subscribe

  1. Joe December 1, 2007 at 3:41 PM #

    I like the idea of getting Hardy. Sheets scares the living crap out of me but given that we have six starters that'll make his inevitable trips to the DL a little more tolerable.

  2. Evan Brunell December 1, 2007 at 3:50 PM #

    You said it, Joe.
    Debate on prospects: Sheets is good. Hardy is good. Lester would probably get Hardy straight up – or Lester and a mid-level prospect. I would estimate that Lester and Julio Lugo would trump Hardy (I'm factoring in the Sox eating cash here) so what I'm thinking is…
    Jon Lester, Julio Lugo, Craig Hansen and Jed Lowrie (he could play third or backup) for Sheets and Hardy. That's my guess, at least.
    I can't decide if that's too little or just right. Definitely not too much.

  3. Daniel Rathman December 1, 2007 at 4:17 PM #

    I LOVE THIS IDEA!
    If only because it rids us of Lugo. God I hate that guy.
    Hardy is indeed a gifted defender and I think he's a good fit for Fenway. However, his range isn't too great, and that might mean a lot of grounders going up the middle.
    I'm also a huge Sheets fan. If only he could stay healthy…
    Make it happen, Theo. Please.

  4. Daniel Rathman December 1, 2007 at 4:20 PM #

    Side-note:
    The Sox signed outfielder Jon Van Every to a one-year deal. He's 28 years-old and hit .344/.416/.583 for Class-AA Akron, then .272/.370/.468 for Class-AAA Buffalo.
    He's a left-handed hitter with an outside shot of making the team.

  5. Evan Brunell December 1, 2007 at 4:22 PM #

    Hey Daniel:
    I know ;) http://mvn.com/mlb-redsox/2007/12/01/arbitration-

  6. Sam December 1, 2007 at 4:49 PM #

    lol wow … yeah I guess it was only a matter of time before Lugo rumours started flying … doesn't seem like a horrible trade to me I guess … two questions need to be answered tho before it can really be judged … how would Sheets handle Fenway? and would J.J Hardy be good enough to justify eating yet another shortstop's salary?

  7. Tim December 1, 2007 at 5:10 PM #

    Yeah…I just don't buy this one. On many many levels. Makes little sense for the Brewers unless the two prospects include young pitching like Masterson/Bowden. The Sox would have to eat too much of Lugo's deal and I think they expect him to perform much better at the plate next year. His defense was actually better than most people give him credit for and he fits well with Manny/Papi, etc in the clubhouse.

  8. Michael Edelman December 1, 2007 at 9:59 PM #

    No thanks. Sheets pitches in a rather pitcher friendly park in a rather weak hitting NL Central division. He's got a 4.16, 1.30, .272 BAA line on the road over his career and he's a HUGE injury liability. I'd rather have Lester.

  9. Austin Avis December 1, 2007 at 6:33 PM #

    Sheets is injury prone; always has and will always be.

  10. Evan Brunell December 1, 2007 at 6:40 PM #

    First of all, that's what everyone said about Beckett.
    Second of all… your point exactly? We know this — that's why he wouldn't have as much value in a trade than if he was durable. With our depth at SP, we can absolutely afford this risk.
    He's 28, and he wasn't injury prone until 2005. Was he injury prone in 2001-24? No, he was one of the most durable pitchers in the game.
    2001-04 don't tell the story? Well, neither does 05-07. Injuries to pitchers tend to snowball: it doesn't mean they stay.

  11. Daniel Rathman December 1, 2007 at 6:46 PM #

    Evan:
    Sorry about that — missed the previous post :-)

  12. Hoggy December 1, 2007 at 7:00 PM #

    Sheets will give us 3 solid starters any MLb team dream of. I hope we get him.

