January 31, 2008

Where are we at?

Good morning. Yesterday was a pretty depressing day. I've kept my optimism, but it's never easy to lose a player like Johan Santana. That's the second big sports star the great state of Minnesota has lost in the last 6 months (Kevin Garnett the other) and I just can't say that I'm happy, regardless to the fact that I see everything working out in the long run.

The Twins have gotten a completely new look this off-season.

Loses Additions
Johan Santana, LHP Delmon Young, OF
Carlos Silva, RHP Carlos Gomez, OF
Matt Garza, RHP Deolis Guerra, RHP
Torii Hunter, OF Adam Everett, SS
Jason Bartlett, SS Phillip Humber, RHP
Eduardo Morlan, RHP Kevin Mulvey, RHP
Jason Tyner, OF Jason Pridie, OF
Lew Ford, OF Brendan Harris, 2B
Luis Rodriguez, 3B Craig Monroe, OF
Chris Heintz, C Mike Lamb, 3B

And you could even argue that Francisco Liriano could be under "Additions" as he missed all of the 2007 season due to his recovery from Tommy John surgery. However under "Loses" that list may soon have another prominent Twin player on that list. The team now has to make a decision on Joe Nathan. They can trade him to a contender for maybe one or two high-end prospects, you can try to re-sign him (imagine the uproar from fans if we re-signed Nathan over Santana), or they could just simply let him walk at the end of the season and receive two high draft choices in return. I doubt Bill Smith will trade him now, but if they do attempt to re-sign him and it fails, I hope they choose to trade him instead of just letting him walk. As nice as it is to get multiple high-end draft picks, I'd rather get guys who are closer to the majors who can help us out in '09 or '10 when we begin to regain our "swagger" in the tough A.L. Central.

But back to 2008, here is what this seasons payroll looks like after the trade of Johan Santana:

Starting Lineup

Pos. Player Type Salary (Approx.)
C Joe Mauer C $6,250,000
1B Justin Morneau C $7,400,000
2B Brendan Harris S $460,000
3B Mike Lamb C $3,200,000
SS Adam Everett C $2,800,000
LF Delmon Young C $700,000
CF Carlos Gomez S $460,000
RF Michael Cuddyer C $5,000,000
DH Jason Kubel A $1,300,000

Total $27,570,000


Pos. Player Type Salary (Approx.)
C Mike Redmond C $950,000
2B Nick Punto C $2,400,000
3B Brian Buscher S $460,000
OF Jason Pridie S $460,000
OF Craig Monroe A $3,820,000

Total $8,090,000

Starting Rotation

Pos. Player Type Salary (Approx.)
S1 Scott Baker S $460,000
S2 Boof Bonser S $460,000
S3 Francisco Liriano S $460,000
S4 Kevin Slowey S $460,000
S5 Nick Blackburn S $460,000

Total $2,300,000


Pos. Player Type Salary (Approx.)
CL Joe Nathan C $6,000,000
SU Matt Guerrier A $950,000
SU Pat Neshek S $460,000
LO Dennys Reyes C $1,000,000
MR Juan Rincon A $2,480,000
MR Jesse Crain C $1,050,000

Total $11,940,000

2008 Total: Contracts

2008 Total: Arbitration

2008 Total: Serf

2008 Totals:

And remember, in terms of competition at starting pitching, you also have to include: Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, Zach Day (gag me), Brian Bass, Phil Humber and even Kevin Mulvey could all be in competition for a spot in spring training. I list Day for obvious reasons that he's a veteran and Ron Gardenhire is our manager.

Right now, the Twins definitely have a weakness in starting pitching, but they have so much depth that they'll be able to correct any problems they may have from within. At least I think that's what management is going to be hoping. But it would not surprise me to see the Twins go look at a veteran pitcher or two who could come in here and "mentor" some of our young arms. Now, that's not what I'd like to see, but it's what Gardenhire likes to do and I see the team looking into free agency to see if there's anyone worth their time. But remember that they did sign both Ramon Ortiz and Sidney Ponson last year, so anyone is probably "worth their time". I don't see the team signing a pitcher who's looking for $10 million per season like Kyle Lohse or Livan Hernandez (although Hernandez wouldn't be horrible, but I think signing Lohse is at -100%... if that's at all possible), and I'm praying that they don't try and sign a rehab experiment in either Freddy Garcia or Bartolo Colon. I actually wasn't against signing Garcia to a low-cost deal, but many don't feel he'll be ready to pitch until mid-season and that's still being optimistic. Anyways, I think signing a guy like Josh Fogg wouldn't be a horrible addition. We also have the possiblity of trading one or two of our young pitching prospects for a solid veteran who could eat innings for us. However, I think I'd rather just see what the young arms have got. (Edit: Looks like Charley Walters also thinks Fogg might be a good fit.)

Another thing this team could still potentially do is sign a free agent center fielder such as Kenny Lofton or Corey Patterson. Now, I don't expect this as much as I'd expect them looking for an arm, but many don't feel that Gomez is ready to play everyday in the majors. I personally would not like to see him platoon in center field with either Jason Pridie or Denard Span. If we give him the reigns at all, I'd like to see him out there everyday without having to share at bats.

Obviously the Twins are well below the project payroll for 2008 which was thought to be close to $80 million. At the Twins current prices, the team looks like they're going to be sitting in a great place when the 2009 free agents come out which is thought to have a strong offensive group of players like Adam Dunn, Mark Teixeira and possibly even Carl Crawford (although I doubt it). The team could also look at a few intriguing pitchers, however I'd rather just let our young pitchers go at it for a couple years. I just like that if the team wants to make a splash in free agency, they could. It's a nice feeling to have.

This team is almost unrecognizable and I think that's not a horrible thing. Obviously we had success with a small payroll for the last few years, but those players who had significant roles in those years are gone and it's the beginning of new Twins baseball!

January 30, 2008

I want to be apart of it...

New York, New York...

As I know you've heard, the Twins have decided to trade Johan Santana to the Mets. Unless the Mets cannot agree to a contract to sign Santana, this thing is done. In return, the Twins will reportedly get 4 prospects who many have mixed feelings for. Those players are outfielder Carlos Gomez, and pitchers Deolis Guerra, Phil Humber, and Kevin Mulvey. Gomez and Guerra are the key players in the package, however Guerra is a few years away and Gomez is unlikely to contribute a lot this season although he likely we be the Twins starting center fielder come opening day.

I really don't know how I feel about this trade. My gut reaction is "DAMN YOU BILL SMITH!", but you can't just blame Smith on this issue. He did what we had to do, trade him. I more so blame Jim Pohlad (owner Carl Pohlad's son) for not re-signing Santana. Jim Pohlad is the equivalent to New York's Hank Steinbrenner in that he's not the official owner, however he mainly runs the team. Pohlad could've worked something out. We just re-sign Justin Morneau & Michael Cuddyer to long-term deals. As much as I love both of them, how can you let the best pitcher in the league leave, while you concentrated on signing two average-above average players at their respected positions? Especially when those positions can be filled much better than a #1 pitcher. Really, I put more blame on Pohlad. He did offer him a 4-year $80 million deal, however he wanted a 6-year deal. I really think a 5-year deal worth $105-110 and possible options for years 6 and 7 would've been enough. But we may never know.

The Twins fielded offers from the three teams in the "hunt" for Santana, which includes the Yankees, Red Sox and of course the Mets. The Yankees supposedly dropped out of the competition, the Red Sox reportedly offered the same two packages that have been rumored for about the last two months, and the Twins accepted a Mets offer which was also offered about a month ago. Personally, out of all the reported offers, I preferred the Jacoby Ellsbury package by the Red Sox.

