October 22, 2008

Young for Cain? Don't bet on it

Chris Haft of MLB.com says that the Twins "covet Cain and would be willing to relinquish Young for him."

Since the beginning of the Twins' off-season, Delmon Young's name has been tossed around the rumor mill quite a bit. Whether it's his lack of production or his lethargic attitude, many feel that with the surplus of outfielders he is the most likely to be out.

It's not necessarily because of him having a down 2008 season though. Young's value is still much better than Denard Span's, Carlos Gomez's and Michael Cuddyer's right now. Meaning that if the Twins wanted to get anything in return, they'd have to give up something and Young could be that guy who nets us a player that we could use at a position of need.

Although Young still has good value, I think the Twins would have to give up something else pretty substantial to land Matt Cain from the Giants. And although it's unlikely for this trade to really happen being that Cain is probably coveted by every team in baseball and would certainly get more in return than whatever the Twins are willing to give up. I also don't think the Twins necessarily need to improve their starting pitching compared to the holes that they have in the lineup, despite having a very good offense last season.

Like Seth Stohs asked, how much more could the Twins conceivably give up? All of the Twins' starting pitchers are coveted by other teams, but they all play such important roles with the Twins that I think it would be unwise for them to trade any of them. Obviously though the Twins would be acquiring a starting pitcher in return, so it'd make at least one of them expendable anyways. Of course every player has a price, and if the Twins decided to add one of the pitchers, I think the Giants would certainly have to give up another player as well. The problem with that is that the Giants top paid players are mainly outfielders, and I don't see why the Twins would trade Young only to add another outfielder to the surplus. Of course the Twins could be looking at acquiring a prospect, but the Giants are trying to get young and I'd believe that they'd look to drop as much salary as possible, so I don't see them being apt to really add a prospect with a lot of value to a deal when they're trying to stay young and cheap.

It's not really a secret that the Twins had three problem areas in 2008: shortstop, third base and bullpen. The Twins really have one other need though, which could be filled with either shortstop or third base, and that is adding a proven run producer from the right side of the plate. In 2008, the Twins top 3 RBI leaders on the Twins were left-handed hitters. Young along with Michael Cuddyer who was injured for most of the season, are two of the players that will be looked upon to drive in runs from the right side. So instead of trading a player with the run production potential that Young has, the Twins should be looking to add a run producer to help them two out.

Young has been perceived to be a giant disappointment and yeah, if you're looking at what the Twins gave up and how they helped their respected team this season to acquire Young, I don't think anyone can disagree. However the Twins received a 22-year-old with raw power and a lot of potential to be a dangerous run producer at some point in his career. He really did not have a terrible season, but the expectations for him were set so high that it really just overlapped his actual production. He got better as the year went on and that included power. I don't see him ever being the 30 home run guy that many want him to be, but I do see him hitting between 20-30 home runs with 90+ RBI's with a good average and good OPS at some point in his career. Maybe it won't be even this year, but I don't believe at all that we've seen the best of Young and I think it could be a monstrous mistake for us to trade him.

The Twins are just one of the many teams that are interested in acquiring Cain, and I could not see the Twins conceivably giving up enough to acquire Cain. The Twins cannot afford to trade much more than Young if they're looking at acquiring a pitcher (unless we're talking Jake Peavy, but lets be real). As good as Cain is, the Twins should not be focusing on acquiring a starting pitcher. Instead they should be focusing on filling up a position that they currently need. The Twins can get by (quite well) with the same rotation as this year, I don't think that the lineup will be anywhere near as good as last year (even with a healthy Cuddyer) if they don't find better fits at shortstop or third base.

As for Cain being a Twin, I don't see it happening.