October 16, 2007

An early look at the 2008 season (Part 2)

As a follow up to yesterday, here is the conclusion of my early look at the 2008 season.

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)
Free Agents:
  • 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:
  1. Jason Bartlett - SS -R
  2. Joe Mauer - C - L
  3. Matt Kemp - CF - R
  4. Justin Morneau - 1B - L
  5. Michael Cuddyer - RF - R
  6. Bobby Abreu - LF/DH - L
  7. Jason Kubel - DH/LF -L
  8. Andy LaRoche -3B - R
  9. 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?


Tom said...

Thank you for the 2 part early look. I hope the Twins can retain Santana (5 years-90 million-16,17,18,19,20 opening offer and go as high as 100 mil) But your trade looks good also. What do you think of keeping Santana and going after Tampa's Longoria or Iwamura,Gomes and Baldelli.(i know your rolling the dice with Baldelli and he could be a complete washout) Tampa needs pitching. Offer Slowey,Perkins and Rincon (Guerrier if Longoria is in the deal instead of Rincon). You then can lock up Morneau,Cuddyear,Nathan as you suggested. Also make an offer for Coco Crisp (since he will lose his job to Ellsbury next year) as insurance if Baldelli doesn't work out. Thanks Tom

Josh's Thoughts said...

That's a good idea, Tom.

Longoria is a great young player, he's already showing his bat off in the AZFL with 3 home runs in his first 4 games (6 games total).

I like the idea of adding him, but I think that the Devil Rays will look elsewhere to add pitching then to trade a blue-chip prospect like him. I've heard that B.J. Upton will remain in CF next season with Iwamura moving to 2nd when Longoria is ready (perhaps opening day).

But I also like your ideas of trading for Coco Crisp and/or Roco Baldeli. I prefer Baldeli because I think he's still a better player. But his injuries are definitely alarming.

Good ideas. Thanks for your response.

Nick N. said...

Interesting ideas Josh. I think some of your estimates are a little off, but for the most part I like where your head's at. There's one spot where I really disagree with you though:

Four years/$38M is on the low side of what Nathan should be expected to sign for. Look at the contracts that Billy Wagner and B.J. Ryan signed recently, and consider that the market for closers seems to be on the uptick. Even at the price you quote (which would be a hometown discount), I don't really think it's worth it to commit that kind of money to Nathan when the Twins have so many good young arms in their system. If all goes well, Eddie Morlan should be nearly ready to take over that closing role by the time Nathan's contract is up. If it were up to me, I'd have Nathan play out his contract at a good value next year, then let him walk for a pair of draft picks afterward (maybe trade him around the deadline next year if the Twins aren't competitive and there's a decent offer).

Overall though, good work.

Josh's Thoughts said...

Nick, you're correct. It was actually meant to be 3-years at $38 Million. My mistake. A 4-year contract at that price is way below what he's worth and I'm sure he'd feel insulted if we did propose that.

Anonymous said...

Im sure nathan would love to go back to Texas, if we offered him 4 yrs at 38 million (even if its 40 through insentives)
Josh, I really like your lineup, wow! I just think it is a killer.

On a sidenote: I am not positive on this, but i believe Tampa Bay has proclaimed at least one time That Evan Longoria 3rd basemen is "untouchable"

steve said...

Im sure nathan would love to go back to Texas, if we offered him 4 yrs at 38 million (even if its 40 through insentives)
Josh, I really like your lineup, wow! I just think it is a killer.

On a sidenote: I am not positive on this, but i believe Tampa Bay has proclaimed at least one time That Evan Longoria 3rd basemen is "untouchable"

Josh's Thoughts said...

Thanks Steve. And I believe you're right about Longoria.

(Also on a side note) Same goes for Justin Upton. I've heard he's as "untouchable as a player can be".

I agree though. That lineup would really entice me to pull the trigger on any Johan deal.

Thanks for the note.