This trade definitely focuses on the future and that's really always been the Twins philosophy. The Twins aren't looking at competing this season, especially as the rest of the AL (specifically the AL Central) have improved immensely. Instead, the Twins will now choose to focus on competing in a year or two as the team prepares to open the new stadium. Sure this kind of move is extremely risky as the Twins are both risking that none of these players turn out, and not putting enough people in the seats leading up to the opening of the new stadium and that is not what the team wanted, I'm sure. But really, the team had nothing else they could've done but trade him if they weren't going to re-sign him. Letting him walk after the season and letting him sign with a team of his choice and receiving two draft picks would've been much worse than getting a few high-potential prospects for him and letting him switch to the National League.

Now, I will admit that I'm shocked the Twins couldn't get the Mets to include top prospect Fernando Martinez, especially since the Red Sox were offering arguably their top prospect in Ellsbury, who's hands down a better player than Gomez as of right now. Guerra and Jed Lowrie (who was another rumored player in one of the Red Sox packages) would essentially cancel each other out as both are highly regarded prospects. I just don't understand how two back-end starting pitchers would've been able to make the Twins choose the Mets deal over the Red Sox. And don't forget, there was another one (possibly two) player(s) that was reportedly being offered along with Ellsbury and Lowrie and it was rumored to be another highly-regarded prospect by the name of Justin Masterson. I really think that moving Santana to the National League had enough value in itself to make the Twins choose a Mets package, I really do. I don't blame the Mets for not including Martinez, actually I applaud them, but from the Twins standpoint, I just don't see how they couldn't have snatched another player in the deal such as Ryan Church, Joe Smith, or Aaron Heilman. If Mets GM Omar Minaya allowed one of those players to stand in the way of a deal, I think that he would've been scrutinized in New York by the media and fans to such a point, that he probably would've been done as GM after the season if it didn't result in a big October.

I can't even begin to speculate who won this trade. Obviously right now, it looks like the Twins were robbed, but that will remain to be seen. The Mets after trading away 4 of their top 5 prospects will now have to turn around and sign Santana to a record-setting contract worth somewhere between $20 and $25 million annually. That's a big risk regardless of the pitcher.

I do have to say that I am truly relieved that this thing is all over (hopefully) and that it's going to be nice to finally move on with the rest of the off-season and try to get ready for the 2008 season. The Twins have a lot of young players to be excited about. Gomez, as well as Delmon Young and the return of Francisco Liriano are all reasons to be optimistic about this teams future. However I'm sure I'm probably the only person on earth who's actually still at all optimistic about this team as we've lost our top 3 starting pitchers and arguably our best offensive producer the team has.

Call me crazy, but I do see grass greener on the other side. It's going to be a long and ugly process to see this team back in contention, but I truly see this thing working out in the end.

January 29, 2008

Monday Tidbits

Good morning. There's not a whole lot to talk about right now, so I'm just going to give some thoughts on a couple items and re-direct you to other things that I find a bit interesting.

Mark Healey feels the Dodgers may creep into the picture for Johan Santana. We can only hope. Also got word that the Angels have been having "ongoing discussions" with the Twins revolved around Santana, but what the Twins want would "gut out our team" which is what I was told Angels Manager Mike Scoiscia said. But since I haven't seen anything else that supports this claim, I'm not going to put a whole lot into it. I was told that it's what Scoiscia said on the radio last night in LA (KLAA 830 AM), but I'm sure somebody would've picked up on it by now if that's exactly what he said. We'll have to wait and see though, nothing would please Twins fans more than to see another team jump in and sweep the Twins off their feet with an offer they can't refuse. Well, I guess re-signing him would make them happy as well.

Matthew Cerrone of Metsblog.com gives us his thoughts on the Santana trade front that now seems to be just between the Mets & Red Sox. He tells us what the Twins should get in the result of a potential Erik Bedard trade. Make sure to check that out.

Aaron Gleeman continues with his top 40 prospect list. My list should be coming out in the next couple weeks (hopefully), so just sit tight. Baseball America has also released the Twins top 30 prospect list. It's a little bit of older news (sorry), but make sure to check that out as well.

Twin Cities Dugout has a nice interview with Twins pitching prospect Matthew Fox. They also recently did one with Liam Hendricks as well.

Speaking of interviews, check out SethSpeaks latest Q&A with John Manuel of Baseball America. He defends his Twins top 30 prospect list as well give us some insight on some of the players. Also make sure to check out his experience at TwinsFest.

Joshua Taylor continues with his "Pre-Pre-Season Predictions". This time, he's in the N.L. Central.

Boof Bonser lost over 20 lbs., and he seems ready to get this season going. (Aren't we all)

Some good news coming from a few of out injured pitchers of 2007. Both Francisco Liriano and Jesse Crain feel "better than ever" and both are ready to help this team out in '08. I have to be honest, even with both of them feeling confident that they'll be able to help this team out, I'm less optimistic. I don't expect much from either this season, and Liriano needs to let the team take it slow with his recovery. I think that starting him in either the bullpen or Ft. Myers would be the best options. Starting him in Rochester would seem ideal, however I'd prefer to keep him in a warmer climate or play indoors for at least the first month or so of the season. After the snow melts and the temperatures get about 70, then I'd let him start in Rochester. Lets just hope that his "illness" over the weekend at TwinsFest (with an early exit Saturday, and a no-show on Sunday) was in fact just an illness and not a sore elbow from signing autographs. But it seems as if a few players were ill. Crain is recovering from a "slightly" torn labrum and rotator cuff. Still, any pitcher that has surgery to repair labrum problems is very unlikely to come back effective at all, let alone in his first year back. But I'll hope that he proves me wrong.

Brendan Harris discusses the possibility of leading off in the order.

January 28, 2008

How would this effect any Santana trade?

Good morning. Last night, a report broke that the Orioles and Mariners have potentially agreed to a trade that would send Erik Bedard to Seattle in exchange for a package headlined by young, prized outfielder Adam Jones.

I haven't seen a report of who else would be included, but if this is true, it should be out shortly. Bedard is supposed to travel to Baltimore on Monday to complete a physical and Adam Jones has been told to be in Baltimore as well tomorrow to complete a physical, leaving behind his Venezuelan Winter League team before game four of the finals. Jones responded with, "It sucks..." when told that he wouldn't be able to play with his team.

This trade is just another that has been discussed for the majority of the off-season. Bedard along with Dan Haren would be two pitchers on the hill of new teams come opening day. They may not be the only two, most reports suggest that the Twins will trade Johan Santana as well, but besides the speculation those talks have not really gone anywhere in the last month or so. But Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (hold your enthusiasm) suggests that a trade "is expected to occur within 10 days." Honestly, I'll believe it when I see it.

The Athletics got a "mother load" of prospects in return for Haren, and it's expected that the Orioles will get a fair amount of prospects for Bedard as well. One of the reasons that these teams have been able to get so much in return is because both of these players have more than one year remaining on their contracts, something that Santana does not. Bedard is often considered one of the best left-handers in the American League, but many consider Santana the best.

Bedard, 28, is not eligible for free agency until 2010, but it's expected that the Mariners will work on a deal with him to stay in Seattle, long-term. Despite ending the season on the disabled list, Bedard put up great numbers for a pretty horrid team.

