November 15, 2007

What about Johan?

With reports of Alex Rodriguez on the verge of signing a 10-year $280 Million contract with the Yankees, it looks like teams may put all their focus on trying to acquire Johan Santana or Miguel Cabrera.

According to the Palm Beach Post, the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers are the "frontrunner's" in acquiring Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera a 24-year-old third baseman is likely to be traded because of his potential salary that should reach upwards of $20 Million annually after he is through with arbitration.

Cabrera is good, but how good is he?

Well according to the report, the Dodgers would have to part with four of the following to acquire Cabrera: Matt Kemp, Andy LaRoche, Chad Billingsley, James Loney, and Clayton Kershaw.

Where the Angels would have to part with: Howie Kendrick, Nick Adenhart, an Outfielder, and a Pitcher. The pitcher could be Ervin Santana while the outfielder could be Reggie Willits.

That is a hefty ransom for the blimping (is that a word?) Cabrera.

It raises the question, if the Marlins could get that for Cabrera, what could the Twins get for Santana?

Well it's hard to compare a pitcher to a position player, except when the pitcher has won 2 Cy Young's in the last 4 years, and is the best pitcher in all of baseball. Cabrera is good, but he is not the best at even his own position.

To my thinking, if the Marlins can get that from the Dodgers, the Twins shouldn't have a problem getting that from the Dodgers. But that is also debatable due to Cabrera's age compared to Santana's (24 to 28) and the teams need for a third baseman compared to a pitcher.

Many feel the Angels only weakness was that they needed a power-hitting third baseman. The team has extremely good pitching and so the need for Santana isn't as imperative as the need for Cabrera.

The Dodgers had a pretty good rotation last season, and their Achilles Heal was the absence of a power hitter. Jeff Kent lead the team with 20 home runs, although his future with the club and with baseball isn't exactly clear right now, so the team desperately needs to find a fix. So they too probably have a higher fancy for Cabrera.

But just for speculation sakes, lets say the Dodgers have a fine lineup, but need a pitcher, look at this lineup after the trade:

SS Bartlett
LF Kubel
C Mauer
CF Kemp
1B Morneau
RF Cuddyer
DH Loney
3B LaRoche
2B Punto/Casilla

With a rotation of:

1) Chad Billingsley
2) Francisco Liriano
3) Matt Garza
4) Scott Baker
5) Boof Bonser/Nick Blackburn/Brian Duensing/Glen Perkins

That would also cost very little against our payroll which could allow us to (A) find a different second baseman or (B) find another starter.

That could mean bringing back a guy like Luis Castillo, or bringing in a new guy like Kaz Matsui at second. Or we could bring in Kenny Rogers or re-signing pitcher Carlos Silva.

I know if the Twins were offered a deal like the Dodgers one, they would do it. I don't think you have to be associated with the team or have an "inside source" to confirm that one. But is it realistic? You tell me...
(I just want to add, that I do not think it is realistic that the Dodgers trade 4 or more of those guys for Cabrera or Santana, it is just fun to speculate and to dream.)