  13. Daniel Rathman December 1, 2007 at 7:01 PM #

    The latest hourly Santana update from KNBR. This one's extensive, so it's not word-for-word…
    1. The Yankees have offered Hughes, Melky, and one more lower-caliber minor league prospect. The Twins are demanding one of Austin Jackson or Alan Horne, while the Yankees are unwilling to part with either.
    2. Meanwhile, the Sox are still talking to the Twins off-and-on. The Twins haven't been willing to listen to any offers that don't include Ellsbury, while the Sox have been refusing to include Ellsbury unless the Twins agree to part with one or two more players, possibly including reliever Jesse Crain.
    3. There was also an unconfirmed report from an insider source who said that the Twins and Red Sox were discussing a three-way deal involving the Brewers. Bill Hall and Chris Capuano were apparently somehow involved, and the Brewers were seeking bullpen help, possibly Craig Hansen or Jesse Crain. (Note: This is the first time I've heard this rumor and I haven't seen it anywhere else, so I'm doubtful of its validity.)
    4. The Angels, Mets, and Dodgers are no longer believed to be in the race for Santana. Reports that the Mariners had offered a blockbuster package are now believed to be false, though they are apparently still in contact with the Twins.
    5. There are still indications that if the Red Sox agreed to deal Ellsbury, the Twins would unconditionally take Ellsbury, Lester, Lowrie, and Bowden over any Yankees package that doesn't include Hughes, Kennedy, and Melky.
    I still say we should let the Yankees have him, then go after Haren…if we want to, or just trade Coco for bullpen help.
    If you were Theo, what would your next move be?

  14. Daniel Rathman December 1, 2007 at 7:08 PM #

    One more thing…
    "The Twins are in no hurry to trade Santana, and apparently prefer to take the negotiations to the Winter Meetings. The Yankees however, appear anxious to get a deal done, and may set a Monday deadline for the trade portion (extension pending) to be completed. There is little to suggest that the Twins will pull the trigger on a deal before the weekend is over."
    Sounds like Bill Smith wants to milk this one until someone really goes all in. It'd be kinda funny if the Yanks set the deadline and the Twins refused to make a deal before then, wouldn't it? Hank would have to eat his words again…

  15. Daniel Rathman December 1, 2007 at 7:25 PM #

    I doubt this is true, but a friend who lives in Baltimore and hates both the Sox and Yanks just emailed me this…
    "According WNST, the local sports radio station here, an industry source close to Santana said that he will demand an eight-year extension worth $176 million from the team that acquires him. There are also rumors that Santana would much prefer to hit the open market next winter than get traded now. WTF are you guys getting yourselves into?!"
    If that's true, hang up the phone Theo. No pitcher deserves that much.
    On a related note, I'm hoping this reaches some sort of conclusion soon. I've been listening to KNBR for about 10 consecutive hours, rotating between ESPN, SI, FOX Sports, RotoWorld, and MLBTR, all while trying to do college apps.
    Yes, in case you're wondering, I have no life.

  16. Austin Avis December 1, 2007 at 7:39 PM #

    It's possible that the Twins are going to piss off both the Yankees and Red Sox with their demands – there are reports coming out of New York that Bill Smith is actually asking for Kennedy (a young Mike Mussina type) as the third player in the Yankee deal. The Twins just don't have the money to sign Santana, so they that have to be realistic and not shoot for the moon. If they hold on to the guy until July the Twins will get a lot less.
    Phil Hughes is the best SP prospect to come along in many years. Some baseball experts have even compared him to Feller and Clemens in potential (and, yes, better than Chamberlain and Bucholtz). If the Twins don't go for a deal that includes Hughes and Melky Cabrera they must be smoking something very strange.
    Only way for the BoSox to land Santana is to include Ellsbury or Bucholtz, maybe both.

  17. Bob December 1, 2007 at 9:05 PM #

    Sorry dude, Hughes is terribly hyped and I don't think he's the best SP prospect in many years in fact in almost everyone thought (and still does) that Felix Hernandez and Fransisco Liriano were better. Buchholz and Joba are both better prospects than Hughes at this point (they have better stuff) and that's why the Yankees are calling Joba untouchable. I believe that the Yankees will get Santana because I don't think they want to get beat on this one, but there is no way in hell Buchholz is going anywhere and definitely not in the same package as Ellsbury.