Level        G      W        L      ERA        IP       K      BB     K/9
MLB         28     13        5     3.16     182.0     221      57   10.93

Those numbers are very good, and without being injured, he may have been in contention to win the American League Cy Young Award. He will be Baltimore's second big-name player to leave via trade this season, the first was shortstop Miguel Tejada. And some don't expect them to be done. The Orioles have been linked to trade rumors that would send second baseman Brian Roberts to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for another solid group of prospects. Bedard has also been linked to those rumors as well, in speculation to a possible 7-2 player exchange.

Jones, a 22-year-old center fielder is considered to be a very complete prospect and has a lot of potential. His upside has been compared to that of Andruw Jones during his good years with the Braves. He has a lot of potential both on offense which could help him become a 30 home run threat, and on defense which he may be able to grab a few Gold Gloves during his prime. He is the same type of player the Twins would like to headline their return trade for Santana.

Level        G     AB      AVG      OBP       SLG     OPS      HR     RBI
AAA         67    420     .314     .382      .586    .968      25      84
MLB         16     65     .246     .300      .400    .700       2       4

With two pitchers already reportedly off the market, teams that are looking for a potential #1 pitcher for their rotation will now (hopefully) be looking at Santana of the Twins. That includes the Mets, who've reportedly been after Bedard since he was rumored to be available. The Mets have also been linked to free agents such as Livan Hernandez and Kyle Lohse, but neither will be more than inning-eaters for them. Many feel that the Mets are the "front runners" to landing Santana, but it's unsure to what extent. The Twins have reportedly said they would accept a deal right now if the Mets would add young outfielder Fernando Martinez to a 4 player package, but that's easier said than done. I find it hard to believe that the Mets would just add their top prospect to an offer that they have felt is fair enough. The two seem to be in a staring match.

The Mets may have to find a way to get Santana now, as they have more of a need for a top-of-the-rotation starter with uncertainties surrounding Pedro Martinez as he missed the majority of the 2007 season. The other teams such as the Yankees and Red Sox that have been linked to Santana, don't seem to be in as dire of a need for an ace. The Mets may now need to come to reality that Martinez is the player that is holding this thing up, and I'm not suggesting that they need to do the reported 5-1 trade that's been floated around, but adding Martinez and taking out a player such as Carlos Gomez or Deolis Guerra is probably what's going to need to happen.

The Twins may have been given a little bit of boost in leverage if this Bedard trade is true, but I'm not sure if it's the amount of leverage that will help them get a deal done, at least any sooner. We're going to have to wait and see. One thing is for sure, everyone is tired of hearing about Santana rumors with contradicting reports that come out every day.

January 26, 2008

Look who's sticking around, TwinsFest

Hey everyone. I got a little side-tracked yesterday and didn't get to follow up on the post of both Michael Cuddyer & Justin Morneau agreeing to long-term deals. My apologies.

First, Morneau signed a 6-year $80 million deal. It'll ultimately take him 3 years past free agency and will make him 33 when the deal is complete. He'll still make $7.4 million this season (which he agreed to a deal last week to avoid arbitration), $10.6 million in '09, and $14 million from '10-'13.

Morneau's deal is the largest in Twins history.

Second, Cuddyer's deal is worth $24 million over 3 years. He also has a $10.5 million club option for 2011. He's set to make $5 million in 2008, $6.75 million for 2009 and $8.5 million for 2010.

Twins fans have to feel happy about these signings. Neither players salaries will hold the Twins down, financially, and it's going to be nice to see both signed when the new stadium opens up. The signings came as a shock to everyone as they were very quite and nobody knew of them until they were completed. And everyone expected the team to wait until after they made their decision on what they intend to do with Johan Santana. The generally feeling is that this is most likely a sign the Twins will not re-sign their two-time Cy Young winner, but you never know. I'm surprised to see Morneau get $80 million, not that he's not worth it, but I'm surprised to see the Twins sign a player to a deal like that (both in length, and amount), so perhaps Twins owner Carl Pohlad has given the Twins the green light on re-signing current players? Probably not. Most people expected both of these two to be signed to long-term deals, it's just surprising it was done before the club made a decision on Santana. But I would like to think that the Twins could and may re-sign Santana, even if it is a slim chance. Joe Nathan also is looking for a long-term deal, and I'd be thrilled to see both of them signed as well, however that's an extremely slim chance.

I got an opportunity to check out TwinsFest last night. I got many autographs, mainly the minor league players, though. However I did get Delmon Young's and Cuddyer's and found out that Young will likely be wearing #21 for all of those out there who's thinking of getting a jersey of one of the newest Twins.

I went down to the prospects booth and got a chance to chat with Seth Stohs of SethSpeaks.net a bit. He was also getting graphs of the MiLB players.

I got a chance to talk to both Denard Span and Jeff Manship a bit (both did Q&A's for the site previously, so make sure to check them out on the left side of the page). Span's really a great guy and I really have big hopes for him this year. I know many fans out there have lost hope in him, but I haven't yet and I hope he gets a fair shot to claim center field in Spring Training. Manship's also a great guy and I'm happy I got a chance to talk to him as well. Trevor Plouffe & Joe Benson were joking around a lot and making Twins fans feel really comfortable. Really all the prospects were pretty cool guys and I'm glad to get all of their autographs.

I also got a chance to meet Bill Smith and no, I did not even both to ask him about anything with Johan Santana (didn't feel like getting the "I can't comment on that right now" reply), but he's really excited about the new stadium. And honestly, I wasn't as impressed with all the photos of the stadium as I was when I saw the 3-D model and the presentation done on a big screen down on the field. I'm definitely even more excited to get this thing built than I was before. (And yes, I was impressed with it before, but that feeling definitely was nothing as how I feel about it now)

All in all, it was a pretty good day for both me and the Twins.

January 25, 2008

Cuddyer & Morneau agree to long-term deals.

Just found out that the Twins have signed Justin Morneau & Michael Cuddyer to long-term deals.


If this report is true, this is truly a great day for Twins fans! I'll try to post something when the reports are confirmed.

Latest from La Velle E. Neal III

Hello. I'm pretty tired right now, so today's post is going to be a short, quick one. Make sure to read La Velle E. Neal III's newest article in which he states the following concerning a potential Johan Santana trade with the Mets:
The Twins would like the Mets to add outfield prospect Fernando Martinez to a package of outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra. According to persons familiar with talks, the Mets view Martinez as practically untouchable and might not include him even to replace Gomez in the deal. The clubs have talked about adding another player to the deal, such as pitchers Scott Schoeneweis, Joe Smith or Aaron Heilman. A report out of New York on Thursday had Ryan Church as a possible addition.
Well, there's no surprise that the Mets would like to hold onto Martinez, however I just don't see a deal being done without him. Unless of course the Mets turn around and offer 4-5 other players (yes, making it a 5-6 player deal) as well. The additions of Smith & Heilman has been kicked around here a little bit, but I've yet to mention Schoeneweis. Probably reason being that he's a 34 year old reliever (although lefty) with a career ERA of 5.01. I can't see his addition being anything more than a salary dump in which he's owed about $3.6 million in both '08 & '09. Heilman and Smith would help the impact a potential trade of Joe Nathan which could follow the departure of Santana. Together, Santana & Nathan should bring the Twins the centerpieces of our future team for the next decade in their respective deals.

Either way you look at these trade discussions with the Mets, I think any deal is still a ways away.

January 24, 2008

More Santana Speculation

Good morning. Lovely day outside (about -15°), but that's Minnesota for ya (I actually don't mind the cold or snow, just making small talk.) ;)

Anyways, what would life be like if we didn't have a day without Johan Santana trade speculation? Hmmm. Well, sorry, we're not going to find out what that's like, at least not today. This morning, the Boston Herald had this to say about the trade talks:

The Mets, and not the Red Sox or Yankees, remain the front-runner as the team most likely to succeed in pulling off a trade for Minnesota ace Johan Santana, according to baseball insiders in touch with both the Mets and Twins in recent days.

