In every paper in the Tri-State area Hank Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman have been quoted regarding the possibility of trading for pending superstar Miggy Cabrera. In each and every quote the Yanks' owner and GM have made a point of repeatedly stating that the Yanks' top 3 young pitchers (Joba, Hughes and Kennedy) will not be available in such a trade. In today's Daily News, however, Hank slipped and might have showed us a glimpse of the Yanks' strategy.
For the first time in print, Hank almost forgot to add Ian Kennedy to the list of 'least-tradables'. Kennedy (hereafter dubbed "Ikky") had a monster year in '07. He flew through 3 levels in the minors and was very impressive in 3 starts for the Yanks. His numbers look great. There is very little doubt, however, that when compared to Joba (hereafter - The Beast, or TB) and Hughes (hereafter - The Messiah, or TM), Ikky is probably half-step below on the prospect scale.
The Marlins have said that they are "targeting" certain players and will trade MigCab only for the players targeted. There is no doubt that TM and TB are in the crosshairs of that target. By constantly putting Ikky on the same level as TB and TM in quotes all over the country, Cash and Hank are making it appear that giving him up would be just as painful giving up one of the other 2. They are doing a great job of making it appear that they value Ikky just as much as TB and TM. Now don't get me wrong, I believe Kennedy has plus potential; I agree with the Mike Mussina comparisons. There is a big difference, however, between Moose (in his prime) and a true shut-down ace like Johan or Pedro circa 1999/2000 - which is what both Joba and Hughes have the potential to become.
When the time comes, and the Yanks "give in" and trade Ikky as the centerpiece of the deal to the Marlins for MigCab, the wonderfully played strategy of Hank Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman will be a big reason they were able to pull it off.