  18. Sean O December 1, 2007 at 10:08 PM #

    Austin, why do you think Melky is worth anything? He's execrable in the field and can't hit. We may as well include Brandon Moss or Ryan Kalish if Melky is so sought after.
    And no way Hughes is the best pitching prospect in years. Very good, yes, but in years? come on.

  19. JaredK December 1, 2007 at 10:23 PM #

    I got to say that if Hughes is healthy and regains his velocity a tick or two back to where it was in the minors and can maintain at 94-95 then he is right there with Liriano and f. Hernandez. I am surprised that the Yanks have held out Chambelrain instead of Hughes…Joba has two very good pitches, but his fastball jumps up a couple mph's when pitching in relief and his slider his only other plus pitch which people can lay off and sit dead red on his fastball once they see him a bunch of times. He also had some bad injuries in college and with is build I would be very hesitant to put Hughes in a deal instead of him. I am glad the Yanks are refusing him and allowing Hughes in this deal…I really believe Hughes will be a much better starter over time. Joba was a fantastic reliever but I could easily see him being Jaret Wright as much as I could see him being a excellent starter….Wright had a great fastball/curveball and could not put it together outside one year in Atlanta. I am not saying he will not be successful but Hughes just seems to have the composure. pedigree and build to be a much better bet over time. Hopefully the Twins get Tabata or Jackson included but it seems like the Yanks are wise enough to realize if they include Hughes that the rest of the value is gonna drop.

  20. jvwalt December 2, 2007 at 5:36 AM #

    You know, if they do trade Lugo, then the Red Sox shortstop position has officially become the baseball equivalent of "drummer for Spinal Tap."

  21. Schulz December 2, 2007 at 7:17 AM #

    Haha well put jvwalt

  22. Daniel Rathman December 2, 2007 at 7:18 AM #

    lol, jvwalt

  23. David Hannes December 2, 2007 at 9:28 AM #

    Haudricourt didn't mention it, but readers did…it was in his blog posting a day earlier. Here is the link:
    http://blogs.jsonline.com/brewers/archive/2007/11

  24. Daniel Rathman December 2, 2007 at 9:37 AM #

    According to KNBR:
    1. If neither the Red Sox nor the Yankees offer is sweetened, the Twins will keep Johan Santana and attempt to sign him to an extension again. They will not trade him unless Jacoby Ellsbury is included from the Sox or Horne/Jackson is made available by the Yankees.
    2. The Sox have apparently been creative, trying to find a third team to bring into the talks, while shopping Craig Hansen and Coco. For now, Theo has not been at all willing to sweeten his offer.
    3. Reports from yesterday that indicated the Yankees were close to a deal with the Twins were false. According to a source directly involved with the negotiations, "nothing is close, and no satisfactory offer has been received." He also said that "it would be inaccurate to say that any one team is currently leading the race."

  25. Daniel Rathman December 2, 2007 at 9:47 AM #

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=31380
    According to Buster Olney, the Sox are now willing to trade Ellsbury OR Lester, but not both. If Ellsbury is on the table, then Lester is off of it.
    I would assume that the new package is now Ellsbury, Lowrie, Bowden, and Masterson.
    Also, the Yankees are believed to have set a Tuesday deadline for a trade to be completed.
    I'm guessing something will leak about which offer the Twins now prefer by tomorrow.
    My only issue is, if we deal Ellsbury but not Lester, suddenly we've got seven — count them, SEVEN — starting pitchers. I still think this is just Theo trying to get the Yankees to improve their offer even more.

  26. Bob December 2, 2007 at 9:53 AM #

    Damn you beat me to the punch. I don't think that Theo wants to go into the season with 7 starters either, this really has to be just a ploy.