A package the Twins could receive will probably not include both of the Mets’ top outfield prospects, Carlos Gomez and Fernando Martinez. There are indications that Martinez would be in the deal, along with major league outfielder Ryan Church and at least two other prospects. Starter Mike Pelfrey could be part of the deal as well. . . .

Well people who've read this site before, would probably be familiar with a deal similar to this as I've speculated on such a deal before. It's been very doubtful all along that the Twins would be able to pry both Gomez & Martinez away from the Mets. In regards to their position prospects, they don't have as many to choose from, and honestly they're actually the only two worth mentioning. The Mets would like to keep one of them as they'll likely have a glaring hole in one of the corner outfield positions in as soon as 2009.

This may also go with the reports that the Twins are still debating on whether to acquire major league ready players versus prospects.

The Mets recently acquired Church in the Lastings Milledge trade. Church, a 29-year-old left-hander who's put up good numbers in the minor leagues before he became a regular in the Washington Nationals outfield in 2005. He hit .292/.375/.506 with 93 home runs and 399 RBI's in 2,120 MiLB AB's. That's pretty impressive for a guy who was drafted in the 14th round of the 2000 draft by the Cleveland Indians.

He'd fill center field nicely and would also give the Twins a decent leadoff hitter. Unfotunately, it'd likely mean that Jason Kubel would not be able to bat infront of Joe Mauer, which is one of the reasons why fans feel Kubel would have a breakout season.

But perhaps Kubel's breakout season can be because of the birth of his son, Owen Kubel who was born Wednesday morning. Awww.

Anyways don't mean to get sidetracked, back to trade speculation. Yippie.

This is also the first report that suggest the Mets could also part with Pelfrey (at least to my memory). There has been little discussion of the 24-year-old starter who had a horrible 2007 season after dominating the minors through 176.1 innings. My biggest concern is infact that, he hasn't pitched over 200 innings in the minor leagues and the Mets may have stunted his growth (not height, but potential) and we may never get to see the pitcher Pelfrey is supposed to be.

I'm not sure who the other prospect would be, but one could only guess that Deolis Guerra, Kevin Mulvey & Phil Humber are all candidates.

Anyways, would this be a horrible deal? I'd love for the Twins to re-sign him, but if we do pull off a deal, this isn't that bad... is it?

January 23, 2008

As of right now, are we going to be better in 2008 than we were in 2007?

Hello again. Yesterday I speculated on, well, speculations that the Twins may need to add a prospect along with Johan Santana to get a deal done with the Mets, in which they'd include Fernando Martinez. The news regarding the trade talks are still slow, and nothing has come out other than further speculation.

The Twins currently are not certain what their team will look like this season. But even with the loses of Luis Castillo, Torii Hunter and Carlos Silva (since Santana is still a Twin, I'll leave him off this list), I can't help but feel optimistic about this season. That's probably just because this sport is baseball, and anything is possible, but when you look at the upcoming season, the Twins look to be longshots (if that's not an understatement) to even compete this upcoming season.

Last year, they came into the season as a favorite to win the division, even with the loss of young ace Francisco Liriano and the fact that the Detroit Tigers won the American League Pennant the previous season. The Twins had the '06 AL MVP in Justin Morneau, the '06 ML Batting Champion in Joe Mauer, as well as the '06 AL Cy Young award winner in Santana. The Twins definitely set their sights high last year and when the team finished in third place under .500, they definitely did not come close to the high expectations that not only they put on themselves, but the fans as well.

Starting Rotation

2007: The most uncertainty that everyone had with the team last year was their bullpen. Carlos Silva was coming off a horrible season, the team lost Liriano to injury, and the team had to "had-beens" in the starting rotation with Ramon Ortiz and Sidney Ponson starting at the back of the rotation.

2008: The Twins are also dealing with some uncertainty for their rotation this season, however most of that is because the Twins may or may not be without Santana who is by far the best pitcher on the team, if not in the entire league. With him, the Twins will field a relatively good rotation with Scott Baker having a resurgence last year and Boof Bonser shedding some of his weight to give the Twins his "second wind" that he was lacking. Kevin Slowey was one of the best pitchers in the minor league in '07 and should compete for a spot in the rotation in Spring Training. Liriano is back and should start at some point this season, it's not certain if he'll be ready by the start of the season.

Edge? 2008. Even with the loss of Carlos Silva, I can't say I felt better about the 2007 rotation, opposed to the 2008 rotation.


2007: The 2007 bullpen was also coming off of a phenomenal season in '06 in which the Twins in which they lead the majors in ERA and walks and also had the fewest blown saves in the league. The team relied on Juan Rincon and Jesse Crain a lot in '06 and they really pitched well. Dennys Reyes also was a major surprise as he had an ERA of 0.89 while pitching over 50 innings out of the pen. Joe Nathan, Pat Neshek, Matt Guerrier and Glen Perkins also pitched very well out of the pen.

2008: The team definitely has some major concerns with the bullpen this season. Rincon did not have a great season as he had many off-the-field distractions, Reyes looked miserable compared to '06. Neshek had a very good first half, but regressed in the second half and was shelved with fatigue late in the season. Guerrier & Nathan were really good in 2007, and the Twins expect big things from them in '08.

Edge? 2007. And I don't think that's even arguable.


2007: The Twins expected big things offensively in 2007. Both the M&M Boys had great seasons in '06, Hunter had a career year as well, Michael Cuddyer looked like he'd put up good numbers for a second year in a row, Nick Punto had a good year at the plate, as did Jason Bartlett. But unfortunately, the team really played well below its potential last year. Neither Mauer or Morneau had great season, Punto was floating around .200 all season, Bartlett was a good spark for our offense, however he was horrible early on. Hunter though was the biggest piece to our team as he hit as well as he did as a 27 year old (he was 32 in '07) but he's now gone and the Twins have a gapping hole in center field. And Jason Kubel also never produced like many thought he would. Besides Hunter & Bartlett, there weren't many bright spots to our offense.

2008: The Twins lineup looks completely different than a year ago. (Of course, these are all pending any changes during Spring Training) Brendan Harris is going to be replacing Castillo at second base, Mike Lamb will be replacing Punto, Delmon Young will virtually be replacing Hunter in the middle of the lineup, Craig Monroe will be replacing Jason Tyner at DH, and Adam Everett will be replacing Barlett at shortstop. Overall, I have to say that the Twins vastly improved their lineup from 2007, with respect to Hunter and Bartlett. The reason I feel this is that the difference between Hunter & Young will be smaller than the difference between Monroe & Tyner, Lamb & Punto, as well as Harris & Castillo. Many also feel that Kubel will finally break out this season as he had a great final month to the 2007 season which looks like a prelude to a great 2008 season. The biggest thing the Twins need this season is a real lead-off hitter who will also play center field. Right now, unless either Jason Pridie or Denard Span claim the job in Spring Training, the Twins may be force to have Harris lead-off.

Edge? 2008. As I said, the additions/upgrades outweigh the losses.


I know I'm probably crazy, since last year we were considered favorites and this year it doesn't look promising for us to finish over .500, but I do feel better about the team this season. The reason why the Twins are longshots at being contenders is not because the team is not as talented as they were last year, it's because they play in arguably the best division in all of baseball and the Tigers may look to be the strongest team on paper that I've ever seen. The additions of Miguel Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, and Dontrelle Willis will strike fear into the rest of the AL Central as before they already had one of the most potent lineups in the game. Now, they're clear-cut above the rest. The Indians have a strong lineup with a very good rotation. The White Sox had a down season in '07 and will likely bounce back in '08. And the Royals are one of the up and coming teams that other teams are going to need to begin to take seriously.

