July 14, 2008

Twins looking for help

As I posted last week, the Twins clearly have two holes right now; a third baseman and good set-up man. And according to La Velle E. Neal III, the Twins feel the same way.

The Twins recently made contact with the Seattle Mariners about acquiring Adrian Beltre, who not only would fill 3rd base adequately with his stellar defense, but he also mashes against left-handed pitching which is a big concern:
“The one thing we had a hard time with in the first half was left-handed pitching,’’ he said. “When (Michael) Cuddyer comes back, that’s always gong to help, but if you have to make adjustments we need to hit lefties better than we did this half.
And then Neal gives us the splits:
vs. Left-Handed Pitchers: .265/.315/.380 with 17 home runs in 958 AB's.
vs. Right-Handed Pitchers: .283/.344/.419 with 48 home runs in 2,324 AB's.
That's a pretty considerable difference, and Beltre would definitely help in that area. He's currently hitting .347 with an OPS of 1.008 with 4 home runs in 75 AB's against southpaws. Those stats are much better than his numbers against right-handers.

It's unknown what the price tag on Beltre would be, but since he's on board for $12 million both this season and next season, I'm guessing it wouldn't take too much to acquire the 29-year-old from the Mariners. Despite making multiple moves in the off-season to improve the team from their great '07 season, the Mariners find themselves 20 games behind the division leading Angels and are definitely going to "sell" at the deadline. And although it may seem like the Mariners could ask for a lot for him, I believe that since it gives them such salary relief that the price tag will not be that much.

Heck, perhaps the Twins could make a blockbuster move and acquire both Beltre and Erik Bedard. It'd cost considerably more, but I think the Twins would be able to handle it (but unfortunately I don't see it happening).

The only problem with that, is that Bedard is not currently signed long-term which means the Twins would likely not keep him for past next season, which makes a trade with the Twins unlikely. But crazier things have happened.

The Move

Adrian Beltre, 29, 3rd Base


Brian Duensing, 24, Starting Pitcher
Boof Bonser, 26, Starting/Relief Pitcher

Impact: This gives the Twins a strong right-hander who is great against southpaws and it sures up 3rd base for at least the next year-and-a-half. This would give the Mariners two ML ready arms. But the only way I see the Twins giving up this little is if the Mariners are going out of their way to dump his salary (which looks unlikely). So I believe they'd have to offer another "decent" prospect (like Oswaldo Sosa, Anthony Swarzak, etc.).

It's unknown who the Twins are looking at for relief help, but there are capable arms available and the Twins just need to find the right deal.