  27. Daniel Rathman December 2, 2007 at 10:07 AM #

    Unless…
    Theo gets Santana for Ellsbury + a few other players. Then, he trades Lester to some other team for a young bat (catcher?) and relief help. The Brewers come to mind, if they're willing to trade LaPorta, who has no easily discernible spot in Milwaukee. Or maybe the Diamondbacks, who have a couple of interesting young catchers and could use an extra SP.
    But as you said, Bob, this is probably just Theo playing games with Bill Smith and Cashman.

  28. Michael Edelman December 2, 2007 at 10:57 AM #

    No, I'm with Daniel. Lester, especially coupled with Hansen (who the Brewers are interested in) could help to fill other team needs.

  29. Steven Roth December 2, 2007 at 11:15 AM #

    I pitched a no-hitter with Ben Sheets during a game of MVP Baseball (xbox), bring him on board!

  30. Dan Order December 2, 2007 at 11:36 AM #

    apparently the red sox took lester out of their offer for santana and replaced him with ellsbury. I am in now way in favor of this deal and i have no idea what epstein is thinking. why do we need seven starters? what the hell? ellsbury is going to make a great leadoff hitter and now theyre going to lose him so that they can add a seventh starter to an already great rotation. this is absurd.

  31. Dan Order December 2, 2007 at 11:51 AM #

    oops i guess i was really late on that, anyways its a dumb idea

  32. Daniel Rathman December 2, 2007 at 11:53 AM #

    I still think Epstein is just posturing and trying to get the Yankees to sweeten their offer. Question is, are the Twins really willing to hand on to Santana?

  33. Dan Order December 2, 2007 at 3:00 PM #

    Or maybe even to get the Yankkes off the table all together. The Yankees say that their offer is off the table if a deal hasn't been reached by Tuesday. Im sure it will be hard for the twins to make up their mind when both teams put down offers with nearly the same value.

  34. Daniel Rathman December 2, 2007 at 3:03 PM #

    Yeah, but Hanky has moved off his word before, and he just might do it again.

  35. Sam December 2, 2007 at 3:03 PM #

    the Twins are walking a fine line … they absolutely have to try and keep up the image that they are willing and able to keep Santana … otherwise they are going to seem awfully desperate to get something for him, thus lowering their leverage in any talks … I think they are pushing their luck right now
    as far as Ellsbury goes … if we make him available in any way thats a mistake … I still think our biggest intention in all of this is to up the Yankees price … but I really don't see them going much higher and we are pushing it to even try and go any farther … of course if the Twins accept our offer I still wouldn't be too worried as I think the Yanks are the only team really willing to offer Santana the stupid contract he's going to want … IMO it's Yankees now or Yankees later for Santana … lets hope the Twins realize that before the Yanks do and take their offer as is

  36. Dave B. December 2, 2007 at 3:29 PM #

    Am I the only one that doesn't want Santana at all? Like, if he was a FA i would still be against signing him. He is going to be looking for a 7 year $150 million contract. There is no pitcher worth that. How many more great years does Santana have? He has logged A LOT of innings over the past 4 years and will soon be 29. I have zero confidence in him being a $20 million pitcher in 2014. Hell i have zero confidence he will be a $20 million pitcher in 2011.

  37. Austin Avis December 2, 2007 at 3:32 PM #

    The Santana thing has turned into a freaking circus. It may be that he won't even approve a deal to the BoSox, if a trade is agreed. Santana has said on any number of occasions that he would "love" to play for the Yankees. Even some of his teammates have confirmed that.
    Trading Ellbury is a mistake. He is going to be a very good lead off man in the mold of a Johnny Damon.