I feel better about the team this season, but as far as the rest of the division, I don't like our chances. However the Twins have won the AL Central 4 out of the last 6 years and pretty much has the same core of young players in which they won the division with 2 years ago. I have to have the slightest bit of optimism that we bounce back from a sub par 2007 season and become surprise contenders.

Of course, in the result that the Twins trade Santana, this might all change.

January 22, 2008

Should the Twins add another player to trade talks?

Hello again. Yesterday, La Velle E. Neal III said that a scout suggested that the Twins should add a prospect to the trade talks of Johan Santana with the Mets, to get them to add young prized outfielder Fernando Martinez.

My thinking is this. That's not a bad idea, however I don't see the Twins giving up a young player such as Kevin Slowey, Anthony Swarzak or even Glen Perkins. And I'd probably even go as far as saying that they probably wouldn't give up Jeff Manship or Tyler Robertson as well. That would leave many guys who project to be back-end starters such as Brian Duensing, Nick Blackburn, and Oswaldo Sosa just to name a few. I'm not even sure who the Mets would want in terms of a position prospect, so I won't even go there.

If the Mets wanted one of those prospects, heck even two, I'd probably oblige. However, if the Mets demand Blackburn in the deal, would it just be easier for the Twins to say "How about you (the Mets) just keep Phil Humber or Kevin Mulvey, and we'll make it a 4-for-1 deal, instead of 5-for-2?"

Humber still has potential to be a middle-of-the-rotation starter, however the feel of optimism is not strong. Mulvey also projects as a #3/4 starter, however if the Mets are that adimant on keeping some of their valuable prospects, one of these two wouldn't too bad to keep. The Twins should offer one of those guys (Sosa, Duensing, Blackburn, etc.), and see how the Mets react. I think that the Twins need to make sure that Fernando Martinez is in a deal. The Mets current 4-for-1 offer is not that strong, although it does possess a lot of potential. I'm not saying the Twins need to demand all 5 of the players, however I think that Martinez must be included.

It sounds like the Mets are having a hard time giving up all 3 of Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra and Martinez. I say, let them keep one of them (preferably Guerra) and let us take the other two as well as two more pitching prospects.

An offer of Martinez, Gomez, Humber & Mulvey is a fair deal, in my opinion. And another player that may interest the Twins could be Aaron Heilman who's been a solid starter-turned-reliever for the Mets. They also have Mike Pelfrey who has been solemnly talked about in these talks thus far, besides speculation amongst fans, he could be another player the Twins may be interested in.

The Mets rotation would look as follows: Santana, Pedro Martinez, Oliver Perez, John Maine and Orlando Hernandez. Maine, Santana, and Perez would be locks for the following 5 years or so, where as Martinez probably has just 2-3 more years and Hernandez is probably gone after '08. The Mets would still have Pelfrey, Guerra, Rob Parnell, Jon Niese, and Brant Rustich.

That's not a bad future in terms of pitching, with a young pitching staff that they'd have, I think most teams would be able to live with the fact that they got to keep both Pelfrey & Guerra while acquiring a pitcher like Santana.

January 21, 2008

Cuddyer in Center Field?

Hello. Hope you all had a great weekend. Some of you may not be back at work just yet, since today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and some businesses are closed for the day to honor one of America's most influential figures of the 20th century.

Well, in regards to baseball, obviously there still has not been a lot of talk about the Johan Santana trade front. And of course, if anything happens that is worth noting, I will give my thoughts on it.

The Twins seem pretty much set on offense. The current starters look to be:

Catcher: Joe Mauer
First Base: Justin Morneau
Second Base: Brendan Harris
Short Stop: Adam Everett
Third Base: Mike Lamb
Left Field: Delmon Young
Center Field: Jason Pridie/Denard Span
Right Field: Michael Cuddyer
Designated Hitter: Craig Monroe

Obviously, the only position of uncertainty we have left top fill is center field. There have been many names that have been talked about that could potentially fill that void, however the Twins still seem to be heading into the season with Jason Pridie and Denard Span battling for the job.

Pridie seems to be the front runner as he put up very good numbers in Triple-A last season, compared to Span's marginal numbers, however he did improve immensely as the season progressed and probably just needs a little more time in Triple-A before he'd be ready to take over.

But something many of us have not thought about is this; what if both fail to claim the starting job?

Well manager Ron Gardenhire seems to have thought of a possibility and told Charley Walters his thoughts:

T orii Hunter's successor in center field for the Twins could be Michael Cuddyer.

"With Delmon Young in right and Jason Kubel in left," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

That's a consideration of Gardenhire's if minor leaguers Denard Span and Jason Pridie can't convince the manager during spring training that they're ready to succeed Hunter, who left for the Los Angeles Angels via free agency.

"I'm going to talk to Cuddy about it," Gardenhire said.

Obviously, this doesn't mean anything more than if both Span & Pridie fail in spring training (which would be pretty hard to do on Gardenhire's standards), then Michael Cuddyer could be an option if the Twins needed a player to claim the position.

Many will probably think, "Great idea! He has a great arm and is a team player, he should be fine." And others are probably thinking "Are you joking, Gardy?"

Well I've been back and forth on this issue. Of course, I don't put a ton of stock into the report that he'll be our starting center fielder this season, especially knowing Gardenhire's history on players battling for positions. Remember, this is the same guy who started Juan Castro over Jason Bartlett at short stop in 2006. He also started Tony Batista at third base. And lets not forget about Sidney Ponson in '07. So unless both Pridie and Span go hitless in spring training and have horrible defense, then I think one will for sure claim the position. Of course, this is only a discussion if the Twins don't end up acquiring a new center fielder if the Twins don't acquire a center fielder either via trade or via free agency.

Cuddyer's arm ranks at the top in the league for right handers, so that's not the problem. The problem is that he ranks second to last in Zone Rating which measures the percentage of balls fielded by a player in his defensive zone. Of course, to cover center field, a player needs to have good range. Cuddyer's ZR in right field was .818, which would probably make his ZR in center field well below the .800 mark.

Do I think it's a horrible idea? No. Cuddy's a great player and a guy who'd probably do anything to help this team succeed, even if it means him playing a position which he knows he's not right for. And I think he could prepare for the season better, as in train harder if he knows he may have to take on a new role for the team. However, I think that if Gardenhire does go with Cuddy in center, he shouldn't hesitate to pull the plug if he fails.

Potentially the biggest problem I have with him in center is that I think that there are still plenty of options available either via trade or free agency, who would be better options.

Kenny Lofton & Corey Patterson still are available who would be fine players to add to this team as we have more than enough cap space. Another guy who could be a good option is Sean Barker. He has played his entire 6 year career with the Rockies, and is a free agent who would likely cost little to nothing. In 2,098 minor league at bats, he has posted a career line of .284/.342/.466 with 66 home runs, 341 RBI's and 126 doubles. He'd be a great low risk/high reward signing who we probably could just cut after Spring Training if it doesn't work out.

I'm not putting too much stock into the reports that the Twins are thinking of using Cuddyer in center field, however if Gardenhire is serious about it, I think that he's making a bad decision as their are better players suited for the job.

January 18, 2008

Kubel & Morneau Avoid Arbitration (Update)

Last night, the Twins announced that they reached a deal with Jason Kubel on a one-year $1.3 million deal to avoid going to arbitration with him. It was his first year of three to go through this process. I think that the Twins will likely lock him up, but he has to show what he's got this season, which many think he'll finally break out and put up good numbers, I do as well.

