July 31, 2008

Deal Or No Deal...

With the trade deadline coming up today at 3:00, the Twins have a few decisions to make. But the one move that needs to be made, is getting Francisco Liriano into the starting rotation. I believe that move could have as much of an impact as any other deal could. However, it's unfortunate that the team still feels so good about Livan Hernandez being in the starting rotation because none of the other starters deserve to be put in the bullpen, yet he's likely to stay around since there's been little to no trade buzz around him.

Hernandez demonstrated last night again, why he doesn't deserve to be in the rotation anymore. The Twins brought him in to eat up innings and to 'mentor' our young starting pitchers, however it seems as if the only way he will end up "eating up innings" will be to just keep him in despite giving up 6 runs to just protect our bullpen from needing to work 5 or so innings every 5 days. He just doesn't have it. He left the ball over the plate all night last night, and he continues to be the most hittable pitcher in all of baseball. He's making other teams look like a bunch of Joe Mauer's, giving up a league leading .340 batting average. He makes the defense work too much and with a below-average defensive team, the Twins cannot afford to have such a hittable pitcher. Even Nick Blackburn, who's been one of our best pitchers this season, has been talked about being moved to the bullpen because he gives up too many hits.

I don't see the Twins making any substantial moves, really I think the most that will happen will be Boof Bonser being traded to the Rangers or another team looking for pitching help and that are looking to take on a 26-year-old project. I can see us acquiring a bat like Rich Aurilia, but I doubt that we acquire anything better. But besides that, I think that any (logical) move that brings Francisco Liriano to the rotation, will be a good move. I don't think we need to acquire a bat necessarily, however getting a guy like Adrian Beltre or Mark Grudzielanek sure would be good.

One bit of information I thought was interesting to see was this:
The door may not be closed on Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre. I heard that the Twins have had many, many, many conversations with Seattle. But the Mariners have asked for Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins or Denard Span as part of a package, and the Twins won’t go there. It’s a matter of Mariners coming down in their demands but, as I wrote recently , it could be tough for these teams to find common ground.
Just look at everything Denard Span has been through in the last year. He doesn't get called up for September call-ups despite having a great couple months in AAA, while he's supposed to be the "heir apparent" to Torii Hunter. He then is basically written off by the team as they acquire 2 center fielders (in seperate deals) and 3 outfielders (all together) during the off-season. After that he is told that he has a chance to win the starting center field job in Spring Training, and despite having a very good spring he is still sent to Triple-A Rochester as the job was Carlos Gomez's all along. After that, he has a tremendous first half in Rochester (with a brief stay in Minnesota) and now seems valuable enough to keep around, and can actually give the Twins reason as to why they should keep him in the starting lineup even after Michael Cuddyer returns from injury.

The Twins reluctance to trade Span is not surprising given the injuries that have happened in the outfield thus far. However it's great to see them want to hang onto him when in just a year ago, he didn't figure into the teams' plans. I'm not blaming the team for wanting to write him off, but it's just great to see such a young player plays at 100% on every play, with great results. I mean, what more can you ask for?

Game Ball vs. White Sox (Wednesday)
Justin Morneau - First Base
1-3, run, double, RBI, walk
Twins lose, 8-3.