  38. Daniel Rathman December 2, 2007 at 3:57 PM #

    An update from KNBR:
    1. The Yankees have set a Monday deadline for the Twins to accept their "final offer." If the Twins reject it, the Yankees say that they will be out of the running for Santana, and will instead pursue Dan Haren or another pitcher. One insider source though, said that he doesn't believe the Yanks will adhere to the deadline.
    2. The Sox's new offer is believed to include Ellsbury, Lowrie, Masterson, and Bowden.
    3. When reports noted that the Sox were being creative, here's what they might have meant…
    –The Sox have shown very strong interest in Pat Neshek. There are reports that the Sox would be willing to include $20 million in the trade to help the Twins sign Joe Nathan to an extension, in exchange for Neshek's inclusion in the deal.
    –Another report suggested that the Sox would be willing to include Lester and Ellsbury in the deal, if the Twins were willing to part with Neshek and Kevin Slowey in return.
    I'm still not convinced that Theo is legitimately interested in Santana, but it's looking more and more like he might be…

  39. hynes December 2, 2007 at 7:05 PM #

    I can't believe people are even arguing over this. Crying out loud. Ellsbury isn't going to be a great player. He's going to be a good, maybe even a very good player – but he's not a superstar. We see him have a great Sept. and Oct. and we're penciling the kid into the HOF already. Coco's defense is still better then Ellsbury and once I'm hesitant to see how Jacoby handles a prolonged hitting slump in Boston, because he will – more than likely next year if he's our everyday CF.
    Johan has filthy stuff, a left-handed pitcher (in the AL East!), 2 Cys and he's still only 29. And while the Sox might have to smooth some of Josh's feathers (like they do for Ortiz), having Santana, Beckett, Dice-K and Buchholz setting up your rotation for the next three years at least is going to be freakin amazing.
    It's pitching pitching pitching. It's how you win Series rings. It's how the Yanks did it in the late 90's, and it's how we did this year.
    I love Ellsbury, but "falling back" to Coco so we can add Santana is fine with me.

  40. hynes December 2, 2007 at 7:06 PM #

    Oh and as far as the money is concerned: Honestly what do I care? It doesn't matter who they add — they're going to raise ticket prices every year anyway. It's not my money they're spending on these players.

  41. Dave B. December 2, 2007 at 7:27 PM #

    The Red Sox don't have an infinite amount of money. If they mess up with a contract like that, we are going to be watching a 3rd place team.

  42. Sam December 2, 2007 at 7:37 PM #

    um … it's not the fact I don't want them to get paid … sure, at times I feel it's disgusting how much these people get payed to play a game … but in the end I agree I could care less … so it's not that
    the reason I would be against trading for and then signing Santana to a contract of that sort is because you limit your options … you can't add other people if you're pouring tons of money into guys who may not justify taking up such a large percentage of a payroll … it hurts the team … and doesn't allow them to be as flexible as an organization
    For example, look at the Yankees … you could argue the reason they have not won a World Series as of late is because the organization isn't flexible … they can't always make the moves they want to because they have so many bad contracts weighing down the roster
    Now it's debatable whether Santana for 7 yrs at 20 mil per would be a bad contract but IMO it certainly would … throwing on our future leadoff hitter and sparkplug just puts it even further over the line to me … thats why I don't think it's best we make this trade … but if they do … it'll be pitching dominance for at least a couple enjoyable years so in the end I guess I can't complain too much ;)

  43. Sean O December 2, 2007 at 7:39 PM #

    Sam, I understand where you're coming from, and that was my justification against the Lowell deal. But here's the thing, Lowell is a mediocre 3b, while Santana is the best pitcher in the game. One limits our options with zero upside, while the other provides years of potential Cy Young performances.
    Locking into people like Santana is what we should be doing, not locking into the Lowells and Lugos of the world.

  44. Daniel Rathman December 2, 2007 at 8:01 PM #

    I agree with Sean O. If we hadn't signed Lugo and Lowell, I don't think Santana would be much of a problem at all. Unfortunately, signing Santana to 6/150 will doubtless result in elevating Beckett's salary to the $20M/year range, and I don't think the Sox can realistically do that if they want to throw all kinds of money at Teixeira next offseason.
    I might be wrong, but I honestly think that given the circumstances, Haren is the better option for the Sox.