Potentially the biggest problem I see with Kubel this season, isn't necessarily even his fault, it's manager Ron Gardenhire's. We all know that he likes to match-up left-handed hitters vs. right-handed pitchers, and right-handed hitters vs. left-handed pitchers. And rightfully so, if a player has problems hitting against either or, then they should be relieved of that duty if it's at all possible. With Kubel penciled in as the likely opening day starter at DH against the Angels, the Twins still have another player who will be platooning with him as well at that position, who hits from the other side of the plate. That player is Craig Monroe.

Monroe batted a dreadful, .194 and had an OPS of .555 in 263 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers in '07. In his career, he's a .249 lifetime hitter with a more respectable .720 OPS and in fact, nearly two-thirds of his 104 career home runs have come against right-handers. Those numbers though, still aren't great.

Kubel batted .236 against left-handers in '07, but he only had 72 at bats. In his career, he's hit .243 but he only has 115 at bats against southpaw's which is not a fair enough sample size if we want to properly analyze his ineffectiveness to hit against left-handers.

I'd like to see Gardy give the full load to Kubel, as I think it'd only benefit him as we may need to rely on him in a late-inning high-pressure situation and if he hasn't had a lot of AB's against left-handed hitters, he'll likely look foolish at the plate. Of course knowning Gardenhire would probably bring in Nick Punto to pinch hit, which quite frankly, I'd rather just see Kubel take his best whack at it 100 out of 100 times before letting Punto go into a situation like that.

Now, the other big thing I see happening is that Gardenhire likely won't bat Kubel ahead of Joe Mauer, which is in fact the reason why a lot of people are "giddy" about Kubel this season. Reason being is that he hit .328 with 3 home runs and an OPS of .955 in 58 at bats while batting in second, one spot ahead of Mauer.

I personally feel that the Twins will put newly-acquired second baseman Brendan Harris at #2 with Kubel likely finding a home in the bottom third of the lineup. This however would likely mean big numbers for Harris, however I think that Kubel's potential is still higher than Harris', which is why I'd rather see Kubel hit in the two hole.

If Gardenhire sticks with Kubel in the second spot of the batting order, I see big things for Kubel in '08. If not, I am sad to say that I think he'll put up another marginal season, perhaps slightly increasing his average, but probably not by any significant amount.

Justin Morneau also avoided arbitration for the second straight season as he agrees to a one-year $7.4 million deal with the Twins. It's a $2.9 million increase from a year ago, despite putting up significantly lower numbers.

I know that most would rather hear about Morneau, but there really isn't much to talk about with his situation. The Twins will likely explore re-signing him when they figure out what they're going to do with Johan Santana.

Update: Also avoiding arbitration is relief pitcher Juan Rincon who agreed to a one-year $2.475 million deal with the Twins. He had multiple off-the-field issues in 2007 which distracted him and he should be a guy to watch as a rebound player in 2008.

January 17, 2008

Gomez or Martinez?

Good morning again.

Last time I posted, I suggested that the Mets need to make a decision on what to do with their rotation, whether it's trade for a pitcher, sign a free agent, or just do nothing at all. The overwhelming response was to trade for Twins left-hander Johan Santana.

Nothing really new has come out since then. The Yankees are still pussyfooting around at the idea of trading a young player such as Phil Hughes as well as a few other important pieces to their teams future as well as a long-term contract for Santana. The Red Sox still seem "there" and the Mets are supposedly still thought to be the front runner.

Although the Mets deal is thought to include several intriguing prospects, the Twins are still waiting for them to include two of their teams prized young outfielders in the same deal. Young 22-year-old Carlos Gomez is thought to be ready to take over center field from day one of being acquired, whereas 19-year-old Fernando Martinez is probably still a couple years away.

The Twins like both players however, according to Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune, the Twins are much higher on Martinez than they are on Gomez.

Now, I currently am stuck between which player I like more. Martinez definitely has more upside as he held his own in Double-A at just 18-years-old in 2007 posting numbers that are very good for his age.

Level        G     AB      AVG      OBP       SLG     OPS      HR     RBI
AA          60    236     .271     .336      .377    .713       4      21

Of course, they look pedestrian at best, but for an 18-year-old in a league where the majority of the players were already in Little League before he was even born, the numbers look pretty good.

Gomez has never put up extraordinary numbers either, however he did play well as a 21-year-old in Triple-A this past season, before being called up by the Mets prematurely.

Level        G     AB      AVG      OBP       SLG     OPS      HR     RBI
AAA         36    140     .286     .363      .414    .777       2      13
Obviously, those are promising numbers however, his best asset to a team is his extraordinary speed and solid defense. He stole 141 bases in 338 minor league games, being thrown out just 28% of the time. He's said to be faster than fellow teammate Jose Reyes who has lead the league in steals the last 2 seasons (64 in '06, and 78 in '07) before being the runner-up in 2005 with 60 steals to Chone Figgins' 62.

Martinez is thought to have a bit of speed, but probably not enough to keep him in center field, which is obviously where Gomez will more-than-likely spend his entire career (baring injury).

Scouts rave about Martinez's bat, especially as he's just a 19-year-old. Scouts however are not as fond of Gomez's bat and some think he may never develop power that his 6'4'', 195 lbs. body suggest he might. I've compared him to a young, Carlos Beltran, however since hearing by many scouts that he likely will never be a power threat, I'm more compelled to argue that he's more of a young Carl Crawford which is also a very high praise.

Seth Stohs feels that Martinez is potentially the next Ken Griffey Jr. as his scouts feel his bat should be able to produce at least 30 home runs without a problem as he matures. To label someone as that is so incredible in it's own, but to give it to a 19-year-old where most of his hype is based off of pure potential, without numbers to back it up, is quite the praise.

I personally cannot decide which player I'd prefer more. Gomez who's thought to be ready, but could probably use another half-season in the minors. Or Martinez who has more potential but is so young and has at least a few more seasons to go.

I just hope the Twins can grab both of them from the Mets, without having to choose between the two.

Personally speaking, I'd probably have to end up taking Martinez, however I think either way you look at it, it's going to set the team back a few years. But with Gomez, it'll likely only be 2 years, instead of Martinez being 3-4. I'm not suggesting that it'll take either player that long to reach the team, but instead it'll likely take that long to become contributors to our team.

According to Christensen, the Twins are being offered some combination of both outfielders as well as a few arms. The arms are reported to be Philip Humber, Deolis Guerra, and Kevin Mulvey.

If the Mets told the Twins to choose 4 of the prospects, which has only been speculated up until this point, then I think the Twins would take both Martinez & Gomez, as well as Guerra and Mulvey. This would definitely set the team back at least 2-3 years as only Gomez would be able to step in from day one and play for the team.

The Twins feel that they should receive all 5 players, which is fine as they are in fact giving up the best pitcher on the planet. However if the team has true feelings about trading him, then they may have to lower their asking price from the Mets as they reportedly already have for the Yankees.

This one isn't nearly over, but we can only hope that sometime in the coming days that a "Breaking News" will come at the top of our favorite baseball site in which it will reveal what the Twins ultimately do with their two-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher.

January 15, 2008

The Mets have a decision to make...

Hello all.

Again, nothing substantial on the Johan Santana trade front, however we have gotten a shocking bit of news, that really has no effect at all. According to Hank Steinbrenner the reports that the Yankees have pulled their offer off the table for Santana and are out of the running are incorrect and he adds:
"It's still in the deciding process."..."We're still discussing it. There's still a little talk back and forth."

