The Twins have a couple options going into next season, in regards to Johan Santana and Joe Nathan. I personally would do this. Although I know it would not be a popular choice.
I would trade Johan Santana for Matt Kemp, Andy LaRoche and Blake DeWitt.
The offer would give the Twins 3 young position players who won't only help this team this coming season, but for the next 10 years if all goes well.
***With Santana off the books, and with Torii Hunter a free agent, our 2008 payroll is now (to my estimates) $43,740,000. That gives us plenty of room to resign our arbitration-eligible players to contracts, and also it gives us room to resign Joe Nathan and still have room to sign an impact bat.
Here are my projected deals:
- Justin Morneau: 6 -year $70 Million deal (2008 Salary: $9 Million). It's about the same contract that Torii Hunter wanted, but with Morneau being 6 years younger than Hunter is, I can see the Twins giving him something similar to this.
- Michael Cuddyer: 4 - year $35 Million deal. (2008 Salary: $6 Million).
- Joe Nathan: $3 -year $38 Million deal. (2008 Salary: $9.5 Million)
- Bobby Abreu: 3 -year $28 Million deal ($9 Million in '08). I feel that Bobby Abreu still has a little left in his tank. He's battled injuries, but he's still a very good contact hitter and has a big enough swing to belt a good number of home runs over the right field baggy in the Metrodome.
- Bartolo Colon: 1 - year $2 Million deal (option for '09). He's had two bad years, both plagued by injury. But if he can stay healthy, I think he'd be a good fit.
***With the trade and the free agent signing, our lineup would look like this:
- Jason Bartlett - SS -R
- Joe Mauer - C - L
- Matt Kemp - CF - R
- Justin Morneau - 1B - L
- Michael Cuddyer - RF - R
- Bobby Abreu - LF/DH - L
- Jason Kubel - DH/LF -L
- Andy LaRoche -3B - R
- Nick Punto - 2B - S
That is a very good lineup mixed with veterans and young players. I think this could potentially be a lineup that could bring us to the playoffs or possibly even the World Series.
But offense isn't everything. Usually in baseball, offense will carry you throughout the season and the pitching will carry you in the playoffs. So what would our pitching rotation look like?
- Starter 1: Matt Garza
- Starter 2: Scott Baker
- Starter 3: Francisco Liriano
- Starter 4: Kevin Slowey
- Starter 5: Bartolo Colon
Obviously, our rotation is not going to be the same without Johan Santana at the top, but I think that our rotation will be sufficient. I know I don't want to put too much of it on this, but I really do think that Francisco Liriano will have a good year. Not his '06 form, but I think he'll be a reliable starter and will show people flashes of his "old days".
This now leaves us with a payroll of $79,240,000. Definitely still in our "range" and it would give us a good young team that can be ready to compete in '08.
What do you think? Does this work? What would you do differently?