Wednesday July 2, 2003
Making a Move
How am I like the Twins? Well, when Iím somewhere and I see an attractive woman, I stay by myself, and stare a lot. I stand pat. Things are fine with me, but could it be better? Should I take some chances?
The Twins, well, they like to stand pat. Theyíre good, maybe a little better than average, and seemingly their philosophy is to stand pat! They have a plethora of quality players and some prospects who are ready to contribute either to the Twins, or maybe could be used as potential trade bait. But, no, the Twins sit on all this talent, and hope that the teams in their division donít take advantage of the Twins complacency. That philosophy has worked for the Twins the past couple of years when expectations were low. But now, people expect more from their Twins, the pitchers, the players, and the management! Standing pat just isnít going to get the Twins where they want to get, the playoffs.
Hereís what Ron Gardenhire and Terry Ryan had to say about the Twins yesterday, after hearing about the trades: (From mlb.com)
"You know our history is not going out and making a lot of trades," Gardenhire said. "The kind of people you're looking to stick in your lineup would have to be millions of dollars. I know that's not going to happen."
"We just need to be more consistent," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "If we play the way we're capable, any of the areas that have broken down will fix themselves. We've got a solid team and a solid roster."
The other side of this philosophy is the White Sox. Theyíve decided that they are more than just a bystander in the AL Central race. They know that their current team isnít going to get them to that spot. If you take a look at my posting from yesterday, I saw the White Sox as being weak at 2B and CF. So, what did they go out and do yesterday? They went and traded for a 2B and a CF.
The Sox were able to get 2B Roberto Alomar from the Mets for 3 prospects. Not only do the White Sox get Alomar, but the Mets will pay all but $150,000 of the rest of his contract. For the Mets, they get three prospects. The White Sox get a future Hall-of-Fame 2B, whoís potential upside for them is far higher than I believe a lot of people think. After hitting .330 two years ago for the Indians, Alomar was dealt to the Mets. The Mets have been terrible the last year and a half, and honestly, so has Alomar. He has hit nowhere near where he had in the past. However, I see Alomar doing very well for the White Sox. First, heíll be out of New York. That alone will be a good thing for him. Second, heíll be reunited with his brother, Catcher Sandy Alomar. Third, heíll be on a team with a chance to contend, and I believe that is the big reason that his productivity will greatly improve.
In a second deal, the White Sox traded three more prospects (who as of the time this was written, werenít named) to the Texas Rangers for CF Carl Everett. And, yes, the White Sox wonít have to pay much of Everettís remaining contract as the Rangers will do that. Everett is hitting .274, with 18 homers and 51 RBI. He isnít a great defensive center fielder any more, because of a lack of speed, but he will greatly improve the production they have received from their other center fielders so far this year.
Donít get me wrong, there is plenty of risk involved for the White Sox in these two deals. Both Alomar and Everett have reputations for destroying clubhouse chemistry. Letís be honest, the chemistry in the White Sox clubhouse isnít that great to begin with, so I donít see that being a big issue. My concerns, from the White Sox perspective, would be more about whether Alomar can return to his former self. As I wrote above, I really think he will turn it around and be very productive the rest of the season. The problems with Everettís attitude have been frequently documented. He can be a jerk. But, also, heís started out hot the last couple of years, and then struggled to maintain the production in the seasonís 2nd half. Can he continue to hit well for the Sox? Sure. Another problem with Everett is frequent injury problems. Can he stay healthy, and can he be an every day center fielder?
But, in my opinion, the White Sox had a couple of weaknesses, and now, they have made the effort to fix them. I think that the White Sox are a better team today than they were yesterday.
And the Twins? Well, they lost to the White Sox 6-1 last night. Again, they couldnít figure out Mark Buerhle. Brad Radke gave up more homers, and well, itís just typical of how the Twins have played the last month. Check out the Dickie Thon Twins Fan Forum for a very interesting rumor about Mr. Radke.
"It's obvious that team is trying to win," Minnesota center fielder Torii Hunter said. "Alomar and Everett, can you ask for anything more?"
The Twins players know the White Sox are trying to winÖ do they think the Twins are trying to win? I wonder. Obviously the players are giving the effort, but are they getting the help from the general manager that they need to give them a chance to compete?
But you know what? The Twins will continue to stand pat. They wonít make a move. Theyíll continue to take at bats away from players like Bobby Kielty, Dustan Mohr, Lew Ford, Justin Morneau, and Matthew Lecroy. Theyíll leave guys like Todd Sears, Michael Restovich, Michael Cuddyer and Michael Ryan rotting away at AAA until their trade value is nothing. Yeah, organizational depth can be a good thing, but when the Twins have other weaknesses that should be addressed, and they have depth that they could use to trade for it, Go For It!!! There are probably players that they could get to improve the team and give them a chance this year. There are teams out there that will pay those guys to play for the Twins for the rest of this year for a couple of mid-level prospects. This team, in its current form, wonít be around forever. Carl Pohlad will not allow the payroll to continue to increase. These guys wonít be the same team next year. So, go for it! Donít stand pat! Make a move!
And, donít think the White Sox are done dealing. I think theyíll get Sidney Ponson, and maybe even one more quality starting pitcher.
And the Twins, will - say it with me - Stand Pat!
What should they do?
1.) Get a middle infielder.
2.) Get a decent starting pitcher.
Maybe they can package a deal with the Marlins to get both Luis Castillo and Brad Penny! Maybe they can talk the Marlins into paying the majority of their salaries. The teams that are talking to the Marlins now about these players canít have as good of a collection of minor leaguers as the Twins. Brad Penny could fit in well for the Twins. Aside from Lohse and Santana (who for some reason still isnít in the Twins rotation!), the Twins donít have a power pitcher. Brad Penny would be that!
What about a deal for Javier Vazquez and Jose Vidro? OK, thatís a little above the Twins realm of reality, but it would be a dream. The Expos are still in contention, but maybe by the end of July, if the Expos are out of contention, something could be worked out to get one, or both, of those players.
Joe Mays and a prospect to the Orioles for Buddy Groom! Then, weíve got a 2nd left-hander in the bullpen (before Guardado), so Johan Santana can be in the rotation. (note - also, Mays would no longer be a Twins!)
Iím sure there are other guys out there the Twins should get! As you can see, Terry Ryanís Ďstanding patí philosophy is kind of frustrating me, so Iím going to stop!
For more detailed information and a rather different perspective on the White Sox trades, please be sure to check out todayís Aaronís Baseball Blog and the Twins Geek articles. Great stuff! Especially the Twins Geek, since he again mentioned me, and the posting I had yesterday on the AL Central Race for the second half (NOTE - done before the two above trades!!!).
If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me! If you have any names of players the Twins should go after and what they should be willing to give up for them, please e-mail me. Iím interested in hearing some thoughts on this!
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