"There wasn't an official offer anyway. You can't withdraw something that wasn't there," Steinbrenner said. "There was no official offer on the table at this time."
For once I think Hank is probably right, however I don't read into this at all. I think we all know that no matter what Hank or anyone on the Yankees says, they are stil players in this and will give the Twins an offer if/when they find out a deal with another team seems imminent.

Now onto the post.

The Mets are currently believed to be the frontrunner's in the Santana trade saga. They have a quite a few prospects that the Twins like, however nobody is sure where the talks are currently at and we can really only speculate.

The Mets really have looked into acquiring multiple pitchers this off-season. Besides Santana, they have been believed to be interested in Erik Bedard, Joe Blanton and Dan Haren. Out of the four pitchers, only Haren has found a new uniform as the Oakland Athletics traded him for a slew of prospects to the Arizona Diamondbacks. And for free agents, they've been linked to Kyle Lohse, Carlos Silva, Livan Hernandez, and Bartolo Colon among others.

It's not for certain what the Orioles are demanding if the Mets wanted Bedard, however knowing Baltimore's owner Peter Angelos, he'd probably demand for the same type of deal the Twins are looking for which would be 3 pitching prospects as well as two young outfielders Carlos Gomez and Fernando Martinez. The Mets haven't been linked to Bedard anytime recently, so I have to speculate that those talks are completely dead.

For the Athletics, I'm not sure what they wanted from the Mets for Haren, however for Joe Blanton, it's rumored that they would want Gomez, as well as Aaron Heilman as well as another pitching prospect. However, knowing Billy Beane's stubbornness, he'll likely want a 4th prospect as well. Now, here is the question I pose, would the Mets rather trade 4-5 prospects for Santana (I personally think that if they include both Martinez & Gomez, they could probably get it done with four) or would they rather trade 3-4 for Blanton?

The A's probably wouldn't require Martinez in a deal for Blanton like the Twins are for Santana, and he won't demand a contract extension somewhere between $20-25 million per season either. However, he is nowhere near the type of pitcher Santana is and even with Blanton, I don't see the Mets the favorites in the National League. With Santana, I do. A 29-year-old two-time Cy Young award winner who'd be your #1 pitcher for at least the next 3-4 years (possibly longer) or the 27-year-old Blanton who probably would be your #3 or #4 pitcher in your rotation as I feel both John Maine & Oliver Perez are better pitchers with higher upsides and Pedro Martinez is still the best pitcher on the team.

If you were the Mets, what would you do?
Trade 3-4 prospects for Joe Blanton
Trade 4-5 prospects for Johan Santana
Sign a free agent
Trade for a different pitcher
Nothing, keep the prospects and money and fill the rotation from within
pollcode.com free polls

January 14, 2008

I wish I were more patient

Hello. Hope you had a great weekend.

There's still nothing new on the Johan Santana front. Most people believe that if the Twins do in fact trade him, it will happen before the team reports for Spring Training, which is just over a month away.

From everything that I've heard and read, it's the Twins who are currently holding up a deal that could go down with the Mets as the team is carefully choosing if they want major league ready players in return for Santana or more prospects. I doubt that a name such as Jose Reyes is in the talks, as much as I'd like to see that happen, however names such as some of the following are probably being mentioned in some capacity:
  • Ryan Church
  • Endy Chavez
  • Angel Pagan
  • Mike Pelfrey
  • Phil Humber
  • Ruben Gotay
  • Joe Smith
  • Anderson Hernandez
  • Ambiorix Burgos
  • Aaron Heilman
Of course, we've already heard Humber's name in the talks, and I'm sure a few of these other guys have been mentioned as well.

The Twins may not want Gotay, however the way I see it, the Twins really only have one "for sure" starting middle infielder in 2009 and that is Brendan Harris. Guys like Trevor Plouffe & Alexi Casilla are viewed as our future in the middle of the diamond, however both have a lot to prove. Adam Everett may not be back with the Twins following this season, and Gotay would be there for the competition in '09. I through Hernandez's name in there because he may interest the Twins since he and Gotay are both stuck behind Luis Casillo & Reyes.

Heiman, Smith & Burgos are two guys that would help our bullpen. Heilman is a guy like Matt Guerrier who could set up as well as pitcher 3 or 4 innings if needed. Burgos has a lot of potential and pitched well for the Mets after he left Kansas City. Smith is another good submarine-type of pitcher that the Twins would have, he's not as effective as Pat Neshek, however most relievers aren't.

I'm a big fan of Church as I feel he gives 110%, 100% of the time. He'd give the Twins a very good center fielder for 2008 and perhaps even longer to allow the other outfielder acquired (I think that at least one of Carlos Gomez & Fernando Martinez are locks to be included). Chavez is another good option for a season in center field, however he was recently injured which may eliminate any chance of him being traded. Pagan was just re-acquired by the Mets after a few years away from the club. There were talks that the Mets were "increasing their inventory" to make a trade, and the re-arrival of Pagan may be the reason. Whether he's in the deal or not, as much as you may not think it, he probably will play a role in a deal in some way.

Between Pelfrey & Humber, I prefer Pelfrey. Reason being is that despite a horrid 2007 season, he still projects higher than Humber and is older than he is. I think Humber is not much different than Nick Blackburn or Brian Duensing of the Twins. So would we really need to acquire him? I think Pelfrey is a lot more attractive in terms of potential success in the future.

I personally would prefer more prospects than ML Ready players, especially since a few of the guys that the Mets may be willing to offer haven't been completely "screwed-up" yet by being rushed along. If we could acquire Gomez, Deolis Guerra & Martinez, we could start Guerra in High-A where he would probably benefit from. Martinez should probably have another 1/2-full season of work in Double-A and Gomez would probably be best off if he played an entire season in Triple-A.

The guys the Mets have as "ML Ready" such as Pelfrey was rushed to the majors and may never be able to adjust properly. I'd still take my chances on him before Humber, however I think that getting a guy such as Kevin Mulvey who hasn't touched the majors yet would probably be a good acquisition.

Now that Mets GM Omar Minaya is back in the United States, I hope that we can move closer to a trade and can get something done, and soon.

Sorry about the rambling. I'm pretty tired and start school again tomorrow.


Anyways, here are a few things that may interest you:

There are a few things to check out at TwinkieTown.com:

See who was nominated the #3 "Twins Community Prospect" which is voted on by the readers. Also check out #4, #5, and we're currently on #6. Make sure to vote!

Also over at Twinkie Town, Roger Dehring did a great job of covering the Twins Minor League Affiliates throughout the season, and now he is giving us a look at each position's depth throughout the minors and where he projects each player to begin the 2007 season. Here's what has done so far:
Starting Pitchers
Relief Pitchers

And speaking of prospects, TopProspectsAlert.com has compiled the Twins top 10 prospects heading into the 2008 season. Check it out!

Seth Speaks gives us plenty of links to YouTube videos of the players that have been mentioned in some of the trade talks surrounding Santana. Give them a look.

La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune will be answering a few questions that Tim Dierks of MLBTradeRumors.com has asked him. The name of the series is called "Rumor Royalty" where he asks his most trusted journalist for each team a series of questions over a couple of days. I'm sure you know who's name will be coming up. If he posts anything worth mentioning, I'll definitely post it on here.

The Twins also signed Zach Day to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training. Yawn. Randy Keisler was also signed to a minor league deal. Double Yawn.