  45. Sam December 2, 2007 at 8:16 PM #

    oh I know Santana will be good … but will he be the 150 million dollars kind of good? I doubt it … not over 7 years … I just don't like thinking about dealing with that contract when Santana is an injury prone 35-36 year old pitcher
    but yes I do agree he is the kind of player Boston should want to spend their money on … just not that much of their money
    I liked the way this was going as long as we didn't try and go too far … I can't say for sure because all I get to hear is a million different conflicting reports but I think we may have pushed it too far … forcing the Yankees to overpay is fine and all … and even if the Yanks did pull out and we got Santana and had to pay him all that money I think I'd still be for it just because I loved the trade when it stood at Lester/Crisp/etc. … but risking losing a cheap electric young center fielder who we know will give it his all every time he gets on the field and who I want to root for for years to come … and who we said we wouldn't trade lol … I dunno I just don't think that's smart anymore … but I'm not there and I'm not the GM … so I just have to wait and see
    let's hope Hank actually keeps his word this time and sticks to the deadline he set on … actually … well nevermind forget I even said that lol

  46. Richard Toth December 2, 2007 at 8:19 PM #

    Keep Lugo. I am tired of the Red Sox getting rid of shortstops. Dropping Cabrera, Renteria and Gonzalez have not been good moves. Lugo had a good second half and he had a lot of important hits throughout the second half. He's not a great glove but not bad. 70 RBI's from a shortstop who missed some games and bats usually last isn't bad. Also, the stolen base threat is there with him in thee or even as a pinch runner(remember Dave) Keep Ellsbury and Coco Crisp for now until a deal is necessary. J.D. needs a break against quite a few lefties. Manny's getting old and is rated the worst outfielder and he's a poor baserunner. The Red Sox are versatile with Youkilis playing anywhere and that's needed because Francona does a good job of resting his older players. They finally have good four outfielders and that's great for now.

  47. Jesse Motiff December 2, 2007 at 8:52 PM #

    NO, never ever ever! Parts of our core don't get traded and aren't even on the block. Sheets isn't part of that core though.

  48. Daniel Rathman December 2, 2007 at 9:54 PM #

    KNBR:
    "Johan Santana has informed the Twins that he will only accept a trade to the Red Sox or Yankees, and has warned them that he wants the situation to be resolved as soon as possible. Santana has threatened to veto any trade that occurs after the end of the coming week, no matter the destination or the extension he is offered."
    Looks like this will indeed be resolved soon. One thing that's worth noting is I haven't seen Santana ever mention that he's particularly interested in being traded and signing and extension. Personally, I think he wants to wait one more year and possibly earn much more as a free agent.

  49. Daniel Rathman December 2, 2007 at 10:35 PM #

    Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus reports that the Twins will not trade Santana for anything less than three major-league ready prospects.
    This would mean that the Sox's original offer of Coco, Lowrie, Lester, and Bowden was pretty close, and that the Yankees offer lacks one ML-ready prospect. In other words, it confirms the belief that if the Sox were willing to trade both Lester and Ellsbury, the Twins would not hesitate to make the deal.
    If I'm Theo, I'm in wait-and-see mode. If the Twins choose the "take it" side of the Yanks' ultimatum, fine. If they choose the "leave it" side, I'd stick to the original offer and see what the Twins decide to do. The Twins will have zero leverage if the Yankees drop out and they'll have to keep Santana, or trade him to Boston.
    Also, KNBR mentioned a few hours ago that the Sox had extensive talks with the Brewers about Ben Sheets, but found that Doug Melvin's preference is to hang onto Sheets unless someone wows him with an offer.
    (Off to bed…not that I'll get any sleep anyway…I hate the offseason sometimes.)

  50. Sam December 2, 2007 at 11:08 PM #

    good stuff DR … should be a interesting day tommorrow to say the least

  51. Hoggy December 7, 2007 at 10:06 PM #

    Bottom line. ADDING JOHAN WILL GIVE US THE AUTOMATIC PLAYOFF RUN and very good good odds in the world series. Nobody should talk bad about a Johan trade.