November 5, 2008

Hot Stove: Kevin Kouzmanoff

Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press would not be surprised to see Delmon Young traded to the San Diego Padres for Kevin Kouzmanoff. This isn't a great rumor, more so just a thought, but being that this off-season has been incredibly slow (in relation to last-years), I think it's something worth discussing.

Kouzmanoff is a 27-year-old third baseman with good power. He is not great defensively, but is without a doubt good enough to play there everyday. He was worse in the league (among third basemen) with a .299 OBP and his OPS was 3rd to worse. He is under team control through 2012, but will be 31 at that time.

Young's name has been in most of the Twins' rumors this off-season due to the fact that there is word that he doesn't fit in with the overall team and doesn't seem to give it his all on every play. Although I believe that some of that is due to the fact that he was a 22-year-old player on a brand new team, I do see why some would like to see him traded. He probably would net the most in return out of any of our outfielders and with a surplus of starting outfielders, the Twins probably would be better off by trading one of them for a position of need.

I don't discourage a Delmon Young trade, however I do discourage them trading for anything less than an All-Star caliber player in return. Kouzmanoff for Young might have been better for the 2008 season, and it might be better for the 2009 season, but I am willing to bet quite a bit that by 2010 the Twins would be regretting that trade immensely. Young has the potential to be a perennial All-Star some day, while Kouzmanoff will likely always be just an o.k. player.

One of Young's biggest downfalls is his lack of discipline at the plate. He swings at first pitches too often and doesn't walk enough compared to his strikeout numbers. However Kouzmanoff at 4 years older is worse at the plate in terms of discipline. Kouzmanoff has good power right now, but I think that 23 home runs is certainly in Young's range at some point in the not-too-distant future.

The Twins I believe could get Kouzmanoff without having to give up Young, and really in my mind if that's the player they are requiring, then either they up the ante or the Twins walk away. This trade solves a couple problems for the Twins, it clears up a spot in the outfield permanently and it gives them an answer at third base.

Personally, I'd rather see the Twins sign Casey Blake, Joe Crede or Hank Blalock to one or two-year deals and wait until Danny Valencia or Luke Hughes are ready (possibly) by the end of the 2009 season. I think that the price for Kouzmanoff is just too high and the Twins would definitely regret this decision in a couple of years.