January 11, 2008

Friday Tidbits

Hey everyone. Still nothing new on the Johan Santana trade talks, and no I am not sitting and waiting for it to happen. It's gone on too long for me to do that. I'm not sure if there will be anything to post on over the weekend, but you can bet that if anything interesting 'pops' up that I'll give you my feedback on it.

So with that, here are a few links and things that may interest you:

According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Brewers may consider trading Bill Hall if the Brewers sign a free agent center fielder. He also mentions that they may just move him to a different position, which may be most logical as Ryan Braun showed horrible defense as a rookie at third base in '07, but of course that's not what I'm going to be getting at. What would it take to go get him? Even if the Twins did end up landing a plethora of prospects for Santana, it doesn't look like we're getting a potential long-term third baseman in return. Hall could be that guy. The Twins would probably have to give up Jason Kubel and maybe a pitching prospect in return, however despite Kubel's strong end last season, I have to say that my optimism for his success has started to wear thin and if he doesn't show big improvements in '08, I am definitely going to be on his case all season.

So if the asking price was Kubel and a low-level pitching prospect, how would you feel of acquiring Hall to play third base? Lets say the Twins make a trade with the Mets (lets say we get back Fernando Martinez, Carlos Gomez, Deolis Geurra, Kevin Mulvey & Phil Humber) we'd have a surplus of pitching prospects (as we already do regardless) and center field would be filled and Kubel would be pushed to splitting time at DH with Craig Monroe. So should the Twins make a move for him? What would it take? And just for speculation purposes:

CF - Carlos Gomez
2B - Brendan Harris
C - Joe Mauer
LF - Delmon Young
1B - Justin Morneau
RF - Michael Cuddyer
3B - Bill Hall
DH - Mike Lamb/Craig Monroe
SS - Adam Everett

And in as early as 2009 (probably more likely '10), Martinez could move in the lineup and fill DH or push another player to DH (Justin Morneau with Michael Cuddyer playing first?) What do you think?

After finishing in dead last in Seth Speaks "NFL Expert Picks Panel" for the season by a considerable margin, I managed to pick all four of last weeks playoff winners and I hope that I'm right again this week. Check out who was picked.

Speaking of Seth Speaks, go over there and check out his interview with John Mayo of milb.com in regards to his upcoming book "Facing Clemens: Hitters on Confronting Baseball's Most Intimidating Pitcher". Definitely check it out.

Over at Twinkie Town, Seth Stohs conducted a poll of the Twins Community #1 Prospect. Anthony Swarzak won the vote with 45% of the vote with Tyler Robertson in a distant second with 21% of the vote. (If anyone is wondering, which I doubt you are, I voted for Swarzak). The Twins #2 Community Prospect voting is underway, and I'm voting for Robertson.

And remember to stay tuned for my top 50 prospect list which I've already begun working on and I'm hoping to get it out sometime in the next few weeks. And again, sorry I can't be more precise on the timing, however I will tell you one of the reasons I'm waiting is because I am waiting to see if the Twins net any prospects worth putting on the list for Santana, which I think is going to be very likely if the Twins do end up trading him. So stay tuned.

Nick Nelson gives us a look at some of the Mets prospects with his "Meet the Mets" post. It's in regards to some of the prospects being linked to a possible deal with the Twins which was mentioned here yesterday.

Over at "The Hardball Times", they've ranked the top outfield arms in the league for 2007 and Minnesota Twins right fielder Michael Cuddyer lead right fielders with an estimated 12 runs he saved with his arm either by throwing out runners or by holding runner from advancing. And to add, Delmon Young ranked fourth among right fielders and newly acquired Craig Monroe was second among left fielders.

Ubelmann gives us a look into Fernando Martinez and seems less optimistic than most about this 19-year-old prospects future. Here's a bit of what he said:
People will probably say that the sky is the limit for Fernando, but I guess I put the sky farther up than that. Martinez looks like someone who, if things go right, can be a league average to slightly above league average hitter while playing above average defense at an up-the-middle position. That's a very good player, an All-Star some years, but probably not an MVP. He's never had great on-base skills, and we don't know that he can play premium (rather than above average) defense, so that keeps him from whatever the topmost level is in my hypothetical prospect scale. In the worst-case scenario, Martinez turns out to be bad with the glove in center, has trouble hitting for contact/power in the majors (thanks to his hacktastic ways), and is a total bust.
It is a risky business when dealing with a player as young as Martinez, which is why I'm hoping the Twins pry both Martinez & Gomez away from the Mets. It's still risky as both are still raw players (Gomez being more so), but both have a lot of tools to make them phenomenal players some day. If the Twins can get Martinez, then I hope Ubelmann is wrong, but if we don't then I hope he's right. (I'm only joking!)

Here's a nice piece on Tommy Watkins, but I will tell you that it's from nearly a year and a half ago. But it's still worth checking out.

Josh Taylor gives us a good response to a story in the Chicago Sun-Times in which one Hall of Fame voter wouldn't because of the issues of steroids in baseball. I recommend that you check out what he has to say in response. And speaking of voting for the Hall of Fame, Josh also predicted who'd be inducted into the HOF and what the percentage would be. He was very accurate with his picks. And by the way, CONGRATS TO GOOSE GOSSAGE!

What does this mean in regards to he Yankees pursuit of Santana? Probably nothing, but you should know by now that I love to speculate. It just makes one wonder how trustworthy the Yankees "word" is as just a week ago the Yankees said they wouldn't pursue a center fielder even if they ended up trading Melky Cabrera. Hmmm... How many times would that be that the Yankees have gone back on their word?
  1. They said they wouldn't pursue Alex Rodriguez if he opted out of his contract. He later re-signed with the Yankees for a new record contract.
  2. They said they wouldn't sign Jorge Posada to a four-year deal, they signed him for 4-years and $52.4 million.
  3. They set up a deadline for the Twins to accept their trade offer of Santana, or their out of the running for him. Well he's later tried to explain what he meant by that, and quite frankly I just don't buy it. They had intentions of seeing if the Twins would crack, and they didn't so they're now back in it
  4. Or are they? Last week, Hank Steinbrenner said in an interview that the Yankees were "leaning towards" a trade for Santana, and a week later, he's now saying that the Yankees are "leaning away from" a trade for Santana.
  5. In that same interview, he said that the Yankees:
"And let's face it, we're the best able to handle the kind of contract (extension) Santana will be after."
Now he's saying the Yankees won't go past a 5-year deal.

They also said they wouldn't re-sign Roger Clemens, would anyone be surprised to see him in a Yankees uniform at Yankees stadium in July? I mean honestly... Is there a bigger buffoon in all of baseball right now?

Speaking of Clemens, his scheduled hearing infront of the House with former teamate and fellow pitcher Andy Pettitte and trainer Brian McNamee was originally scheduled for January 16th will be postponed until February 13th. It's being delayed so the lawmakers had more time with their investigation. Fan-fricken-tastic! I'm sure this is what everyone wants to hear, more Clemens-McNamee talk for another month. Yay! I hope you're sensing my sarcasm.

Ever wondered who you would build your team around if you could choose one player in all of baseball? Well ESPN's Jerry Crasnick answered questions in a chat of choosing between Albert Pujols or Alex Rodriguez. I would personally choose Pujols, however that may stem from my "man crush" on him since he has come in the league.

On a couple of side notes:

I am sad to say that Sir Edmund Hillary has passed away. In case you're not aware of who he is, he was the first person to climb Mount Everest (at least that we know of). He did it nearly 55 years ago. I have a goal in life to hopefully someday climb a mountain, so I thought this was something I'd pass along.

Also, what is this? A $2,500 car? New? Say Whaaaaaaat?

Hope you have a great weekend!